NU Best

Airports: How to Unlock Massive Volume

The Adventure Begins

It’s no secret that airports have the largest fleets and a constant flow of smoke/odor returns. When you factor in our national account relationships, airports are a critical long-term revenue opportunity in every market. 

So, for two weeks in June, we launched NVA at all seven major airports in Florida with Troy, Matt G, Rafa, Jerry, and Bobby. Our sweaty entourage visited Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, and Sixt – a total of 27 airport accounts. 

These initial visits went well (in most cases). Smoke/odor is a chronic issue, so the teams were engaged and excited. We left them fully trained and ready to go.

Then, over the next few weeks, only a handful of those 27 accounts placed orders. It’s a feeling we all know. 

It was time for a deep dive. 

We spent the next four months visiting those seven airports every few weeks. We spent hundreds of hours observing their processes and documenting how they miss smoke/odor cars, costing us treatments and revenue. 

What We Learned

With few exceptions, airport locations miss over half of the smoke/odor cars that get returned every day. Some miss up to 90%. That means hundreds of untreated cars end up back on the road, which hurts their NPS scores and makes it difficult to charge the cleaning fee to the proper customer. It’s costing them thousands in lost profit every month. 

That’s great news – if we can help airports improve their processes to catch more cars, they’ll see smoke/odor as a profit center instead of a pain point. This unlocks massive volume…as long as we don’t skip one critical step. 

What We Missed

There are three distinct phases when introducing new products into any large, complex operation: 

  1. Kickoff: Excitement + training
  2. Implementation: Process + behavior change
  3. Maintenance: Visits + support

Implementation is the critical phase we missed. We assumed that initial excitement and thorough training during kickoff would lead to consistent usage, allowing us to jump to routine maintenance visits. We were wrong. 

Introducing new products requires a short, intense period of constant oversight to ensure every team member knows and follows the new processes. We must lead a change management exercise if we want to maximize volume. 

The Blueprint

Missing cars is only one of several root causes of the low treatment volume. That’s why we’re building a comprehensive airport implementation guide to help franchisees, corporate team members, and customers embed NVA products into their operations. We’ll be sharing this blueprint with the network so everyone can drive consistent, profitable growth and be known as true partners in vehicle health. 

But you don’t need a blueprint to get started. Spend a full day (or more) at the airport observing their processes. Identify exactly how many smoke/odor cars they’re missing. Calculate exactly how much it’s costing them in lost fees and rental revenue. Then show that number to the airport manager. 

Now, you have their attention. 

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