Uber's New Patent Hints at Travel Agent Services

Uber might want to book travel and create mobile itineraries By: Mindy Poder
Uber might have plans to become an online travel agency. // © 2016 iStock; Uber
Uber might have plans to become an online travel agency. // © 2016 iStock; Uber

The Details

Uber, the app that brings cars to riders on demand, has just been granted a patent that shows the company’s interest in becoming a travel agent (of sorts). The service — labeled “Uber Travel” in the patent’s images — might be able to conduct flight searches, book flights, connect to hotels and home-sharing companies and maintain an itinerary for the user. Flight delays and landings would be updated in real time, as the main goal is to help the user predict the exact time to request an Uber car.

Why It Matters:
While we don’t know what will come of this patent, it’s worth noting that Uber has been successful at upending transportation due to its ability to create and deliver an intuitive service that makes lives easier. Agents should start thinking about how they could work in tandem with such a service. As tech gets smarter, sharpen your ability to offer insider experience and priceless tips and connections. Even an all-purpose app won’t be able to do that.

Fast Facts:
- The patent states interest in “providing recommended itineraries for a trip of a user. A system, such as a reservation system…can communicate with a plurality of airline systems, a plurality of lodging systems, a plurality of intermediary systems, and/or an on-demand transport arrangement system to provide one or more recommended itineraries for a trip of a user based on a set of user-specific initial travel information.”

- The patent also states that this app can be used by businesses for employees planning business travel.

What They Are Saying:
“A system and method are provided which obtain a travel itinerary for a user, the itinerary identifying a trip, including a scheduled flight to a destination,” reads the abstract for Uber’s patent. “A scheduled flight is monitored to detect when the scheduled flight arrives at the destination. Upon the scheduled flight arriving at an airport of the destination, one or more notifications are sent to a mobile computing device of the user. Information can be provided with the notifications for an on-demand ground transportation service. The information may include a location at the airport where the user can be picked up in connection with receiving the on-demand transportation service, and a timing indicator to indicate when the user should make a request to receive the on-demand transportation service based on a real-time determination of a number of available service providers in a vicinity of the airport.”