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Car Rental Data Unwrapped: Merry Miles and the Christmas Story in the UK

Car Rentals

Delve into the festive drive as we analyze 50K+ car rental records from ‘Sixt – Rent a Car’ during December 2023. 

From the holiday surges on Christmas Eve to discovering budget-friendly gems like the Kia Picanto, come with us as we decode the Merry Miles of Christmas car rentals in the UK.

Holiday seasons bring with it a sense of happiness and memories filled with childhood glee. 

For some, the best way to spend the holidays is by staying indoors, and binge-watching ‘Die Hard’. 

For others, it’s an opportunity to hit the road and explore the places they’ve always dreamt of visiting but, for some reason, fell short of the last commitment. 

It is the latter case we are interested in. 

We collected data from ‘Sixt- Rent a Car’ to see the trends in the car rental industry. 

Do people have a penchant for traveling during the holidays, or is Bruce Willis jumping from one building to another in the backdrop of a massive explosion enough? 

Let’s find out.

Car Rental Data Actionable Insights

For those in a hurry, savor these bite-sized, actionable car rental insights on the go.

  1. Christmas Surges:
  • Insight: Christmas Eve witnesses a noticeable uptick in car rentals.
  • Key Point: Explore the surge in demand for 1-day and 28-day packages during the festive season.
  1. Budget Takes Center Stage:
  • Insight: Dominance of AMNR Budget Manuals and CDMR Economy Automatics.
  • Key Point: Discover the preferred budget options—Nimble Fiestas and trusty Civics—offering value for solo and family adventures.
  1. Weekend Warriors:
  • Insight: Significant concentration of preferences for picking up rental cars a week before Christmas, with peaks on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Key Point: Uncover the strategic approach of holiday travelers, making travel arrangements during the convenient window of weekends.
  1. Maneuvering Master – Kia Picanto:
  • Insight: Kia Picanto emerges as a budget-friendly hero for 7-day car rentals.
  • Key Point: Explore the compact yet reliable choice for navigating tight alleyways and festive crowds.
  1. Optimal Value on Christmas Day:
  • Insight: Car rental offerings plummet on Christmas Day across all SIPP categories.
  • Key Point: Witness the unique trend, potentially influenced by cozy family gatherings or a whimsical dip in demand associated with the “Snugglers.”

Dataset Overview

Car rental data source

Our dataset encompasses 50,000+ car rental records sourced from ‘Sixt- Rent a Car.’ 

These data entries were systematically gathered throughout the timeframe of December 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023, with the specific aim of uncovering discernible car rental patterns during the Christmas season.

It’s worth emphasizing that Sixt provides a diverse range of car rental services, catering to durations of 1 day, 7 days, and 28 days.

Consequently, our data collection deliberately included information from each of these options for a comprehensive analysis.

Disclaimer: This case study is centered around car rental data, leveraging Sixt car rental postings as a proxy to gauge demand for specific vehicle types. Please note that our analysis assumes that the availability or supply of these vehicles serves as a representative indicator of customer demand.

1. Small Automatics, Big Savings

Small Automatics

Dominant Budget Options: Affordable getaways take center stage at Sixt, with AMNR* Budget Manuals like the nimble Ford Fiesta leading the pack.

These nimble hatchbacks stretch holiday budgets further, boasting impressive fuel efficiency and city-friendly maneuverability.

Perfect for solo adventurers or short trips, they maximize holiday cheer without breaking the bank.

Value-Packed Automatics: Following closely are CDMR Economy Automatics, ideal for families or groups seeking comfort and affordability.

Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, among others, blend budget-friendliness with excellent fuel efficiency, making them perfect for navigating festive city streets and keeping travel expenses low.

Affordability Reigns Supreme: Both AMNR and CDMR categories excel at conquering tight holiday traffic, solidifying Sixt’s commitment to cost-effective options.

This trend reinforces the message that for many holiday travelers, value reigns supreme, reflected in the dominance of these SIPP codes.

Christmas Drop: A Day of Reindeer or Rest? Interestingly, across all SIPP categories, car rental offerings plummet on Christmas Day. One-day rentals (potentially AMNR or CDMR focused?) reach their peak on December 22nd before sharply dropping, suggesting a shift in priorities.

Perhaps folks prefer cozy fireplaces and family gatherings on Christmas, leaving the roads free for… well, maybe those “Snugglers” who secretly dreamt of flying fighter planes as kids (or perhaps those seeking luxury vehicles, as EXMR codes might show a different trend)!

SIPP codes (Standard Interline Passenger Procedure) provide a standardized language for describing rental vehicles. The first letter indicates size (M=Mini, E=Economy, etc.), the second transmission (A=Automatic, M=Manual), the third door number (4/5-door), and the fourth features (N=Non-AC, R=Fuel Efficient, etc.). For example, AMNR represents a Budget Manual, 2/3-door car without AC. Using SIPP codes allows for precise data analysis and comparison across different rental companies, ensuring accurate interpretation of vehicle categories and trends.

