Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Ground Transport

IDEAS: Uber Launches Festive Holiday Bus

6 months ago

Uber has launched a suite of festive programming designed to help customers ‘go anywhere, get anything, and celebrate together this season’.

For December, any guests who are looking to celebrate with friends through Uber Charter will have the opportunity to experience one of Uber’s festive buses, which offers holiday inspired amenities including karaoke, holiday lights, photo props and more.

Credit: Uber

The festive karaoke coaches will be available to users in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and Washington, D.C, and are bookable in the Uber and Uber Eats apps. 

In addition to the festive party buses, Uber will also be looking to continue to spread the holiday cheer through a number of initiatives, including a Dr. Seuss inspired Christmas kit, reindeer outfits for its delivery robots in select U.S. cities, and gift collections curated by a number of celebrities.

Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Ground Transport

Lyft Will Pay Airport Riders Up to $100 to Take an Uber — If Scheduled Ride Is Late

7 months ago

Lyft launched an on-time pick-up promise when riders schedule an airport trip, and if the driver is 10 minutes or more late, the company pledges to shell out $100 in Lyft cash to passengers if they ended up needing to use another service such as Uber or a taxi.

Screengrabs of the Lyft app. Source: Lyft

“To help ensure all of your scheduled rides will be there when you need them, drivers can accept the ride in advance and they earn more on scheduled rides than standard rides,” Lyft stated in its announcement. “Scheduled rides are also the first priority to be matched to a driver. If you’re not picked up-on time for a scheduled ride to the airport, you’ll automatically get Lyft Cash credit.”

Lyft pledged to pay passengers $20 in Lyft cash if their scheduled ride arrives more than 10 minutes late; $50 if they still had not been match with a driver 10 minutes after the scheduled pickup, and an additional $50 if the driver was a no-show 10 minutes after the scheduled meet-up and passengers needed to take another service. They can submit a receipt that the took an Uber or another service by tapping help in the Lyft app.

Of course, you can only use the Lyft cash credit on a Lyft ride — but it’s the passenger’s compensation when forced to use another service when the Lyft driver is tardy or doesn’t show up.

Many U.S. customers can choose between taking Lyft, Uber, other rideshare services, and taxis so Lyft hopes the on-time pickup promise will sway passenger decisions.

Lyft also introduced a service where customers can schedule rides up to 30 days ahead and can lock in that price.


IDEAS: Uber One Campaign Sees Robert De Niro and Asa Butterfield Become ‘Best Friends’

8 months ago

A new campaign from Uber One has brought together an unlikely pairing in Hollywood legend Robert De Niro and Sex Education star Asa Butterfield, as they become ‘best friends’ thanks to their shared love for ‘eating food and going places’.

Robert De Niro and Asa Butterfield sat on a sofa eating food in the latest Uber One campaing.
Credit: Mother London/Uber

The three minute advert which comes from creative agency Mother London was directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker David Shane.

The advert sees De Niro and Butterfield bonding in a series of light-hearted scenes whilst enjoying a number of their favorite things, including clothes shopping, some down time on a swing set and a game of ping pong.

These experiences are all made possible thanks to shared Uber rides across the city of London and a selection of Uber Eats deliveries to keep their energy levels up.

You can take a look at the full length video below:

The Uber One campaign will be shown on TV screens across the United Kingdom, as well as in cinemas and across a number of digital and out of home activations.

Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.


Uber Unveils Plans for Hot Air Balloon Rides in Turkey in Tourism Push

8 months ago

Uber will enable users to book hot air balloon rides in popular Turkish tourist destination Cappadocia as part of its strategy to make further inroads in the tourism industry.

The company said app users can pay $159 (150 euros) to reserve one of 20 places on an one-and-a half hour sunrise flight over Cappadocia, a region renowned for its cave cities. Cappadocia attracted roughly 10% of Turkey’s 44.6 million foreign visitors in 2022, according to the country’s tourism and culture ministry.

Uber’s move to offer hot balloon riders is its latest offering outside of ride sharing. The apps allows users to book boat rides along the Thames River in London as well as tuk-tuks in Sri Lanka and India. Uber also enables UK users to book flights, trains and hotels on its app.

Turkey has also emerged as one of Uber’s fastest-growing markets as the company said rides in the country have increased over 50% from last year.

Uber is planning to offer hot air balloon rides in Turkey as part of its strategy to further move into tourism (Wikimedia Commons: Ratta Pak}.

Tags: turkey, uber

Business Travel

Hertz, Uber Bringing 25,000 Electric Cars to European Cities

1 year ago

After renting out some 50,000 electric cars to Uber drivers across North America, Hertz is now taking its partnership with the ride hailing giant to Europe, where it will make 25,000 Tesla and Polestar vehicles available.

