Uber is celebrating New Years Eve with success, having just given their one-billionth ride in London over the Christmas period.
The ride-sharing service has some big plans for 2016, including potentially moving into the travel-booking business. On December 24, Uber secured a new patent that could be used to plan trips.
‘Uber Travel‘ looks similar to flight search websites like Expedia, but adds Uber cars into the mix. Travellers can input their start location, date, time and destination then Uber would recommend an itinerary for them.
Removing the segmented process of travel-booking where the rental car or means of transportation comes after the flight or hotel, Uber Travel (according to the patent) will take the trip information and show a recommended flight, hotel, and the cost of an Uber to get you from point A to point B in one package.
Uber will tap into the network of airlines and work with traditional hotels and ‘shared-economy systems’ like Airbnb to act as a facilitator, rather than a provider in travel-booking.
In terms of airport to hotel transportation, once Uber knows your scheduled flight the patented system will start calculating when you should call an Uber, taking into account customs and baggage times. Sounds simple, but may be a challenge with many airports still forbidding Uber to operate on their properties.
Watch this space.