If there’s a company in the transportation space which we covered extensively on Vulcan Post, it would definitely be Uber.
Uber is interesting, it is changing the way we travel around.
Unfamiliar with Uber?
Before Uber launched its service, the only way for people to get around is through the public transport (cab) or by driving. If you do not own a car and want to travel by cab, you have to either flag down a cab or call the taxi booking number up.
Uber changed that: You can now travel in style.
Founded in 2009 in the United States, Uber provides on demand private driver to anyone. Need a private driver now? Simply launch the Uber app, select your pick up location, and a classy luxurious car will be on its way to pick you up. You can also track where the driver is so that you are kept in the loop on his location.
Since launching in Singapore, Uber has recently launched its service in Bangkok, Thailand. Folks in Bangkok are now able to enjoy the convenience of Uber. Bangkok Uber drivers have a flag-down rate of 75 baht, with the total charge based on the distance and duration of the journey as in regular meter cabs. This is almost double the normal fare of regular meter cabs in Bangkok.
Vulcan Post spoke to Mike Brown, Uber’s Regional General Manager in Asia, whom was previously from Twitter, on Uber Bangkok.
1. Bangkok, the number one international destination in the world, is obviously a very important and strategic city for Uber in its vision to be a one stop chauffeur service especially for travellers around the region. What delayed the launch of Bangkok since Uber was available earlier in other parts of Asia?
Uber began expanding into Asia one year ago. We pride ourselves on running cities with truly local teams that come from their city and really know and love their city. We have been actively recruiting in Bangkok and have only in the past several months recruited superstar local talent to run our business in Thailand.
Now that we have the talent in place, we’re very focused on delivering an amazing Uber experience to riders in Bangkok and across Thailand. Uber experience is one that emphasizes: Luxury, Safety, Reliability and Value.
2. There are a few taxi sharing apps in Bangkok, does Uber see them as a competitor?
A rider will never confuse an Uber experience with a taxi. We don’t focus on apps that make calling a taxi more convenient. When Thai people request an Uber, they will instantly know the difference between our premium, clean and luxurious cars driven by Uber drivers who are truly professional and focus on safety and service.
We make people feel great about arriving or departing from an event or a special occasion in a beautiful car. In short, Uber is something very new and much better than what has existed before.
3. Bangkok has also been notorious for its traffic. Is this going to be a major problem for Uber Bangkok?
When you’re stuck in traffic, would you rather be honking horns and yelling at fellow drivers; sitting in the back of a dirty and bumpy taxi breathing in fumes; or enjoying the quiet and smooth ride while you seize the occasion to surf the Internet, conduct a business meeting or spend quality time with a friend?
Uber was launched to support this latter use case. For that reason, Uber is extremely well-suited to traffic.
4. What is the marketing strategy for Uber in Bangkok? Is it through partnerships with clubs, events and influencer’s endorsement? Anything that Uber is doing differently in Bangkok?
Uber tailors its marketing approach to the needs and unique cultural attributes of the local market.
We hire local people because they love their city, and Uber becomes a platform for celebrating all the wonderful things about a city. For example, for Bangkok’s Songkran festival in Thailand, the Uber team launched UberSplash, a fun on-demand event where anyone can request an Uber truck to pick up a rider and his/her friends.
After clicking a button in the Uber mobile app, the rider and his/her friends hop into the back of a truck and drive around Bangkok squirting people with water guns and enjoying cold beverages while celebrating the great festival of Songkran.