Travel company Hopper raises $175M amid COVID downswing and travel rise

Hopper, a travel technology company that incorporates fintech tools into its services, announced raising a $175 million Series G led by GPI Capital, according to a press release.

The company says it will use the funding to accelerate growth through hiring 300 customer support staff. Hopper has already increased its customer support team by 200% and rolled out a new automated support system that it says resolves 60% of incoming customer service requests instantly.

The round included participation from Glade Brook Capital, WestCap, Goldman Sachs Growth and Accomplice. It brings the company’s total funding to almost $600 million. The Series G comes only five months after Hopper raised a $170 million Series F led by Capital One in March.

Founded in 2007, the company’s revenue is on track to grow 330% since last year, with vaccination campaigns worldwide fueling travel and use of Hopper’s products.

To put it simply, Hopper has already doubled its revenue from its last pre-pandemic quarter, with more growth expected. This is because, despite the Delta variant raising concerns in North America and abroad, the company offers flexibility in its services and financial technology tools.

“Currently, we have not seen an incremental impact of the Delta variant on Hopper’s domestic bookings. In recent weeks, we have seen higher domestic bookings and lower international bookings on Hopper, as travelers look to stay closer to home. Since Hopper’s customer base is predominantly younger, leisure travelers and the majority of our bookings have been domestic throughout the pandemic, our domestic bookings still remain stable,” Hopper CEO and co-founder Fred Lalonde told TechCrunch.

While Hopper uses predictive analytics to make travel recommendations, its fintech services are the key element that is expected to help it continue to grow at an impressive speed. These tools include Cancel for Any Reason, which offers trip protection, and Rebooking Guarantee, which gives travelers to ability to change their plans at a moment’s notice. Hopper’s fintech segment already represents 50% of the company’s revenue, according to Skift.

The company is also launching a booking portal for Capital One cardholders called Capital One Travel, which is planned to debut later this year. It is also working with Amadeus to roll out additional fintech products to any travel provider such as airlines and online travel agencies. The tools are expected to include protection against pricing fluctuations, no hassle rebooking up to the day of a trip and cross-airline rebooking.

This travel-sector wide technology, known as the Hopper Cloud, is huge for travelers and has impressive upside if it achieves widespread adoption in the industry, according to Lalonde.

“If all travel distribution channels offered our fintech, it could increase the total consumer spend for the sector by $200 billion annually,” Lalonde told Skift.

The company says it also plans to use the funding to scale travel, data science and engineering teams, with the purpose of introducing new product offerings and fueling international expansion. Expansion goals include opening up home rentals and expanding into European and Asian markets.

In other recent fintech news, Plaid settled a $58 million lawsuit over alleged consumer data sharing. Chime also raised a $750 million funding round to boost its valuation to $25 billion.

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