Rather than concede to the pervasive mobile mapping app, Hertz has created a companion mobile app product to enhance the utility – and thus perceived value – of its in-car GPS system, NeverLost.

The global car rental company realizes that many drivers are consulting mobile devices for directions, which cuts into the high-margin in-car navigation product. In order to encourage more rentals of the devices, the utility has been boosted by the ability to research and plan destinations prior to a trip on the app. These plans can then be imported into the car’s system once the trip has begun.

Categories across travel can be explored, and an itinerary built accordingly. For families and time-strapped business travelers, this feature means that no time is wasted getting on the road upon arrival. A boon for parents, and also for those with busy schedules (like sales teams) that can have assistants pre-populate sales calls prior to renting the car.

The interface, seen below, works by allowing users to create folders that can then be sent into NeverLost for real-world navigation.

Hertz NeverLost companion app

This is a very unique approach to travel planning, as the plans immediately become navigable directions in the hands of the NeverLost system.

In addition, Hertz has curated more than 40 City Guides, which offer travel tips and insights into cities across the United States. This is a new perspective on the travel inspiration front, as car rental brands haven’t been known to play at the game of travel content and planning for consumers.

Within the guides, the company offers:

New restaurants Local events Points of interest Further out destinations beyond the city limits Parks Detail

Some guides also have details about specific neighborhoods, in addition to pre-populated tours. Once built, the personalized guides can also be synchronized with NeverLost.com, giving consumers an ongoing repository for all of the driving inspiration.

Augmented reality also comes into play, offering a live display of nearby attractions. This may very well be a first for an in-car rental app, which has further implications as heads-up displays begin appearing in cars. The display could augment the experience with a preview of a potential destination before the driver decides to go there.

Augmented reality also offers an interactive means to explore potential destinations, allowing the app user to add a destination to the saved itinerary only after exploring it within the augmented reality interface.

Other in-app touches include a weather bug with current temperature, rain, wind, and future forecast, a map with both walking and driving directions, and the option to share location with different social media services.

NB: Car image courtesy Shutterstock.

Original author: Nick Vivion