Jamie Heywood, Uber
"Everyone values the freedom to make travel arrangements in a simple and convenient way, which is why we’re excited to become a one-stop shop for all your travel needs."
Quote from Jamie Heywood, regional general manager, U.K., Northern and Eastern Europe, Uber, in an article this week on Uber adding flights and hotels.
When Uber launched its Uber Explore product last month, it was a clear indication the ride-hailing app was moving closer to capturing the door-to-door experience.
Its addition of flights, trains, hotels and car rentals as part of a pilot program in the United Kingdom announced this week confirms the “super app” way is the direction Uber is going – and Uber is arriving at the right time.
While buzz around super apps has come largely from markets in Asia Pacific – and indeed, AirAsia is a leader in the travel super app space – the concept is starting to be considered more broadly.
India, for example, has Tata, an e-commerce super app that offers everything from apparel to air tickets. Meanwhile, ride-hailing, micromobility and delivery company Bolt is billing itself the first European super app.
And of course, always lurking is little company by the name of Google, which is perhaps in the best position to live out its super app ambitions.
These super app developments coincide with shifting consumer behavior, particularly among young people.
Thune CEO Peter De Caluwe sums up Gen Z best: “This is a generation to which 'dial-up' and 'desktop' are meaningless words and who don’t just think mobile-first,' but live and breathe in apps, social media, digital platforms and soon - the metaverse. We should start to take this generation seriously as the revenues and strategic plans of many businesses - especially those that are relying on fast growth - are dependent on them.”
In other words, building out app features makes a lot of sense, because that’s where consumers are spending their time – and keeping their payments and preferences - anyway.
Uber is wise to recognize this, but its success will largely hinge on what it has to offer. Partners for the U.K. pilot have yet to be announced (although Expedia would make sense given Dara Khosrowshahi’s ties), and there are regional factors to consider as well if the pilot were to expand.
Regardless, making moves now as consumers hunt for all-in-one solutions and the pandemic continues to drive digitization is a smart bet.
PhocusWire's editorials examine a trend or development highlighted in an article during the week.