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Uber-flirt: hotel groups are hooking up

Up against taxi businesses in several countries, Uber is being courted by some hotel groups that want to partner with the application that puts users in touch with drivers to benefit from the growth of their networks.

Created in 2009, Uber has seduced millions around the world. The Californian company, estimated at close to 50 million dollars, makes its application for connecting clients and drivers available in more than 250 cities worldwide, including San Francisco, New York, Paris, London, Brasilia, Bogotá, Cairo, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, Bombay, Beijing and Sydney. Aware of the international success of service, hoteliers are trying to hook up with Uber and enjoy a piece of the cake.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation was the first hotel group to recognize the application's potential and the opportunities it could offer. It signed a partnership to link its mobile app to Uber's. Hyatt hotel clients may thus contact the private car service directly from the group's application through the "My Reservations" section to find, choose and reserve a car and driver before being directed to the Uber interface. This feature is available in a hundred or so cities where Uber and Hyatt co-exist.

Next, Starwood Hotels & Resorts gave it a try with a chauffeur service, focusing on customer loyalty. The two companies worked together to allow members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program, which uses the Uber application, to earn points with each trip using the service. The offer is valid on all markets where Uber is present, meaning several destinations in the United States, China, Brazil and Europe. In this way the hotel group hopes to inspire new generations of clients to join its loyalty program.

More recently, Hilton Worldwide began to woo the Californian firm. The hotel group partnered with the private car platform to offer extended digital features with a goal to simplify and rationalize the customer experience. Customers may set "Ride reminders" as well as automatic notifications to order rides to and from their hotel. Hilton Worldwide is taking its partnership with Uber even further and has decided to take advantage of the destinations most visited by the application's users to provide members of the Hilton HHonors loyalty program with local information. This service should be available at the end of September.

With Uber, the sharing economy finally appears to be finding a place in the hotel industry.

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