Skift Take

Hopper is deploying an oft-used playbook for getting its homes' business started. But a cancel-for- any-reason feature, still in development, could add a twist.

Hopper and Expedia Group’s Vrbo are working together in a global partnership where Vrbo provides Hopper with vacation rentals, and manages the bookings and customer service, Skift has learned.

When you use the Hopper app to search for vacation rentals in San Francisco; Caguas, Puerto Rico; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Singapore, Beijing and Chengdu, China; Delhi, Rio de Janeirol; and Nairobi, Kenya, for example, you will see studios, apartments, homes and villas provided by Vrbo.

Their listings often have the following message: “The property you have selected is booked through our partner Vrbo and they will send you an email with important information including payment details and a link to an account which will enable you to manage your booking.

The host sends an email about check-in and checkout instructions, the Hopper app listings often state.

To be sure, Hopper has other partners as it tries to build a foothold in short-term rentals to supplement its flight, hotel, and car rental products.

“We source inventory from multiple sources ranging from third-parties to our own directly managed inventory where we’re currently working with professional property managers to ensure quality,” said Susan Ho, head of Hopper Homes in a statement when Skift asked about the Vrbo relationship. “This multi-sourcing strategy is key to help our customers get the best prices on their vacation rentals.”

An Expedia spokesperson confirmed that Hopper is tapping into Expedia inventory. “Hopper is an Expedia Group Rapid API partner — one of the tens of thousands of partners that we power with our lodging inventory and technology solutions,” the Expedia spokesperson said.

In perhaps a dozen random searches, Skift didn’t view any other big-name partners that were identified in Hopper listings.

In supplementing the homes that Hopper gets from Vrbo, Hopper is taking an approach similar to what — and Vrbo do. That is partner with large property management companies and contract inventory on your own, as well.

Although Skift didn’t view any evidence of it yet, Hopper is likely to blend some of the fintech features it offers for flights and homes to vacation rentals.

In February, Hopper stated that it is developing a cancel for any reason feature in vacation rentals that would enable a guest to pay an extra fee to have the ability to cancel a booking, and recoup 80 to 100 percent of their payments.

Hopper co-founder and CEO Fred Lalonde ran hotels and packages at Expedia from 2002 to 2006. He co-founded Hopper in 2007.

Vrbo was a likely candidate as a supply partner for Hopper. Vrbo has a long-time supply agreement with Tripadvisor, and Airbnb doesn’t do these sorts of supply deals.

Hopper has distribution agreements with a growing number of third parties, including CapitalOne, but so far we didn’t see any of Hopper’s homes in CapitalOne Travel.

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Tags: expedia, expedia group, fintech, future of lodging, homesharing, hopper, online travel, online travel newsletter, partnerships, vrbo

Photo credit: A Vrbo listing from 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Vrbo is one of Hopper's supply partners for vacation rentals. VRBO

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