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Uber has been experimenting with an expanded travel app in the UK. Results are looking good, so those trials will continue.

Series: Skift Global Forum 2023

Skift Global Forum was held in New York City on September 26-28, 2023. Read coverage of the event at the link below.

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Uber is pushing forward with experiments in other areas of travel. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi detailed some of the plans on Thursday during the final session of the 2023 Skift Global Forum.

About 22% to 24% of Uber users are traveling someplace outside of their home market, Khosrowshahi said. Last year, that amounted to about 700 million trips.

“These are Uber [riders] who are travelers. So we know that the audience is a very big travel audience,” Khosrowshahi said. 

The trials of those travel products are primarily coming through the UK app. Uber expanded its UK rideshare service with a Hopper partnership to allow users in-app booking of domestic and international flights in May this year. This adds to several other travel services, including a partnership with Viator to offer tours and activities. 

There’s also a service in the UK called Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. “We decided, let’s take a leading market like the UK, and let’s actually build in travel functionality to Uber. And what we’re seeing is actually very encouraging results,” Khosrowshahi said.

Of the users in the UK who have booked a bus or train on Uber, 60% of them are already repeating those bookings. And 30% of users are repeating flight bookings through Uber. 

It’s part of a plan that Uber is taking to scale the business — because there are no plans to reduce the level of payments that drivers earn through the app. 

“Business is growing really fast at a big scale, and that’s what it’s going to be about: Keep growing and keep costs the same,” Khosrowshahi said.

Uber reported its first-ever operating profit in August, at which time it said that ride numbers in the U.S. and Canada surpass pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

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Tags: online travel newsletter, ride share, sgf2023, skift live, uber

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