By Jami Gibson

I’ve done a bit of traveling over the past month, from the East Coast to the West Coast, the Gulf Coast and back to Michigan. During my time away, I exclusively used Uber to get where I needed to go in an inexpensive and timely manner – to and from the airports, events, and just to get around town.

What I appreciated the most (aside from the bottled water and snacks) is how knowledgeable most of the drivers were about the areas I was visiting. It was almost like taking a guided tour around town, getting a history lesson about the community, and finding out the inside scoop on the city’s culture and best-kept secrets for places to visit, eat, and stay.

Uber (as well as other ride-sharing) drivers may not realize it, but they are important ambassadors for their communities. Of course, not everyone riding in the back of a ride-share vehicle is from out of town or looking to relocate, but you can’t underestimate the impact of having numerous “agents” out on the town, at any given time, acting as spokespeople for your area.

It may seem far-fetched that an Uber driver could land your community’s next project, but a business owner with whom I was traveling has already begun looking for real estate based on a recommendation from a driver who had lived in the area for 30 years.

These drivers encounter all types of people on a daily basis, including adventurers looking to spend money taking in all the experiences your area has to offer, as well as executives and business owners who just may see your town as the next home for their new office/facility. What if your community could offer a free training session to these representatives, perhaps in exchange for a small gift/prize (e.g. gas card, free car wash, referrals, etc), to learn about your area, its business climate, quality of life, and differentiating factors?