Hopper’s cancellation policy could disrupt short-term rentals

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from the hopper A plan still in the making to offer a cancel-for-any-reason feature for vacation rental bookings could ripple throughout the industry — if Hopper doesn’t go broke trying it.

With the product, which the company said it plans to introduce “in the coming months”, Hopper would allow customers to pay a fee – the amount of which was not specified and would fluctuate – and then cancel their reservations. vacation rental for any reason, and receive an 80% to 100% refund from Hopper, a spokeswoman said.

The host would also be huge beneficiaries.

“Hopper pays the cost of the stay to the host in full, as if the guest had not canceled,” the spokeswoman said. “Hopper assumes the financial risk with all his fintech products.

Of course, terms and conditions would be of utmost importance with this feature. Could guests cancel because a new variant of Covid was spreading like wildfire in California? Would the cancellation window be unlimited? Can the customer cancel on the morning of check-in?

“At this point, we don’t yet know the exact cancellation window, but we’ll strive to be as flexible as possible,” Hopper’s spokeswoman said. “We will run tests to see what level of flexibility customers are looking for and adjust our offerings accordingly. Ultimately, our cancellation plan will be more relevant when hosts have more restrictive 30-60 day policies. And as I mentioned, the host won’t take the risk if the guest cancels.

Why would a cancellation for any reason policy be so disruptive?

Hopper, who claims to now have access to more than 2 million vacation rental properties, contracted by property managers and likely aggregators, could attract a tsunami of guest listings if they knew Hopper would refund reservations in full. when customers would bail out.

Keep in mind that at the start of the pandemic, Airbnb refunded guests for canceled reservations and failed to compensate hosts, leaving countless hosts penniless and dropping out to pay mortgages, which outraged many, forced hosts out of business, and alienated a large number of hosts. many of them from the company. Expedia Vrbo had a more impartial policy and then sought to hire Airbnb Super Hosts who self-deprecated from the company.

Considering today’s tumultuous travel, work and living environments, where countries are locked down, new travel requirements emerge every day and plans need to change, vacation rental customers might find this feature a challenge. ‘cancellation for any reason’ very appealing, depending on Hopper’s fee amount and fine print.

The multi-billion dollar question is whether Hopper can make money on this proposal when it hedges and calculates the fees it would charge against the risk of cancellation. Or would Hopper take a bullet, accept that the feature is a waste of money to some degree in exchange for a tremendous boost to his short-term rental business?

Hopper would also likely distribute this feature, along with an expected price prediction for vacation rentals, to its growing list of distribution partners, including Capital One, MakeMy Trip, Trip.com Group and Kayak.

Speaking at the Skift Global Forum in September, Hopper CEO Fred Lalonde Noted about the company’s price freeze product for flights, which it lost tons of money at first, but bragged about eventually eliminating risk to Hopper’s advantage.

“When we threw that in the air, we lost huge amounts first,” Lalonde said. “It was ridiculous the amount of money we were wasting on this, and the reason we can do this is the same reason people were throwing stones at me for aggregating the data is that we understand future prices better than anyone else, so we can price risk in a way no one else can.

If Hopper can operate an undo for any reason feature in short-term rentals, it would certainly be disruptive and could attract a slew of copycats. To be clear, Airbnb, Vrbo and Booking.com executives aren’t flinching at Hopper’s rhetoric about a feature that’s still in the planning stage.

But the leaders of the short-term rental platform would likely make changes if they saw Hopper, which has a fledgling business in the industry, earn the allegiances of hosts and guests with this previously unheard of cancellation feature.

App-Only Hopper to Get Booking Site

Did we bury the lede? During this time, a Well Funded Hopper seems to be on a hiring spree based on his posted job openings, in tech, marketing and homes, for example.

Until now, Hopper has only used apps, but is hiring software engineers “to create a web-based platform that mirrors the Hopper App experience.”

As before, only for application HotelTonightHopper is also set to offer desktop reservations.

Why leave all that money on the table?

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