The European expansion begins in London this month, before it adds other European capitals including Paris and Amsterdam.

The expansion follows Hertz Global Holdings’ announcement it would order up to 175,000 General Motors electric vehicles over the next five years. It starts taking delivery of Chevrolet Bolt EVs and Bolt EUVs in the coming months.

“… We are moving in a very big way toward electric vehicles and Hertz has taken a rather aggressive strategic stance,” Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr recently told Skift.

Uber, meanwhile, wants to become a fully electric platform in Europe by 2030. “Expanding our partnership with Hertz into Europe will significantly boost our transition to zero-emissions, helping drivers reduce running costs and cleaning up urban transport,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Hertz’s strategy is to build one of the largest fleets of rental electric vehicles in the world, and believes they are increasingly appealing to younger drivers.

Short-Term Rentals

Naya Homes Secures $5 Million to Expand Short-Term Rentals in Mexico

2 years ago

A startup whose founding team includes two former Uber staffers has secured $5 million to grow its vacation and short-term rental platform in Mexico.

Naya Homes began operations in Puerto Vallarta in August, and with the extra cash will launch in Mexico City, with a 15-unit building in Polanco in September.

It specializes in vacation and short-term rental management, and it works with both real estate investors and homeowners.

The company claims that relative to Latin America incumbents that execute master leases on larger buildings, Naya Homes is an asset-light operator that maximizes profitability for all types of properties, from individual apartments to vacation villas.

Despegar, meanwhile, is bolstering its vacation rentals portfolio in Latin America, following the closing of a 51 percent stake in channel manager Stays. Lodging startup Casai, which is based in Mexico City, is also steeping up its presence.

The funding round was led by Boston and New York City-based Flybridge Capital Partners with participation from Primary Venture Partners, Clocktower Technology Ventures, K50 Ventures, Carao Ventures, Trip Ventures, Colibri Equity Ventures, Derive Ventures, in addition to several former executives from Uber’s Latin America team.

“We believe Naya can deliver incredible value to numerous stakeholders across the residential real estate value chain at scale,” said Jeff Bussgang, partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, in a statement. “Naya’s founding team is incredibly well-positioned, having on-the-ground experience managing operationally intensive businesses in LATAM, ranging from Uber to Sonder.”

The funding follows a $600,000 pre-seed led by Primary Venture Partners in March 2022.

Business Travel

Uber’s $30 Billion Quarter Shows the Travel Recovery Is Well Underway

2 years ago

Taxi tech company Uber has just recorded its busiest quarter, with gross bookings reaching an all-time high of $29.1 billion in the three months to June 30, 2022. That number’s up 33 percent on the same period last year.

However, losses prevail. Uber posted a net loss of $2.6 billion, with a $1.7 billion net headwind relating to its equity investments, mostly tied to the revaluation of its Aurora, Grab and Zomato stakes. The net loss also includes $470 million in stock-based compensation expense.

For its first quarter it reported a net loss of $5.9 billion, so the momentum is there, particularly from its business travel division.

Overall, trips during the quarter grew 24 percent year-on-year to 1.87 billion, or 21 million trips per day. Revenue grew 105 percent to $8.1 billion, compared to the 2021 first quarter. There was a slower pace of growth for its food delivery unit though, where gross bookings grew 7 percent year-on-year to $13.9 billion.

That may be because fewer employees are ordering takeaways, and instead jumping in an Uber to get to the office. Uber for Business revenue almost doubled in the quarter, growing 105 percent year-on-year to $8.1 billion.

Managed Uber for Business, its “actively managed” portion of the business through Uber’s account managers and sales team, represented 29 percent of Uber for Business’s gross bookings, compared to 25 percent in the second quarter of 2021.

“We’re really selling to significant enterprise customers out there, both in the tech space and the non-tech space,” said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi during an earnings call on Tuesday.

“A lot of these enterprises, some of them are going back to returning to office, some of them are not … the champion use case that we’re seeing with U4B is essentially the business traveler getting out on the road again. And obviously, a sales call over Zoom is one thing, but if the salesperson comes in to see you in person, it gives a different impression and we’re seeing our U4B clients invest in getting their teams on the road.”

Airport traffic was also recovering, growing 139 percent year-on-year, and 49 percent on the first quarter.

The results came out just a day before it launched Uber Travel in the UK, which includes a tie-up with Omio.

In June, Uber for Business said it was taking steps to make it easier for travel managers to nudge their organizations into more sustainable modes of transport, including price-matching Uber Green trips against UberX.