Uber now offering transportation options for large events

Alternative transportation service Uber is now making it easier for meeting and events planners to organize transportation to and from hotels. A new announcement from the company revealed the UberEvents service, which allows hotels to buy rides in advance and then gift them to guests.

According to Max Crowley, head of Uber's Uber for Business division, the option to buy rides for others has been consistently ranked among the most requested additions to the service. In the past, Uber has worked with meeting planners to sponsor parties and corporate events with gifted rides, but is now opening the self-service tool for others to use at will.

"We have some existing partnerships with hotels, and we are working directly with them to introduce the tool and see how they use it," Crowley said. "We are then creating playbooks with the service to market it to other hotels. The goal is to introduce folks to [UberEvents] and see how they use it."

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The partnerships Crowley mentioned have roots in 2014, when Uber began offering the option to book rides directly inside brand apps for Hyatt and TripAdvisor, as well as other companies outside of the hospitality sector, such as Starbucks. Current partners also include Hilton and Starwood, the latter of which also allows users to earn rewards points.

In addition, UberEvents now adds new operations perks for hotels, including integration with the hotel concierge, and the option to run up a tab on rides for large-scale events, paying for them at the end of the night. Currently, the service is accessed through Uber's website, but the codes can be disseminated in a variety of ways, including push notifications in apps. Over the update's four-week beta period, the service catered to 500 events.

"People now have a reliable option for transportation that they can provide to large numbers of guests," Crowley said. "It works for anything because it's self service."