Hopper continues embedded FinTech push with Air Canada partnership

Air Canada plane
FinTech offerings now represent half of Hopper’s app revenue.

Air Canada and Montréal-based startup Hopper have partnered on a new feature called Cancel for any Reason. Just as it sounds, the new feature allows the airline’s customers to cancel their eligible flight up to 24 hours before scheduled departure and receive an immediate refund.

Mark Galardo, executive vice president, revenue and network planning for Air Canada, said the Hopper plan gives customers added flexibility and peace of mind when booking. “A cornerstone of Air Canada’s customer promise is to offer the best selection of flights at appealing fare levels,” he said in a statement. “We do this by providing a menu of branded fares, each with its own attributes so customers can design their travel to suit their needs.”

The Air Canada partnership was announced shortly after Expedia publicly withdrew supplying its inventory of hotel and vacation rentals to Hopper in mid-July.

The Air Canada partnership may be seen as part of Hopper’s ongoing push to create what it’s calling the first travel super app in North America. It’s also the first airline-focused instance of its successful Hopper Cloud B2B initiative, which lets travel businesses integrate FinTech products. A company spokesperson told BetaKit that Hopper’s FinTech offerings now represent approximately 50 percent of its total app revenue.

These features also haven’t been released without controversy. The Air Canada partnership was announced shortly after Expedia publicly withdrew supplying its inventory of hotel and vacation rentals to Hopper in mid-July. Expedia alleged that Hopper’s features “exploit consumer anxiety and confuse customers, leading them to purchase services they neither need nor fully understand.”

Hopper claims to be the world’s fastest-growing travel app, focused on helping customers save money and travel better. By leveraging massive amounts of data and machine learning, the company has developed several unique fintech solutions that address everything from pricing volatility to trip disruptions.

Hopper said its new products are meant to help alleviate high prices, frequent delays, and consumer anxiety over travel, especially at a time when cancelled flights, long lines at airports, and ultra-pricey car rentals are the new normal. The products include hotel insurance, a price freeze for car rentals, and trip protection.

As part of the move towards a travel super app, Hopper acquired Parisian startup Smooss in February in order to add more airline partners to its B2B offering. Smooss operates as a backend for airlines to sell tickets, in addition to travel plan disruption tools and COVID-19 health check verification.

Hopper also acquired PlacePass in 2021 for an undisclosed amount, adding its B2B tour and activity booking solution to its suite of FinTech tools, and bringing with it a partnership with Marriott International’s Marriott Bonvoy Tours.

The company’s move to a B2B embedded FinTech has enabled the travel tech firm to recover from the pandemic, during which it was reported to have laid off some 250 employees at one point.

Hopper has raised over $590 million to date. The company claims its app has been downloaded more than 100 million times, and that it is now the third-largest travel agency in the United States.

Feature image courtesy Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in Wired.com, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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