Uber is ready to keep the party going.
The UberEvents arm of Uber for Business is moving from a beta in six cities to a national offering, just in time for the holiday party season, the company plans to announce today.
UberEvents lets party hosts pre-pay Uber rides for guests ahead of time.
Party-goers just put the code into the Uber app, and their ride is covered by the host.
During the four week beta, the ride-hailing company had already seen 500 events booked across the platform, said Max Crowley, head of Uber for Business. The smallest party was a housewarming for 20 guests, while another was a conference for 1,5000 people.
“Up until today, there’s been no way for people to buy rides for other people on the platform. It’s depressing when we tell people that. We don’t even have gift cards,” Crowley said.
Party planners or even HR departments can buy rides by filling out how many people will be going to a certain location and at what time. Uber only charges after for the number of rides taken, so if 50 per cent of your guests end up driving or taking public transit, you only pay for what you use, Crowley explained.
A heads-up for drivers
During the beta period, he’s seen everyone from beer companies reaching out to sponsor a few dollars off rides home from a music festival to HR departments buying up passes to bring recruits to the office.
Signing up events also has an extra advantage: giving the Uber drivers a heads-up and a place to be.
Normally when a large event lets out, the few Uber cars in the area are snatched up, leaving some people with a longer wait than anticipated. Public events like a baseball game are easy to predict, but the larger private events around the city are unknowns.
Since the events are registered through Uber, the ride-hailing can let drivers know in advance that 1,500 conference attendees will be wrapping up their sessions by 5 p.m.
With the official launch, Uber is making a few changes to how event-goers use the pass. Now, instead of getting an individualized code that looks like a random bunch of letters, all of the party attendees receive the same customised code, like “holidayparty” or “Superbowl.’ Much easier to remember if you happen to be a few drinks in.
The coupon code will also be restricted to a quarter-mile radius around the event to make sure that people are going to and from the event, and not just taking a free ride.
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