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Uber looking to create travel super app; what services will it offer & where

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Highlights:

  • Uber to add a plane, train, and hotel bookings in ‘Super App’
  • The move is part of a pilot project that will expand to other countries at a later date if it goes well.
  • Uber wants to capitalize on this trend by combining flight booking and ticketing as well.

Uber is driving ahead with its plan to become a travel “super app”. The San Francisco-headquartered firm announced that- it is adding trains, buses, planes and car rentals to its U.K. app this year. The move is part of a pilot project that will expand to other countries at a later date if it goes well. While Uber will not provide these travel services itself, it will allow users to book them through its app following software integrations with platforms that sell tickets.

Jamie Heywood, Uber’s boss in the UK, said in a statement that Uber hopes to become “a one-stop-shop for all your travel needs”. The San Francisco-based organization will monitor the pilot project before a wider rollout in the UK but is confident of its approach given the data it has access to. The company says that around 15% of the trips booked on the app were to the airports in the pre-pandemic years. Uber wants to capitalize on this trend by combining flight booking and ticketing as well.

Uber travel super app

Uber’s plans to diversify into flight booking isn’t a recent idea. The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Dara Khosrowshahi, wants to include more options within the app since 2018 – not long after he was appointed Uber’s top boss. But the pandemic put a sudden halt to those plans as it decimated the travel, hospitality, and aviation industry. A report by the Financial Times quotes Khosrowshahi as saying,

“It’s fair to say that Covid made it a little bit hard for us to progress as quickly as we would like. With Covid behind us, with this big push into new modes of transport, we want to signal that this is a very important growth lever for us over the coming years.”

Uber won’t provide the travel service itself- but will team up with third-party booking agencies to facilitate the sale of tickets. While Uber didn’t disclose which ticketing platforms it will partner with, it could wind up working with major aggregators such as Booking.com and Expedia Inc., where Dara Khosrowshahi served as a chief executive officer before assuming the helm at Uber. The company will make money by collecting a service fee from the bookings. Train and bus bookings will be available on the app this summer with flights and hotel reservations potentially launching later in the year.

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