2. Weekend Warriors: Holiday Travelers Choose Saturdays and Sundays for Trip Readiness

Weekend warriors

Notably, there is a significant concentration of preferences for picking up rental cars about a week before Christmas. 

This pattern suggests that potential renters are considering and selecting their desired pick-up slots in advance, perhaps as part of their preliminary travel planning.

Interestingly, the temporal distribution of these preferences unveils a pronounced peak during weekends, particularly on Saturdays and Sundays. 

This could signify a strategic approach by holiday travelers, aiming to kick off their festive journeys when time is more abundant, and the weekend provides a convenient window for making travel arrangements.

Conversely, a decline in the selection of pick-up dates and times is observable on Mondays. 

This could be linked to the onset of the workweek, where individuals might be preoccupied with professional commitments and less likely to engage in the detailed planning of their holiday trips during this particular weekday.

While the data doesn’t explicitly confirm advance bookings, the observed patterns hint at a proactive mindset among potential renters, considering and selecting their pick-up preferences well ahead of their travel dates. 

This strategic approach aligns with the notion of planning for a smooth holiday journey, even if the actual booking might occur at a later stage.

3. Care Rentals Soar on Christmas Eve

Christmas eve

As Christmas approaches, on the 24th, there’s a noticeable uptick in car rentals. 

People seem to be opting for both 1-day and 28-day packages, but the demand for the 7-day package is comparatively low. 

What we see are individuals split between short festive drives (1-day) and more extended holiday getaways (28-day), with the 7-day option taking a backseat during the period. 

The surge in 28-day rentals suggests a preference for longer, more relaxed vacations, offering a quick snapshot of diverse holiday plans. 

4. Christmas 2023: Demanding Maximum Value for Every Dollar Spent

Maximum value for every $

Generally, automatic vehicles outnumber manual ones in the car rental landscape, indicating a prevalent customer preference for automatic transmissions. 

This trend suggests that customers prefer the convenience and ease of automatic vehicles.

The data insights above indicate that the compact manual vehicles category has the highest number of offered cars. However, when we consider all other categories, most offerings firmly reside in the automatic vehicle section.

We observed another significant trend: nearly 84% of total car rentals cater to a five-passenger seater. The four-seater category closely follows, representing almost 10% of the total car rentals.

Our analysis of Christmas car rental data reveals a recurring theme: the demand for car rentals primarily revolves around low-tier vehicles. 

These vehicles are crafted to enhance functionality while compromising certain critical aspects of form.

Considering the financial pressures of the past year, one could argue that global economic vicissitudes have influenced people’s preferences for high-end cars. However, it’s essential to note that any conclusions drawn from the available data can only be speculative in nature.

This Christmas, the prevailing trend highlights the ascendancy of modest options, indicating a preference for more humble choices among consumers.

5. Kia Picanto: The Budget-Friendly Hero of 7-Day Car Rentals in the UK

Kia Picanto

It’s crucial to note that the prices depicted for specific vehicle models represent average daily rates. However, these figures may not fully capture extreme fluctuations at specific times throughout the day.

Nevertheless, intriguing insights surface from the data, showcasing the 1-day, 7-day, and 28-day car rental prices for various models. Notably, the 7-day option stands out as the most cost-effective, offering optimal value for those in the UK between December 1st and December 31st.

Contrastingly, the 1-day option appears as the pricier choice. For cost-conscious individuals, opting for a week-long or longer rental proves more financially prudent.

Delving deeper into budget-friendly options, the Kia Picanto stands out. Its daily rental fees for both the 7-day and 28-day packages are nearly identical, making it an attractive option for those seeking economical yet reliable transportation.

In the words of John McClane, ‘Well, it may not be a limo or a tank, but this Picanto gets the job done when you’re in a tight spot. It’s compact, quick, and doesn’t draw too much attention – just what I need for a quick escape.’

Time to Punch Out

As we conclude our car rental case study, it’s evident that three essential insights stand out:

  1. Budget takes Center Stage: The dominance of AMNR Budget Manuals and CDMR Economy Automatics paints a clear picture – holiday adventurers prioritize value. Nimble Fiestas and trusty Civics become chariots for solo escapades and family outings, maximizing fun without draining wallets.
  1. Festive Flurry and Time Warp: Christmas Eve sees a surge in rentals, a collective yearning for holiday getaways. Quick 1-day dashes (AMNR?) mingle with extended 28-day journeys, but the 7-day option emerges as the budget-friendly champion, delivering optimal holiday cheer per pound.
  1. Kia Picanto, the Maneuvering Master: For those navigating tight alleyways and festive crowds, the Kia Picanto (a potential AMNR champion?) steals the show. It zooms through holiday landscapes, a compact testament to the wisdom of packing light and driving smart.

As the credits roll, we wish you a post-Christmas brimming with joy and adventure. May your travels be smooth, your budgets happy, and your memories merry (even if a tad belated!).


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