Uber launches free ride voucher program to help businesses attract and retain customers

Businesses can now take advantage of Uber Vouchers to offer the perk of free rides.

5 ways to make getting a ride easier Popular services like Lyft and Uber make finding a ride easy. Here are five ways to make the process even easier.

On Tuesday, Uber kicked off a new voucher program that businesses can use to woo customers with free rides.

Now available to businesses in any city where Uber operates, the Uber Vouchers can be used a few different ways, as described in a blog post from Ronnie Gurion, general manager and global head of Uber for Business. Companies can set up the free ride vouchers to appeal to new customers, to reward and retain existing customers, or to enhance their own customer service offerings.

SEE: 10 ways to communicate more effectively with customers and co-workers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Uber Vouchers have been in the works for the past year, during which time Uber has partnered with such companies as Westfield, TGI Fridays, Live Nation, Sprint, and the Golden State Warriors to help create and design the program. Uber has also been trying to widen the program's scope by adding other partners, such as Allstate and MGM Resorts.

Offering free rides as a perk can be of value to businesses across a range of sectors. Retail companies such as Westfield can use the vouchers to help customers get transportation to their stores, most notably during promotional events. Restaurants such as TGI Fridays can take advantage of Uber Vouchers to provide safe transportation for diners to and from their homes, especially during certain times of the day or for specific locations, the blog post noted.

"While many restaurants are already leveraging Uber Eats to reach more consumers with delivery, they now have the ability to promote dine-in experiences by removing barriers to get to their physical locations," Gurion wrote in the post.

Companies that provide shuttle or rental car services can use Uber Vouchers to supplement their own offerings with flexible transportation options, the post noted. Uber has also been working with partners in the hospitality and auto insurance sectors to tie in the vouchers to their customer service, Gurion wrote.

Uber already sells gift cards that people can buy online or through retailers. The Uber for Business division lets employees bill their Uber trips to their employers. But the Uber Vouchers program is a new approach that lets businesses directly market free rides as customer perks.

Businesses can manage their Uber Vouchers via a web-based tool through which they can assign an amount to each voucher, control the number and expiration dates of their vouchers, and specify an actual route. Customers who receive a voucher then add it to their Uber accounts and redeem it when they're ready to grab the ride. Interested businesses can visit the Uber Vouchers website and fill out a profile to request more information from Uber.

For more, check out How business travelers can book an Uber or Lyft ride through Google Assistant on TechRepublic.

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Image: Uber