Zipcar has brought its car sharing to the social network giant Facebook with the release of a beta reservation application.
This release aims to test and receive feedback from Zipcar users that are looking for the easiest ways to update their Zipar reservations.
Currently, 60,000+ Facebook users are on the Zipcar fan page -- approximately 10% of the 605,000 Zipcar members -- and a vast majority of the company's users are on the social site.
"Zipcar member surveys have shown that more than 88 percent of our members are Facebook users and the typical user spends over 15 hours on Facebook per month," said Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of ZIpcar, in a statement. "We know that our members are tech-savvy and actively engaged in social media, so providing members with the ability to reserve a Zipcar directly through Facebook is a natural next step."
Zipcars can already be reserved via the online website or their original app that is free from app stores. Because both of the options are useable on any web device, this addition appears to be more of an effort to have an active presence on all available venues. Bringing a service to where people are already spending many of their online time is a strategic move more than a necessary access move.
Currently, members are also able to adjust their reservation via text -- though I never have the foresight to save that crucial number to my phone before I head out on my excursion.
But the application on Facebook could provide more promise if Zipcar makes some key integration deals. Since Zipcar has capitalized on how simple it is to reserve and amend a reservation (usually taking me 5-10 minutes to reserve and seconds to amend) the key would be to incorporate their app into events or gifts.
I would love to be able to create a Facebook event inviting my friends to Santa Cruz or wine country and at the click of a button organize a ZIpcar rental, pick a route on Google Maps and possibly offer the best combination of who should go in what car. I also might want to see who's birthday is upcoming and instead of writing a quick happy birthday message (which Facebook has done impeccably since I haven't missed a single friend's birthday in months), I might want to gift them a Zipcar membership or rental. This deeper integration is what would truly add value to both companies.
Zipcar has always been on-track adopting new ways to create a social community around its product, offering discounts and freebies when members recruit new accounts or share their Zipcar stories. The company has a presence in more than 170 urban areas (with more than 9,000 vehicles) and continues to move into young college towns where tech-connection and convenience are key.
I look forward to seeing what this beta form evolves into but for now I just appreciate yet another way to book a Mini Cooper to get to the beach in style.