When Uber was founded in 2009, it changed how we get around day to day and travel as we know it. Allowing users to skip the tedious task of hailing a cab, we could finally book a car, including premium vehicles, using a smartphone, and typically at a lower cost to boot. Since then, the rideshare company has added on multiple forms of transportation, including electric scooters and bikes as well as unique offerings like Uber Tuktuk in India and Uber Boat in London; have integrated public transit into the app in select destinations; and the capability to have food delivered from some of your favorite restaurants. And as of today, with the launch of a few new initiatives, Uber is better than ever.
Expanding further into the travel space, Uber is now far more than just a ride-hailing app. Through the Uber Explore tab, you can now book dining reservations, courtesy of a partnership with OpenTable, and experiences for your trips. The app makes it easy to book a car to any of these activities with the “ride there now” functionality, which will automatically pre-populate the final destination. The service first began rolling out in the United States in March and is currently available in 14 cities including Los Angeles, Atlanta, and San Francisco, as well as Mexico City. Today, the company has expanded this offering abroad, starting with Madrid. Whether you’re looking to supplement your plans with a sightseeing tour, cooking class, or a tapas excursion, there are over a thousand bookable adventures in the Spanish capital alone. Following a couple of difficult years, the hunger to venture to foreign countries, and especially Europe, has grown. Uber has already seen nearly a 500% year over year increase in ride requests from U.S. guests in hotspots like Spain, France, Greece, and Italy. And for well-heeled travelers, there’s no better time than now to head over to Madrid, which has seen a large influx of new luxury hotels like the Edition, Rosewood Villa Magna, and Mandarin Oriental Ritz.
To accompany what is expected to be one of the busiest summers for travel in the region, Uber is also adding their classic ride services to new destinations in Europe. For those who are planning a sun-filled holiday in the Mediterranean or the Cyclades, UberX, Uber Comfort, and Uber Black are now available in destinations like Malta, Sicily, and Santorini, with additional launches throughout the Greek and Spanish islands that will be announced in the coming weeks. For those who have traveled to Santorini before, you already know just how much of a game changer this will be, where parking spots are limited, making it less than ideal to rent a car during high season, and wait times for cabs can sometimes be excruciatingly long.
But wait, there’s more. The company is making it easier than ever to schedule your airport rides thanks to Uber Travel. The app can now pull flight reservations found in your Gmail, automatically reserve rides to and from the airport, and consolidate all of these details into a single itinerary. And should there be any unexpected airline delays or cancellations, the flight-tracking feature will automatically adjust pick-up times on your behalf. Plus, you’ll receive 10% back in Uber Cash on each Reserve ride booked through Uber Travel. Pair that with Uber’s partnership with Marriott, which allows customers to earn points toward their Bonvoy account with every ride and Uber Eats order over $25, and you have a win-win situation.
Additionally, with the release of Uber Hourly, you’ll now be able to order a car for a set number of hours at a flat rate of $50 per hour (costs may vary abroad based on exchange rates), allowing for multiple stops on one trip instead of ordering multiple one-way rides. The same driver will be with you for the entire duration and all you’ll need to do is call or message them in the app when you’re ready to move on to your next destination. If that’s not the definition of ease and comfort, then I don’t know what is.