Hopper's leave-for-any-reason hotel offering would seemingly be attractive to many guests, but can also be a headache for hotels and open to abuse.
Travel booking app Hopper is expanding its assortment of “fintech” products, including one that lets customers pay a fee to leave a hotel after check-in for any reason, such as if the promised waterfront view didn’t materialize or when the bed sheets are dirty.
Under these scenarios, guests can book a similar hotel and Hopper would pay 100 percent of the rebooking costs, the company said. The guest doesn’t have to leave immediately after check-in but can depart later in the stay if things go wrong, Hopper stated.
Although the fees would vary, a Hopper spokesperson said the average fee to secure the leave for any reason hotel guarantee is $30.
So does Hopper pay both the hotel that the guest left while applying the room rate the guest paid to the new hotel?
“Hopper takes care of any fee due to the hotel,” the Hopper spokesperson said. “As with all our fintech products, we price the risk that a user will exercise the plan they are buying.”
The bet is that that Hopper would make more money on the fees than on compensating the originally booked hotel.
In announcing the new product offerings, Hopper stated that 60 percent of its app customers book a fintech product such as a price freeze on airfares or hotel rates when making a booking, and previous purchasers of these products are 2.5 to 7 times more likely to buy another one.
Hopper stated that it makes about 50 percent of its revenue on these fintech products, although critics say they are actually merely insurance products, and that calling them fintech is just marketing buzz.
In addition to launching the leave for any reason hotel offering, Hopper expanded its cancel for any reason product from flights into hotels, and spread its flight and hotel price freeze product into car rentals. The Hopper spokesperson said the average fee for freezing the price of a car rental is $30.
A Hopper spokesperson said its new and expanded fintech products would be available to its distribution partners — the company calls them Hopper Cloud partners — “in the coming months.” Partners include Capital One, Kayak, Marriott, Amadeus, Trip.com, and MakeMyTrip.
The pledge to leave a hotel for any reason isn’t entirely new. In 2005, Travelocity launched a Customer Championship program that pledged to make things right for guests if the hotel they booked wasn’t as advertised. Unlike with Hopper, there was no fee involved for Travelocity to find the customer a comparable stay — but the promise wasn’t seemingly as ironclad as Hopper’s pledge.
In addition to its new assortment of price freeze and leave for any reason products, Hopper has recently expanded into vacation rentals around the world, and taps Vrbo for some of its homes inventory. Hopper also has partnerships with property management companies, and contracts directly with some vacation rental owners.
A Hopper spokesperson said the company is focusing on building its roster of homes, and has no timetable yet on distributing them to its distribution partners.
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Photo credit: Hopper lets guest pay a fee to leave a hotel after check-in for any reason. rh2010 / Adobe