This deal with MakeMyTrip is likely to be the first among several tech agreements that Hopper will make with rival online travel agencies. This potentially could become a big side of Hopper's overall operation.
MakeMyTrip already has a feature for customers that enables them to lock an airfare at a certain price for a fee, and then book it later. The new Hopper partnership, which has not yet been implemented, will enable MakeMyTrip to use artificial intelligence from Hopper to dynamically price how much flyers would have to pay to lock a fare for up to seven days.
If the partnership works as pitched, it would enable MakeMyTrip to convince consumers to book more flights, and the Indian online travel company could get smarter about how much to charge customers to freeze airfares. Under the terms of the partnership, Hopper — and not MakeMyTrip — takes the risk if the airfare rises greater than the fee the customer paid to freeze the fare.
Hopper claims to generate 70 percent of its revenue these days from these types of ancillary services or financial products — which means they account for a much higher percentage of Hopper’s revenue than selling flights or hotels themselves.
“Flexibility is the future of travel – it is how we want to build back demand and put consumer confidence back in booking travel freely, just as they did before the pandemic,” said Rajesh Magow, MakeMyTrip cofounder and Group CEO in a statement. “As we double down in our efforts to enrich the flight booking experience on MakeMyTrip platform, we are partnering with Hopper to make use of its innovative technology and pass on the benefits of smart and prudent flight booking to travelers. We are thrilled to extend valuable benefits and bring home best global practices of predictive pricing through Hopper’s data-driven capabilities and AI-rich airfare forecasting tools for our customers.”
Hopper, which is primarily for consumers, is getting deeper into the business-to-business side of its operations, having recently concluded a distribution agreement with Amadeus and another pact to power a travel portal for credit card company Capital One.
But Hopper risks empowering competitors with these tech deals because, like MakeMyTrip, Hopper is an online travel agency, and competes with these partners, in theory, at least.
In an interview at Skift Global Forum in September, Hopper co-founder and CEO Frederic Lalonde said:
“But the fundamental reason that we’re doing the B2B (business-to-business) thing is because we obsess about lowering the cost of travel to our customers, and I will use the ugly word. We’re here to steal share from Expedia and Booking all day.”
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Photo credit: Hopper CEO Frederic Lalonde (right) talks with Skift Executive Editor Dennis Schaal at Skift Global Forum in New York City on Sept. 23, 2021. India's MakeMyTrip made a technology deal with Canada-based Hopper. Skift