Uber is making big moves to expand its travel-related offerings, including a partnership with Viator that will enable users to book its experiences and activities through the Uber app and the expansion of its “Uber Travel” service globally to more than 10,000 cities.
The Viator integration is part of Uber Explore, launched in March to give users the ability to book activities — in categories such as art and culture, nightlife and music and shows — and book a ride to the location at the same time. At launch the content came from Yelp but now it includes Viator and OpenTable.
“We are thrilled to be teaming up with Uber to give its users access to the world’s largest experiences marketplace,” said Sarah Dines, chief commercial officer at Viator. “This partnership is an opportunity to expand the ways in which Viator serves both travelers and locals by offering them memorable experiences wherever they are.”
Uber users will see a curated collection of Viator experiences in the app, which Dines said are “the most memorable, unique and high-quality experiences” for each destination. The bookings are fully managed by Viator
Explore is limited to 14 large cities in the U.S. and Mexico City and Madrid (for Open Table only), but Uber said it will add more markets in the near future.
Uber Travel expands its reach
Launched in May in the U.S. and Canada, Uber Travel is now available to users around the world.
By connecting the Uber app to an email account — originally only for Gmail and now adding integrations with Outlook and Hotmail — flight, hotel and restaurant reservations are automatically imported into the Uber app so travelers can book rides for their entire itinerary without having to input addresses. Users who choose to book in advance with Uber Reserve through Uber Travel earn 10% back in Uber Cash.
In the U.K., Uber Travel includes additional ground transportation options. Since August, U.K. users have been able to search and book train and bus trips in the app through partnerships with Eurostar and multimodal travel platform Omio.
New today, Uber is adding the ability for customers flying into the London area to book airport ground transfers. Customers flying into Heathrow, Stansted or Luton airports can book National Express coach in the Uber app, and those flying into Heathrow also have the option to book the Heathrow Express train in the app.
The updates to Uber Travel and Uber Explore are part of a suite of updates the company is announcing today under the heading of “Go, get and give,” with chief product officer Sundeep Jain explaining the goal is to help customers as the holidays approach.
Uber Charter, announced in May and launched in Florida and Texas in June, is expanding today to more than 20 major cities around the U.S. Uber said the service — which enables booking of party buses, passenger vans and coach buses — has been very popular and average booking lead time is 24 days “proving that consumers are willing and ready to engage with the platform in a ‘plan ahead’ capacity.”
Additional updates today include new features for the Uber Connect gift delivery service, instant Uber digital gift cards and an “Uber Eats Holiday Shop” that can deliver a curated selection of groceries, alcohol and other items from major retails like Walgreens and Albertsons.
In Uber’s third quarter earnings report, released Nov. 1, the company said revenue was $8.34 billion from June through September, a 72% increase from a year earlier. Uber’s ride-hailing business grew 73% and its delivery business was up 24%.
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