Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are not an uncommon site alongside taxis at the front entrance of hotels these days. But Uber believes the Hilton integration will add a greater customer experience for those staying at the hotel chain.
“Ground transportation is obviously a must in the travel experience and both companies think about being innovative,” Uber travel partnerships head Jonathan DiOrio told TechCrunch. “It’s really that dialogue and that vision of how can we connect our respective platforms and use technology to seamlessly and elegantly enhance that guest experience.”
The app will prompt those booking with the Hilton app to set up a scheduled ‘Ride Reminder’ for when they are going to and from the hotel to various destinations in the area they are staying. An automated notification then pops up at the appropriate time to enable guests to request a ride within the hotel’s app.
The ability to book an Uber is only part of Hilton’s unique app innovations. The hotel chain built a way for guests to book, check in and unlock which room they want right in its smartphone app last year. The integration with Uber’s API now allows guests the option to seamlessly add-on a ride without ever leaving the app.
Something else that makes this integration different from other Uber travel partnerships Uber in the past is the Hilton app’s ability to tap into Uber local rider data. Uber’s API will point Hilton guests to the most popular local spots, using the ride-sharing service’s aggregate rider data in each city. The new feature called ‘Local Scene’ will roll out its digital guide on the app later this month and will include 20 select cities throughout the U.S.
The travel industry is huge and the opportunity to partner and share rider data makes sense for both Uber and Hilton. But it could make sense for others in the accommodations business as well. The ride-sharing service announced a partnership with Starwood Hotels earlier this year and Hyatt Hotels was part of its API announcement when that first came out.
Uber also integrates into Google Maps to prompt ride bookings. However, the ‘Local Scene’ integration is the first time Uber has allowed another company to use its rider location data.
“This is the next step in the standard evolution of our API,” DiOrio said. According to Uber, it does not plan to integrate its rider data with companies other than Hilton at this time.
A common question among riders may be how their data is being used by Uber for this new feature, particularly those staying at the Hilton. Specific rider data is not passed along to the hotel or the HHonors app, according to Uber spokesperson Sarah Maxwell. Instead, Uber’s API sends general data to the Hilton app, indicating a certain restaurant or nightclub is hot at that moment, based on how many Uber riders request to go to that location.
“Our focus with this [partnership] is just providing opportunities to reduce barriers without having to look up addresses or getting a car,” Maxwell told TechCrunch.