To Uberize or Not to Uberize?
Car rentals and chauffeur services are an integral part of travel services, and constitute an important differentiation factor – something Kurban Group understood a while back when it launched Allo Taxi in 1999. Technology, specifically smartphones, has disrupted this sector too. In 2014, the company’s call center accounted for 80% of all taxi bookings, compared to the app (15%), but in 2015, the call center’s share fell to 50%, while app bookings rose to 40%. In this sector too, competition is fierce: on one hand, existing online car rental services like Avis or Hertz capitalize on their strong brand reputation, on the other hand, airlines, hotel booking sites, and other players in the travel industry also have partnerships with car rental companies or propose their own services. Most dramatically perhaps, for a while the speculation was around how the rise of apps like Uber and Careem would flood out “non-millennial” competitors.
Then the Uberization hype quietly began fading. Kurban explained that Allo Taxi does not see Uber and Careem as competitors. Like many taxi agencies in Lebanon, Uber does not operate its own fleet or exercise control over its drivers who work on a commission basis. “They are brokers, and they depend