Today’s Business Travel Includes Occasional Trips to the Workplace 

Uber for Business, ridesharing

Business travel is returning, and in some ways it’s looking different than it did before the pandemic. For one thing, more of this travel is taking people to and from the workplace. 

“The number of companies paying for commuter programs and actually paying to get their team into the office has increased during the pandemic,” Susan Anderson, global head of Uber for Business, told PYMNTS. “That is very new and interesting.” 

Some businesses are offering rides to employees because the availability of public transportation has been reduced in some areas. Others are using it to recruit new employees, and still others are using it occasionally to bring their hybrid workforce to the office. 

“What we’re hearing from our clients is that travel into offices and bringing together people is going to be a lot more deliberate,” Anderson said. “Rather than just being in an office five days a week, it’s really more deliberate and thoughtful around how we should use our office spaces and how we should collaborate.” 

Business Travel is Ramping Back Up 

As a result of these and other needs, the number of organizations actively using their Uber for Business accounts has ramped back up and is now well ahead of the level it was at in 2019. 

Out-of-town business travel is picking up too. Airport trips provided by Uber for Business in February were up 50%. 

“We’re definitely seeing domestic travel increasing in all of our regions,” Anderson said. “In Europe, we’re seeing inter-Europe travel increasing a lot. I think the international travel — so between the U.S. and Europe and [Asia-Pacific] — is a bit slower to come back, but we’re beginning to see signals there.” 

Integration Allows Booking Flight, Hotel, Uber Ride in One Place 

For those whose business travels take them out of town, Uber for Business has added an integration with Deem’s corporate travel software Etta. This enables business travelers to book Uber rides on the Etta platform while they’re also booking flights and hotels. 

In addition, with Uber’s airport reservation product, business travelers can share their flight number with Uber so that the company can update the Uber reservation if the flight is not on time. 

“People can book their travel, they know everything’s sorted, they can have confidence they know exactly what they’re doing and using a service they’re familiar with, no matter whether that’s domestic — across the U.S. — or international travel,” Anderson said. 

Companies Book Rides for Employees, Customers and Patients 

The availability of this new integration supplements the other business-friendly features Uber for Business has offered since its launch in 2015. This came about in part because Uber is one of the most-expensed items worldwide among business travelers, Anderson said. 

The features offered by Uber for Business include reporting that shows companies where and when their team are using Uber, controls that enable companies to restrict the kinds of vehicles their team use and when they use them, central billing and the ability for staff to order an Uber ride on behalf of someone else. 

“They can order an Uber for their executive, that will show up in their account using our reservation product, which means you secure a car in advance or just to take some of the hassle out,” Anderson said. “We see companies using that both for their employees but also for customer logistics and even healthcare patients.”