Rental Cars: Finally, a good use for QR codes


I wrote a few weeks ago about how I live vicariously through my husband’s rental cars. In the past year, he’s made a nearly weekly trek to the Baltimore-Washington area to visit clients. It’s part of his job.

Wouldn’t it be better if we just moved to that area so he wouldn’t have to travel? Why, yes. That sounds like a splendid idea. And that’s exactly what we are finally doing more than a year after first putting our house on the market.

But until closing day, which will go off without a hitch in about 3 weeks (fingers crossed), he’s still traveling to and fro. And he’s still renting cars for the drive.

Once we signed contracts and actually started counting down until moving day, he’s been opting for the bigger vehicles so he can haul some loads of difficult-to-move things up to my sister’s house and deposit them there for a few weeks. So he’s driven a Chevy Suburban, a Chrysler Town & Country, a Jeep Wrangler.

I think it’s funny that he’s actually enjoying the ride of a minivan for the 5 hour commute. And he’s become a lot more aware of the gas guzzlers. So while size is important, the fuel cost is catching his eye, even if it is expensed.

Right before Easter, I headed up with him so we could spend time looking around. I went up before him to stay with family and he came up a few days later in his rental car. This time, it was a Toyota Avalon.

He was surprised by how comfortable the Toyota Camry was when he rented that a few weeks prior. We both agreed it could use some improving in the looks department but he thought it was a very comfortable ride.

Since the Avalon is a step above the Camry, we also expected a step above and we weren’t disappointed. It’s a nice, comfortable, spacious ride. Is it anything out of the ordinary? Not in my mind but it is a nice car.

What caught my eye with the Avalon, though, was not so much the car, but the keychain. Now remember, it’s a rental. So you usually get some tag that includes the year, make, and model of the vehicle and, well, a key. But why not take the opportunity to market the car?

Look what Toyota did! They have a nicely laminated key tag reminding you of the make, model, and year, but in a much more pleasing way. And if you happen to love the rental car you’re driving, it might be the reminder you need to check this baby out once you get back to real life.

But what if you don’t want to wait?

Oh yes. For all you QR code naysayers, I happen to think this is a BRILLIANT use of a QR code. Turn the tag over, use your phone, scan the tag, and learn more about the Avalon. Right now. While you’re in the moment.

But I couldn’t let it go without seeing how well the idea was actually executed. So I scanned the code to check it out.

Simple, easy-to-read information. Select a trim and scroll down for some basic information.

A great marketing tool. A great way to capture a potential buyer except for…

the Google ads!!!!!

This IS an ad. For a Toyota Avalon. I know it and you know it. Don’t muddy it up with more ads! It’s a distraction and an annoyance on my little iPhone. Unless the ads came from my QR code reader?

I honestly don’t know. But besides that, I thought it was a pretty cool idea.

My suggestion to you is if you are thinking about buying a new car, rent it, and take it for a long drive. Learn all you can about it but really get to know the car. My husband who thought that he would love a new Hyundai took one for a rental recently. He came back with complaints about his back and his hip from the positioning of all the controls.

An even better suggestion? Get to know the car while you are driving it. Not actually while you are driving it. You should actually keep your eyes on the road. But learn about it while it’s in your possession and check for that QR code.

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of the Toyota.