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Car rentals surge 148% this month amid Easter travel chaos

Demand for rental vehicles has more than doubled ahead of the Easter weekend as widespread travel disruption wreaks havoc with people’s holiday plans.

Volkswagen Financial Services UK (VWFS) has seen a huge 148% spike in online bookings on its Rent-a-Car platform so far this month compared to the same period in 2021.

The car finance provider’s data insights team believe the surge in demand is likely to have been driven by planned maintenance works on railway lines, and several reduced services, as people seek an Easter getaway. Some ferry services are also expected to be affected.

The trend highlights the renewed importance of personal vehicles to the nation’s holiday plans and it’s not the first time Volkswagen Financial Services UK’s Rent-a-Car platform has shone a light on shifting behaviours.

VWFS Rent-a-Car saw a 121% rise in online bookings between Q1 2020 and Q2 2021 as staycations really took off during lockdown, whilst it saw annual bookings rise 219% last summer as the housing market burst into life and home-movers needed van rentals.

But in the current market, experts believe the spike is being driven by holiday demand.

Data from a recent Volkswagen Financial Services UK survey found that 1 in 4 Brits (24%) are planning a UK staycation this spring, with RAC predicting the weekend’s Easter getaway will be the busiest in at least eight years.

VWFS Rent-a-Car launched in August 2018 and was designed to make renting a Volkswagen Group vehicle as easy as possible, so whether it’s for a holiday, moving house or keeping businesses on the road, the platform can offer an excellent choice of vehicles, options and insurance cover for all its customers.

Mark Forton, Director of Mobility Services at Volkswagen Financial Services UK, said: “Lots of people have been waiting a long time to get away this Easter and what our data shows is that holidaymakers are swapping the current uncertainty around rail and ferry travel for the reliability of cars. We’ve seen a steady increase in the popularity of staycations over the past two years, but I believe this is a trend that will only strengthen after the Easter weekend. Our cars are an affordable alternative to long-distance rail travel, and as long as they continue to make holidays accessible, I’m sure we’ll continue to see more people planning road trips in the months ahead.”

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