Uber wants to become the “Super App” for travel

Uber has announced its ambition to integrate the sale of other mobility services such as the purchase of train and plane tickets or car rental , thus becoming a “Super App” for travellers.

Uber is still not profitable

Getting back to the heart of the matter and despite all its efforts, Uber is still not profitable . The application originally dedicated to connecting drivers and customers still announced a loss of $500 million last year and the patience of shareholders has its limits.

Uber living on commissions levied on the connection between customers and professionals, two possibilities are available to the company to improve its situation:

  • Increase commissions at the risk of attracting the ire of professionals or even clients
  • Increase the base of your income by multiplying the services

It is the second option that seems to be chosen and it is logical: Uber is not a ride booking application but a mobility one . From this moment any activity which supposes the transport of something or someone can return in its perimeter. This is also the way opened by Uber Eats.

A move all the more logical as the CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, is the former CEO of Expedia . So he knows his subject.

What is a Super App?

Uber therefore aims to become a mobility Super App, but what is a Super App? A Super App is neither more nor less than a “one stop shop” dedicated to a sector, the place where you can find all the service providers necessary to mobilize all the service providers linked to an activity.

In the case of mobility, this would mean, in fact, offering drivers, train and plane tickets, hotels, car rentals but why not also AirBnB, restaurant reservations or even the reservation of activities such as visits, museums etc

Uber didn’t invent anything

A move that is all the more logical for Uber since there is no need to rack your brains so much to reach this conclusion: others have already done it.

This is the logic followed by Grab in Asia. It is also the one followed by airlines such as Air Asia and even Singapore Airlines .

Whether the idea is to increase the revenue base or to improve the customer experience by offering an integrated ecosystem, all roads lead to Rome.

Does Uber have a chance of succeeding?

Contrary to popular belief, disrupting a market doesn’t always work, even when you’re an industry leader, even when your name is Uber.

Many players who wanted to get out of their original vertical have experienced bitter failures.

Take the example of Grab (which incidentally took over the loss-making activities of Uber in Asia): if the “one stop shop” side of mobility worked, the sale of hotel services was a failure.

Remember Amazon who wanted to get into the sale of hotel nights . Failure and operation abandoned after one year.

Only Air Asia seems to be doing well, but in a very specific market, which is the Asian market . Nothing says that the same approach can be replicated in North America or Europe.

Let’s add that with regard to the train, surely the most promising field for Uber in any case in Europe, it is a sector which will involve negotiations country by country, which is far from being won. And all the more so since in Europe a player like Trainline already has a head start.


Uber is looking for sources of revenue and wants to increase the number of mobility services offered. But nothing says that this headlong rush will be crowned with success. We will watch with interest what will happen in the United Kingdom, the first country visibly ready to deploy this strategy.

Image: Uber by Proxima Studio via Shutterstock

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.

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