Uber pulls into mobile dining and travel apps

The Uber App is shown in this file photo in Washington, DC.

The Uber App is shown in this file photo in Washington, DC.

SAN FRANCISCO: Uber teamed up with dining and travel smartphone applications Wednesday as the controversial Internet-age car-hailing service moved to park itself at the heart of mobile lifestyles.

The San Francisco-based startup let about a dozen businesses such as Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels, United Airlines, TripAdviser and restaurant reservation service OpenTable make it simple for people to summon Uber cars from inside their applications for smartphones or tablet computers.

“We’re excited to partner with Uber to help TripAdviser travelers conveniently find a ride to their destination in cities throughout the world,” TripAdviser senior vice president of global product Adam Medros said.

Uber also released a software kit to allow makers of mobile apps to link to its platform, expanding its reach with a tactic that has proven effective for other Internet firms including Facebook and ramps up pressure on Uber’s rivals such as Lyft.

It means that after people book flights or make dinner reservations online, for example, they can easily arrange for Uber cars to get them to airports or restaurants.

A “My Reservations” section in the Hyatt mobile application will feature a button icon 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.

Uber did not release information about revenue sharing or referral fees involved with its new 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 startup.

David Plouffe will become senior vice president of policy and strategy at the firm beginning late September.

Plouffe will manage Uber’s global policy and political activities, communications, and branding efforts, Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick said in a blog post, describing Plouffe as “a proven field general and strategist.”

 
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