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Uber Turns Its First Profit, Aims To Expand In-App Travel Features

After turning its first profit, Uber is making plans to expand its travel offerings to riders. According to the BBC, the ride share titan hopes to redefine the tour operator industry in the UK. Uber saw a drastic increase in rides in the first half of 2023. The company was still recovering from post-pandemic losses when rides skyrocketed this spring.

Uber representatives told the BBC that an average of 25 million trips were made on the app each day between April and June. After serving nearly 2.3 billion rides in Q2, Uber is seeking out new business territory to expand into and conquer.

Profit & Change 

Uber
Photo credit: alvarez via Getty Images

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told the BBC turning a profit seemed impossible at the company. While they were known for providing fast taxi service and food deliveries, profit wasn’t in the conversation. 

“For most of our history, ‘profitable’ wasn’t the first thing that came up when you asked someone about Uber,” Khosrowshahi said. “But we knew they were wrong.”

After losing $713 million in 2022, Uber turned a profit of $326 million in Q2 of 2023. Khosrowshahi took over the company in 2017 and used scaling strategies, cost discipline and other measures to turn the brand around. Now, Uber wants to broaden its horizon for travelers. 

“Travel is a very important eco-system for us, both in terms of pick-ups and drop-offs, so we said hey, why can’t we go after this tour operator market?” Khosrowshahi said. “Essentially we are building up services that we think rival traditional tour operators.”

Unlike in North America, tour operators and travel agents aren’t as popularized in the UK. Uber hopes to expand into this market by adding new in-app features that cater to the needs of European travelers. 

Upcoming Travel Features 

Uber has been plotting on new features for some time. Back in March, Uber announced new travel features. This included extending the future reservation booking period, providing directions to airport pick up spots and the Business Comfort option for passenger airport commutes. According to Business Insider, Uber aims to create a more efficient travel experience in a post-pandemic world. 

“With travel roaring back, we’ve been innovating on ways to redesign your airport experience from beginning to end so that you’re not just getting to and from the airport, but also getting through it with less stress,” head of product for rides at Uber Jen You told Business Insider. “Our new series of products and features will help you plan for your upcoming trips and make your airport travel smoother than ever.”

Since being founded in 2009, Uber has grown into one of the world’s most valuable start-up companies. The ride share company toppled the taxi industry by providing an easier, more accessible hailing option. As its vision shifts more into the travel space, industry insiders are looking forward to what’s coming next.  

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