This week's reveal of the Uber API marks the company's latest push to become the dominant means of ground transportation across the business travel ecosystem - and third-party travel companies are eager to help.
First, there was Concur's automated expense reporting for Uber rides and then in-app ride requests with TripAdvisor and TripCase.
The company continues to link-up with other providers, demonstrating the monstrous latent demand for providing on-demand rides within travel apps.
Hyatt now allows guests to book an on-demand Uber ride within the My Reservations screen. As the user is checking on a particular reservation, all they need to do is tap the Uber button and select the type of ride desired.
United Airlines also announced a direct integration, allowing travelers to call a car from its app.
Expensify goes one step further with its Uber API implementation, offering automated car hailing. The app latently tracks flight status, and, upon landing, will prompt the user to select the desired type of Uber service (UberX, etc) and then auto-dispatch a car to the airport.
This particular integration does not require a user to open an app and push a button to request a car; it happens seamlessly without direct user interaction.
The feature is called SmartRides, and is an emerging use of ambient computing in travel, where travel apps can passively track a traveler's status to accomplish a task without user input. The new Uber integration is part of Expensify Trips, which tracks hotels and flight status for users.
The idea here is to compete on the same level as Concur, as the startup also exists to track travel expenses throughout a trip. Whereas Concur is able to seamlessly integrate expenses due to many integrations, Expensify will push into ambient computing to automatically determine which expenses belong on which trip to assign accordingly.
These rapid fire announcements of deep integration are going to be tough bonds to break for competitors. These travel companies have invested engineering resources to place the integration, so if it goes well, displacement opportunities will be few and far between.
Your move, Lyft.
NB: Taxi/limo image courtesy Shutterstock.
[CORRECTION: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly named Marriott. Author's apologies!]