Uber car-hailing service pairs up with dining, travel brands
New partnerships mean that after people book flights or make dinner reservations, they can easily arrange for Uber cars to get them to airports or restaurants. (Provided / Uber)
Published Thursday, August 21, 2014 8:07AM EDT
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) -- Uber pulled into dining and travel smartphone applications Wednesday as the Internet age car-hailing service moved to park itself at the heart of mobile lifestyles.
The San Francisco-based startup let about a dozen businesses such as Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels, United Airlines, TripAdvisor and restaurant reservation service OpenTable make it simple for people to summon Uber cars from inside their applications for smartphones or tablet computers.
"We're excited to partner with Uber to help TripAdvisor travelers conveniently find a ride to their destination in cities throughout the world," TripAdvisor senior vice president of global product Adam Medros said in a release.
Millions of travellers use TripAdvisor, according to Medros.
San Francisco-based Uber unveiled its launch partners and said it will provide software tools that allow others to link to the service from inside mobile applications, employing a tactic that has proven to be a winner for Facebook and other Internet firms.
Allowing other firms to link to its platform expands Uber's reach, putting pressure on rivals such as Lyft.
For example, after people book flights or make dinner reservations they can easily arrange for Uber cars to get them to airports or restaurants.
A "My Reservations" section in the Hyatt mobile application will feature a button icon from date of check-in to day of departure letting users summon Uber cars.
"Our partnership with Uber offers customers new opportunities to simplify their travel experience," United Airlines vice president of loyalty Praveen Sharma said in a release.
Uber did not release information about revenue sharing or referral fees involved with partners.
Taxi industry fuming
The announcement came a day after Uber revealed that a political strategist who ran U.S. President Barack Obama's winning campaign in 2008 has hopped on board at the startup.
David Plouffe will become senior vice president of policy and strategy at the San Francisco-based firm beginning late September.
Plouffe will manage Uber's global policy and political activities, communications, and branding efforts, Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick said in a blog post, describing Plouffe as "a proven field general and strategist."
Plouffe's mission will include shepherding Uber "well beyond the challenges of the Big Taxi cartel and into the brave new world of software-powered transportation," according to Kalanick.
The Uber app, which allows clients to connect directly with "black car" services, has upset the established taxi set in several countries.
Uber is the most prominent of the apps that are shaking up the traditional taxi landscape in cities around the world.
It has already faced significant resistance from regulators, who accuse it of unfair competition and lack of standards.
Uber is only one of many new smartphone-dependent car services seen as bypassing strict regulations faced by licensed cab drivers.
Uber is present in more than 170 cities spread about dozens of countries.