What is Hopper and How Does it Work for Vacation Rentals?

What is Hopper and How Does it Work for Vacation Rentals?

Top 5 things vacation rental hosts and property managers need to know about Hopper Homes

  1. Bookings can only be made on the Hopper app.
  2. Hosts are not charged a commission (or guests a fee). Instead, Hopper asks for a discounted net rate and adds a dynamic markup. Its prices are low for guests and cheaper for hosts than other OTAs.
  3. It does not hide guest details from hosts.
  4. According to Hopper, 50% of its users don’t book on other OTAs.
  5. Gen Z and Gen Y make up 70% of its customer base. It also attracts older and more affluent users through strategic partnerships.

What is Hopper?

Hopper is an accredited online travel agency (OTA) that brings together four verticals - flights, hotels, vacation rentals, and car rentals - into one easy-to-use booking platform. The fast-growing, app-first OTA has gained plenty of buzz for being a one-stop-shop for travelers that not only helps them save on travel bookings by being notified of the best prices available at any given time but also provides fin tech products like price guarantees and rewards. And unlike larger competitors like Airbnb, Hopper has built a reputation for providing good customer support.

Hopper is said to have helped over 75 million travelers. According to Apptopia, it is the most downloaded OTA app in the US and third in the world. It is also the fourth most downloaded travel app in the US, behind Uber, Google Maps, and Lyft. Having raised over $600 million of private capital and backed by some of the largest institutional investors like Goldman Sachs, Hopper looks well on its way to hopping success.

Based in Montreal, Canada, Hopper was founded by CEO Frederic Lalonde and Joost Ouwerkerk, both of whom previously worked at Expedia.

How does Hopper Work?

Hopper aims to be a modern, full-service travel agency that alleviates the pain points of booking your travel itinerary.

It pulls price data – 30 billion price points in real time every day - on air tickets, hotel rooms, vacation rentals, and car rentals from a variety of online sources so it can provide the lowest price.

It uses historical data, comparing the current available price to its previous prices in order to make predictions on how likely the price will decrease or increase in the future. It also provides suggestions on when the best time to book for the best price will be and claims an accuracy of 95% for its algorithms up to one year in advance. Users can track prices of what they are interested in and Hopper will notify them soon as the price changes.

While Hopper does operate a website where deals are visible, full functionality is reserved for the app alone. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices. Hopper allows users to search for prices but they must create an account to make a booking. Creating a profile includes verifying your number and ‘choosing your bunny’ avatar.

What is Hopper and How Does it Work for Vacation Rentals?

What are the Features of Hopper?

Hopper sells bookings across four travel categories, i.e. flights, hotels, car rentals, and vacation rentals, offering customers the best deals to be found online.

1. Hopper Flights

Hopper partners with over 200 airline carriers, monitoring prices in real-time to alert users on the best time to book for the best deal. Hopper Flights is backed by 63 trillion price points and claims to save users an average of $65 per flight booking.

2. Hopper Hotels

Hopper partners with top hotels to provide exclusive deals from over 2 million properties worldwide, saving users an average of $61 per night. Rates are monitored 24/7 and users are notified when it’s the best time to book.

3. Hopper Rental Cars

Hopper Rental Cars features 180 different retail brands from across the world. It claims its rental car rates are 20-25% cheaper and save users an average of $40 per rental.

4. Hopper Homes

Featuring 2.5 million homes located around the world and managed by individual hosts as well as professional property managers, Hopper Homes promises lower prices in even the most demanding markets and an exclusive cash back program.

What are Hopper’s Products?

Carrot Cash Rewards

Each time a user makes a booking or refers friends to Hopper, they earn rewards of 5% back on hotels, 3% back on cars, and 1% back on flights.

Price Prediction

Perhaps Hopper’s biggest draw, Price Prediction is the Hopper feature that predicts prices with 95% accuracy, saving users an average of $65 per trip. When a person searches for their trip, Hopper analyzes trillions of price points to provide the cheapest prices as well as provide predictions on prices in the future. If it doesn’t tell you to Book Now, you can choose to Watch the Trip instead and Hopper will notify you when a great deal is available or if prices are starting to climb.

Price Freeze

By choosing Price Freeze and paying a service fee, users can freeze a price for a specific period of time. According to Hopper, it saves travelers an average of $45 per booking.

What is Hopper and How Does it Work for Vacation Rentals?

Cancel for Any Reason

By adding Cancel for Any Reason when making a booking, users can literally cancel their booking sans fees for any reason up until departure. According to Hopper, it saves travelers an average of $214 per use.

Change for Any Reason

By choosing Change for Any Reason on booking, travelers can change dates, airlines, destination, or trip type, for any reason, up until departure. According to Hopper, it saves users an average of $252 per use.

Leave for Any Reason

By adding Leave for Any Reason, travelers can leave the hotel they booked at or after check-in and book a new one for free.

Flight Disruption Guarantee

Users who choose Flight Disruption Guarantee can instantly rebook a flight or receive an instant refund if their flight is delayed or canceled or they missed a connection. According to Hopper, it saves travelers an average of $508.

VIP Support

Travelers who add VIP Support when booking are provided priority service including instant access to expert agents at any time.

