Uber is launching a new feature on Tuesday that will allow customers in 15 cities across the U.S. and Mexico the ability to browse and book experiences like dinner reservations or live events directly through the app.
An Explore tab in the Uber app will populate recommended destinations in categories like food and drink, art and culture, nightlife, music and shows, and more based on a user’s past use of Uber and Uber Eats, according to Uber. The app will invite riders to “ride there now” to easily book a ride. Select restaurants and bars will offer 15% off rides, which equals up to $10 for now — Uber told TechCrunch these discounts would not affect drivers, but did not elaborate.
“We’ve built Uber Explore to take our customers beyond the ride,” Adib Roumani, product lead for Uber Explore, told TechCrunch. “People have always come to the Uber app for the point A to point B piece of the journey — so we’re thrilled to expand and help inspire the destination, too. Through a variety of personalized offers and experiences, customers will be able to see trending locations near them and also browse for activities and events in their area.”
Uber’s goal with this new feature is to drive incremental trips through increased user engagement and use cases, which can result in increased revenue for Uber, says Conor Ferguson, a spokesperson for Uber.
The company posted its fourth-quarter 2021 earnings last month, and despite the fact that Uber is clearly diversifying its revenue streams, with delivery and freight growing 78% and 245%, respectively, since Q4 2020, the ride-hailing business remains Uber’s cash cow. And while Uber had strong revenue growth last year, the company is still not profitable, and will likely experiment with driving traffic to its platform in a variety of new ways until it is.
It’s not clear whether or not Uber will get a cut of any tickets to events purchased on the app through a customer’s Uber Wallet and payment profile, although TechCrunch did ask and did not receive a reply.
Uber will lean on a range of partnerships to help enable its Explore feature. The first version of Explore is integrated with Yelp, for example, which allows users to see reviews, get recommendations and book reservations at various restaurants.
In addition, Uber has integrated with PredictHQ, a New Zealand-based demand intelligence platform, allowing events to be surfaced to customers where they can book a ride there or learn more about the event, according to Ferguson.
On Tuesday, the Uber Explore feature will be live in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Orleans, New Jersey, Upstate New York, Orlando, San Antonio, San Francisco and Seattle, as well as Mexico City as a pilot.
Uber plans to expand the product to more cities in the coming weeks and months, integrating more event opportunities and experiences along the way, the company said. Uber did not respond to requests for details as to how it will measure success with this program and how that will affect its decisions to expand.