Uber builds with CarTrawler to introduce Uber Rent concept in the US and meet the upturn in demand

3 May, 2021

After successfully offering availability in France, Australia and New Zealand and the United Kingdom, ride-hailing technology company Uber has expanded its partnership with B2B car rental and mobility platform Car Trawler to introduce its Uber Rent service in the United States of America.

The arrangement means all US Uber app users will be able to access car rentals at competitive rates set by rental brands. It says the partnership "will help make renting a car easy and accessible," will play a "helpful role in reshaping urban mobility in positive ways" and represents "a key tactic in challenging the need for private car ownership".

Uber has also recently teamed up with Marriott International to offer members of its Marriott Bonvoy travel programme the opportunity to earn points when they use Uber Eats and rides. All Marriott Bonvoy members in the US who link their Marriott and Uber accounts can earn points towards free night stays at 7,600 participating hotels across 30 brands and 20,000 home rentals around the world through all the ways they are already using Uber.

Users can earn six points per dollar spent on Uber Eats orders delivered to Marriott properties (minimum USD25 basket), three points per dollar spent on Uber XL, Uber Comfort, Uber Black and Premium rides and two points per dollar spent on all other Uber Eats orders (minimum USD25 basket).

Uber has launched a USD250 million driver stimulus to boost earnings for its drivers. Boosted incentives and guarantees will also help attract new drivers and welcome back existing drivers that went off the road during 2020 as they couldn't count on getting enough trips to make it worth their time.

After a year of shutdowns and staying in, Americans are now getting vaccinated and cities are opening up. Uber says that right now there are more riders requesting trips than there are drivers available to give them.

Uber remained the top expensed brand for US business travellers in the first half of 2020, although it had seen an unsurprisingly significant decline in usage. Uber has been the top vendor for the past few years but their percentage of expenses has dropped from 12.5% in 1H 2019 to 10.3% for 1H 2020. That is still way ahead of the other ride hailing brand Lyft, which dropped from 3.7% in 1H 2019 to 3.2% for 1H 2020.

This is according to the Certify SpendSmart report for the first half of 2020. The report analyses the most recent business expense and vendor ratings data from Certify users. The findings offer valuable insights into key spending trends for financial professionals and suppliers to the travel market.

In an attempt to attract drivers its new stimulus project Uber has highlighted the median earnings per hour for drivers across several city markets. In New York City (USD37.44), Philadelphia (USD32.60) and Chicago (USD30.49) this exceeds USD30 per hour.

The company describes the current situation as "likely a temporary situation" and as the recovery continues it sees "more drivers will be hitting the road, which means that over time earnings will come back to pre-Covid levels".

The dark clouds of the COVID-19 global health pandemic may have left an indelible mark on society, but it also brought blue skies instead of the heavy smog that sat above city skylines as lockdowns helped to reduce pollution levels and pushed many urban areas to wake up to their environmental responsibilities. As Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, acknowledges, cities have been forced "to rethink their infrastructure, transforming parking into parks and creating more space for walkers and cyclists". "We've had a glimpse of what life could be like with less traffic and cleaner air - in cities built for people, not for cars," he says.

Instead of going back to business as usual, Uber says it is taking this moment as an opportunity to reduce its environmental impact. "It's our responsibility as the largest mobility platform in the world to more aggressively tackle the challenge of climate change. We want to do our part to build back better and drive a green recovery in our cities," says Mr Khosrowshahi.

Uber has now made a commitment to provide 50% of its rides in emissions-free vehicles across seven European capitals by 2025 but more widely has also outlined aims to have 100% of rides taking place in electric vehicles across all US, Canadian, and European cities by 2030.