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Uber now offers dining, travel services

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Uber has moved into dining and travel smartphone applications in a moved at at settting itself up at the heart of mobile lifestyles.
Uber's Chief Executive Travis Kalanick says it is now possible to book a car, find a restaurant and book a table for dinner and book flights via the Uber app. Image: Wikipedia
The San Francisco-based start-up let about a dozen businesses such as Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels, United Airlines, TripAdvisor and restaurant reservation service OpenTable make it simple for people to summon Uber cars from their applications for smartphones or tablet computers.

"We're excited to partner with Uber to help TripAdvisor travellers conveniently find a ride to their destination in cities throughout the world," TripAdvisor's Senior Vice President of Global Product Adam Medros said in a release.

San Francisco-based Uber unveiled its launch partners and said it will provide software tools that allow others to link to the service from inside mobile applications, employing a tactic that has proven to be a winner for Facebook and other Internet firms.

Allowing other firms to link to its platform expands Uber's reach, putting pressure on rivals such as Lyft. For example, after people book flights or make dinner reservations they can easily arrange for Uber cars to get them to airports or restaurants.

Uber's linked up with restaurants and travel services to provide dining and travel bookings while arranging a car to collect you and take you there. Image: Being Mena.J

Book a taxi, a flight and have dinner

A "My Reservations" section in the Hyatt mobile application will feature a button icon from date of check-in to date of departure letting users summon Uber cars.

"Our partnership with Uber offers customers new opportunities to simplify their travel experience," United Airlines Vice President of Loyalty Praveen Sharma said in a release.

Uber did not release information about revenue sharing or referral fees involved with partners.

The announcement came a day after Uber revealed that a political strategist who ran US President Barack Obama's winning campaign in 2008 has hopped on board at the start-up.

Plouffe to handle global policy and branding

Former adviser to US President Barack Obama, David Plouffe has joined Uber to head it global strategy and branding. Image: re/code
David Plouffe will become Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy at the San Francisco-based firm next month.

"Plouffe will manage Uber's global policy and political activities, communications, and branding," Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick said in a blog post, describing Plouffe as a proven field general and strategist.

The Uber app, which allows clients to connect directly with "black car" services, has upset the established taxi world in several countries. Uber is the most prominent of the apps that are shaking up the traditional taxi landscape in cities around the world.

It has already faces significant resistance from regulators, who accuse it of unfair competition and lack of standards.

Uber is only one of many new smartphone-dependent car services seen as bypassing strict regulations faced by licensed cab drivers.

Uber is available in more than 170 cities in dozens of countries.

Source: AFP via I-Net Bridge
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