What is Hopper Cloud?

Hopper Cloud is its B2B initiative. It is how the company makes its solutions, products, and infrastructure available to businesses such as Amadeus, Kayak, MakeMyTrip, and Trip.com. It also allows other brands to sell their own travel products and content to its customers as white-label offerings.

How does Hopper work for Vacation Rentals?

Hopper Homes, its category for vacation rentals, is the latest addition to its portfolio. It launched in January 2022 with over 2 million properties around the world, a portfolio that has continued to grow since.

To grow its supply fast Hopper directly engaged with large property managers to supply properties. These include but are not limited to Evolve, VTrips, FrontDesk, RedAwning, SkyRun, Kasa, Casago, and Casiola. Hopper also has a partnership with Vrbo, where it taps into Vrbo’s inventory while allowing Vrbo to manage the booking.

What is Hopper and How does it work for Vacation Rentals?

Here are the top things property managers and vacation rental hosts need to know about Hopper Homes:

  • Guests can search properties using filters like location, number of bedrooms, amenities, and even price.

  • Hopper does not charge a commission from hosts or a service fee from guests. Instead, it gets a discounted net rate from each property and adds a markup to it that is dynamic to ensure that the price is the lowest available while also maximizing its own revenue. This is cheaper for hosts than the 14-17% fees charged by OTAs like Airbnb and Booking.com. It is also cheaper for travelers.

  • In August 2022, Hopper revealed the average booking value on Hopper Homes as:

ADR - $268 Average order value - $946 Average length of stay - 3.5 nights

  • In comparison, according to Airbnb’s Q2 2022 results, ADR grew to $164.

  • Hopper assumes the cancellation policy being used by the host.

  • Hopper offers instant booking capability.

  • Hopper does not hide guest details from hosts like Airbnb and Booking.com do.

  • Property managers can get their rental agreements signed by guests through Hopper itself. Vrbo too offers this feature but Airbnb and Booking.com do not.

  • As Hopper continues to collect more and more data coming through Hopper Homes and analyzes it to discern patterns in booking, cancellation, etc, it will be able to offer its much-loved fin-tech products like Price Prediction for Homes as well.

  • Hopper offers its Carrot Cash Rewards for Hopper Homes bookings too.

  • Hopper claims it has more engaged users than other OTAs. Its app has more monthly active users than any other travel app.

  • According to Hopper, its users are more loyal: 50% of Hopper users do not book on other OTAs.

  • While many OTAs rely on Google Adwords to reel in customers, Hopper’s strategy is based on social media such as TikTok.

  • With its app-first approach, Hopper is known as a Gen Z focused product. And according to Hopper data, the app is primarily used by Gen Z and Millennial females. Nearly 70% of its bookings are from users below 35 years of age.

  • Hopper recently announced a partnership with Capital One with a separate portal where Capital One customers, who are older and more affluent, can access Hopper Homes.

  • To list on Hopper Homes, property managers must fill out a short form after which Hopper will get back to them.

Conclusion

Hopper is more than an exciting platform that generates a lot of buzz. Its solutions, products, and service also make it worthy of that buzz.

A disruptor of a market that originated as a disruptor itself, Hopper is combining a fun sensibility, an attractive business model, and a focus on loyalty to provide a striking platform. Despite its reputation for being a Gen Z focused platform and its large customer base of those under 35 years old, it is also going after older and more affluent users through strategic partnerships like that with Capital One, combining old and new customer acquisition strategies. There is even speculation that Hopper will eventually allow bookings on its website as well though this remains to be seen.

Interestingly, younger U.S. travelers prefer short term rentals over hotels, with more than 4 in 10 short term rental travelers being under 35. According to Hopper, 40% of its customers have indicated they prefer homes over hotels while 24% have no preference between the two. This makes Hopper Homes even more attractive to hosts, providing an engaged and enthusiastic base with potential to keep returning. Thus Hopper and Hostaway’s partnership provides the PMS’ customers access to the award-winning platform while Hostaway provides Hopper with access to a significant market share of short term rentals across North America.

Hopper’s acquisition of PlacePass, one of the largest activity aggregators in the world, saw it make available its over 300,000 experiences in over 800 global destinations through Hopper Cloud. Incidentally, this makes Hopper the engine that powers the Marriott Bonvoy Tours and Activities platform. However, this also provides Hopper a means through which to add experiences as a fifth vertical in the future, competing with Airbnb Experiences, which revealed a gross booking value of $15.6 billion in Q3 2022.

Ultimately its core strengths are its price algorithms which have thus far lived up to their promise, providing the lowest prices, predicting prices into the future, and alleviating the frustrating pain points of planning and booking travel online and fin-tech products which provide peace of mind and ease of use while catering to the different scenarios encountered with travel. Traditional OTA products like travel insurance for guests are more afterthought in comparison to Hopper’s fin tech suite. In fact, about 70% of Hopper’s revenue comes from these ancillary products than its traditional travel verticals.

While Airbnb pivots to focus on private rooms again while showing a total fee in an attempt to curb its reputation for high prices, Hopper Homes’ model is refreshing for both hosts and guests, particularly the younger demographics who may age into their loyalty for the platform.

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