Hopper announced on Tuesday the acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, of the American tourism activity platform PlacePass.
At the same time, the Montreal-based company inherits the activities and experiences component offered by the hotel giant Marriott to travelers who are members of its Bonvoy loyalty program.
The PlacePass platform offers what the tourism industry calls some 300,000 “experiences,” recreational tourism activities offered to travelers in more than 800 locations around the world.
For Hopper, this is the first foray into this sector related to its own reservation services and purchase of cheap flights and accommodation. Everything will be integrated into Hopper’s application, downloaded more than 70 million times to date.
At the same time, the forty or so PlacePass employees will be integrated into Hopper. In a context where specialized workers are scarce, a transaction that allows the acquisition of both an already profitable technology and its creators is a particularly interesting double blow, says Frédéric Lalonde, the founder and CEO of Hopper.
His company now has 1,500 employees spread over all continents “except Antarctica,” the Montreal businessman likes to repeat. “It’s part of our philosophy to increase our expertise. This is how we have launched many of our products in the past.
The acquisition of PlacePass and its services offered to the Marriott group allows us to pursue our development plan. It is also an opportunity for us to extend our financial services to other categories of products in the travel sector beyond airline tickets, ”he said in an interview with To have to.
One of the keys to Hopper’s success is to offer flight cancellation insurance and to allow the price of a ticket to be “frozen” while it is booked, in exchange for a small sum of money. Money – the closer the departure date, the more expensive tickets are usually.
Such services may also apply in the near future to experiences sold on PlacePass.
US site Expedia and its Dutch rival Booking.com dominate third-party online airline ticket sales, a market valued at over US $ 100 billion annually. Hopper currently represents less than 5% of the sector. Its diversification in the reservation of hotel rooms and other types of accommodation, in addition to the addition of other additional tourist offers, allows it to grow at a rate greater than that of its sector of activity.
The white label resale of its services, including its financial services, under the Hopper Cloud brand adds a business-to-business (B2B) dimension to its offer which further improves its turnover. Other sites – including its rivals – can thus offer their own clients the services of Hopper in make-up to match the colors of their own brand.
This position in both the consumer market and the business-to-business market should smile on Hopper as international flights begin to take off again globally. Leisure travel resumed several weeks ago in the United States, and other countries, including Canada, are following suit.
Hopper, who raised 170 million US dollars earlier this summer and who claims not to lose money on its products, is keeping a tight grip on new acquisitions.
“We will continue to look for teams and companies that have a strong development culture,” says Frédéric Lalonde.
By the time this recent funding round was completed, Hopper had reached a value of US $ 3.5 billion. Its founder was thinking at that time of initiating steps that would eventually allow him to list his company on the stock market.
The growth in sales and the anticipated upturn in the international flight market make this project less urgent. “We have doubled our income since we were assigned this value. Let’s say that we still plan to go public, but it is currently too early to set a date, ”summarizes Frédéric Lalonde.
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Strategic acquisition in the United States for Montreal-based Hopper