Uber Introduces a Voucher Program that Allows Businesses to Buy Rides for Their Customers
【Summary】Ride-hailing giant Uber announced today its rolling out a new program called “Uber Vouchers” that allows businesses to offer free or subsidized Uber rides to customers. The program is targeting at businesses as a way to bring in more customers.
Let's say you want to go out to a local restaurant on a Friday night but don't feel like driving and having to circle around the block multiple times trying to find a parking spot. Or perhaps you want to meet some friends for drinks but don't want to drive home afterwards. Ride-hailing giant Uber is launching a new program to address this need.
Uber announced today its rolling out a new program called "Uber Vouchers" that allows businesses to offer free or subsidized Uber rides to customers. The program is targeting at businesses as a way to bring in more customers.
The service lets businesses pay for Uber rides for their customers and distribute them as vouchers in the Uber app or via email, so customers can redeem as needed or at specific preset times.
"With the introduction of vouchers, Uber's goal is to unlock an additional growth lever for businesses by creating an innovative way to bring customers to their door or wherever they need to go," stated Ronnie Gurion, General Manager and Global Head of Uber for Business. "As companies look for new technology and novel ways to engage with consumers, Uber Vouchers provides a perk that businesses know their customers will use."
For example, a local restaurant may offer a customer a complimentary Uber Voucher on a Friday night to drum up business, or a local theatre might offer a voucher for a complimentary Uber ride to the show with the purchase of a theatre ticket.
The voucher program is part of Uber's mission to expand from a ride-hailing service to an entire mobility as a service (MaaS) multi-modal transportation platform. Uber's smartphone app has already been expanded to include mass transit options, e-bikes and scooters and other transportation options directly from the Uber app. Now businesses are able to provide complimentary Uber rides to customers or clients.
The new vouchers from Uber are already being utilized by popular restaurant chain TGI Friday's. For example, customers enrolled in the company's rewards program might be offered a free Uber ride to the restaurant to dine in.
TGI Friday's is using the Uber ride vouchers to boost promotions that help drive foot traffic during a specific time of day or to a specific location and create connections with their customers. Businesses can send vouchers to their customers through email, social media or mobile messaging.
"As we look at ways that Uber Vouchers can be leveraged, it's clear there is a great opportunity to reinforce the personal connection between our team members and our guests," says Mityas. "For example, our bartenders may have a set of Uber Vouchers available for happy-hour customers who need a safe ride home. It's actions like these that really set our service and experience apart."
Uber Vouchers can be customized to the specific needs of the business. Real-time reporting will enable businesses to edit the promotion based on demand. Businesses can also distribute a Uber Voucher through social media channels to promote a special offer at select locations to attract more customers.
Businesses using the vouchers also receive detailed reports that show how many vouchers were redeemed for Uber trips, so they can track the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. Businesses can also set custom pickup and dropoff locations and cap the value of the voucher for bigger events, such as a concert or sporting event.
MGM Grand Resorts in Las Vegas said it is currently rolling out Uber Vouchers across its portfolio and is testing it out for various offerings. The vouchers provide convenient transportation with Uber in Las Vegas, they help remove the burden of driving, navigating and finding parking in busy Las Vegas.
"As we looked for a need-based, on demand tool to promote our fabulous entertainment options to guests, it became clear that Uber Vouchers was the perfect solution" said Stephanie Cloud Director of Online Sales and Partner Marketing, MGM.
Eventually, Uber might send a self-driving car to pick you up when you redeem a voucher. However, that may still be a long time away, as we also learned this week.
On Monday, Raquel Urtasun, chief scientist at Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), spoke about the challenges for self-driving development at a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York.
"Self-driving cars are going to be in our lives. The question of when is not clear yet," Urtasun said at the event in New York. "To have it at scale is going to take a long time."
The Uber Voucher program launches today in most cities that the ride-hailing company operates in.
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