Should I list my vacation rental on Hopper Homes?

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Should I list my vacation rental on Hopper Homes? Transcript


Hey everyone, thanks for joining me on another episode of Vacation and Rentals with John. I’m John and I’m so excited to discuss Hopper Homes today. This is just my honest review of using the platform as both a guest and trying to get listed there. Hopefully this information is helpful in your decision making process because yes, it is an O t A just like vrbo, just like Airbnb, but it does have some unique distinctions that you need to be aware of if you’re choosing to explore listing there. So you may be wondering what the heck is Hopper? Well, hopper is a mobile app where users can search for and book hotels and flights. And Hopper Homes is the newest travel category. Now, they have been growing at a very fast clip. They’re heavily in demand. They have a 70 million user base on their booking platform, and they’re rapidly adding over 2 million users every single month on their mobile only travel app.


My issue is, when I was trying to look at this app, and I’m sure you’re going to do after listening to this podcast if you have the time, is when you go and look for Hopper Homes, it makes you download the application. So it is really a travel app. You can’t search through desktop at this time, which I do not like, but that’s how it’s set up at this moment and we just have to bear with it for the time being. If we’re going to book there and if we’re going to list here, now, what’s good about it as a guest is Hopper Homes. You get some really cheap deals on vacation rentals and they have so many guarantees. So if you’re booking as a guest and you’re just wanting to travel, I’m not sponsored by them. This is just completely from my own user experience.


The good thing about it is you get free cancellation. So they always say this, but they actually give free cancellation up to a certain date, and as a whole, they offer cheaper rates in Airbnb. I’m not sure if this is great as an owner though, but for example, I searched for my own market in Kissimmee, Florida by Disney. And for example, a nine bedroom, five bathroom decked out home in Story Lake Resort was $233 per night. And you can also get a four bedroom town home with a pool for $78. That’s super cheap. If I was the owner, I would not be happy about those rates, but as a traveler, you know, those rates are something to be desired. Now they have this hopper promise. They’re saying, all homes come with free protection from unexpected cancellations, check in issues, inaccurate property descriptions. They say they’ll actually find you a better home or refund you.


Airbnb does this too, but same if you can’t check in. If you show up in the middle of the night and you can’t check in and the host is not helping, they’re very eager to refund guests. They even have an example saying, if the AC stops working and the host can’t fix it, they’ll refund you. So that I don’t like how refund eager they seem in their promises to guests because on the host end of it, it seems like any little thing like a cleanliness issue or if you have an issue with maintenance in the unit, they’re going to refund the guests. So on top of it being cheaper and more affordable, this refunding, you know, as a, as an owner never looks good. But that’s something that they’re promising guests. So it’s something you need to be aware of if you’re going to list on the platform or explore doing.


So. Now, how does their commission work? What’s the service fee for this? Well, hosts are not charged commission or guess the fee. That’s what they say. But instead, hopper asks for a discounted net rate and then they add on top of that a dynamic markup. So it’s prices are low for guests and cheaper for hosts than other OTAs. That’s what they’re saying. So how this discounted net rate is supposed to work is, say the rate on your direct site is $90, you’re gonna send a net rate to hopper, $80, $85, they’re gonna mark it up to a hundred dollars and they’re gonna make the difference. So that’s their net rate increase so that they can make money. But this is a key difference from just putting your rates in Airbnb and then Airbnb taking a percent off the top. They’re actually going to mark up a discounted net rate that you send them.


And they’re saying that this is cheaper for property managers. So instead of giving 13 to 70% to an O T A, you’re going to discount your price for five to 10% and that’s how they’re gonna get people to book it. And it’s also cheaper for guests that are traveling as well. But what they want from you is give them a rate and they will mark it up as they see fit. So the price you see on Hopper app may be very different from the net, what they’re calling a discounted net rate that you’re giving them. But that’s just how their algorithm works and that’s how they roll. So it’s something you need to be aware of. You’re not gonna have complete control over the pricing that guests see when they’re booking on Hopper homes. It does not hide guest details from us hosts. So as Airbnb gives a blurred out email address, same with, this is something that Hopper does not do.


They actually give the email information. So if you’re collecting emails as long as you’re going by their terms and conditions, I can see how it’s a good thing that they’re not blocking completely the communication a host is having with their guest. So that is a good thing. According to Hopper, 50% of its users don’t book on other OTAs and they actually have a very loyal guest base. So that is a good thing because we’re tapping into guests that wouldn’t travel anywhere else. And that’s not bad. They’re saying Gen Z and Gen Y make up 70% of its customer base, and it also attracts older and more affluent users through their strategic partnerships. So how much is actually is true? I’m going off statistics that the company is reporting, so we have to just take their word for it, but I’m actually curious as more owners move to list on Hopper Homes if that number’s actually accurate.


So something that we need to stay tuned and see, but it’s a good thing that they have a dedicated demographic that they’re marketing to because it definitely will show in their marketing results and get more searches for, you know, for us and people looking for a home. So that’s a good thing. So guests can search properties using filters like location, number of bedrooms, amenities, and even price. It’s very similar to what we already know from Airbnb and vrbo. So here’s actually a statistic I dug up from last August of 2022. Last summer. They revealed their average daily rate was $268 on Hopper homes. The average total order value is $946 and the average length of stay three and a half nights. So these guests are booking for the weekend, they’re booking at an average daily rate, 2 68 and 3.5 nights. You get the math on that.


 This is very similar to what I see on Airbnb. So this is another option we can deploy in our marketing mix. I just want to investigate further on the discounted net rate that we’re giving them and how much they’re marketing this rate up. Because if, if their motive is to incentivize revenue across their platform and maximize their profits similar to Airbnb, they’re obviously going to incentivize people to book at extremely low rates because that increases their turnover, increases their commissions. So if when we give all the power to them, the markup rates and we let them run their own algorithm, I don’t see how it’s a hundred percent going to be beneficial to us as owners and hosts. You know, I say we give it a shot because it’s another platform to add to our marketing mix, and if they have an untapped market that we don’t right now have access to, I don’t see how that’s a bad thing, but I do want to play investigative journalists on what the actual host experience is on this platform.


Because if you ask people who actually use it, I’ve heard mixed reviews, I’ve heard some really great things. I’ve heard some pretty negative things about customer support. So what I would like to see is as fast as it grow as the company, are they supporting hosts and are they supporting owners in their mission to maximize revenue but also be good hosts? And what I’m going to do is follow up on Hopper Homes, do some investigative journalism here and see if this is actually gonna be a good solution for, for all of us in the community. And if you have any experience with Hopper Homes, good or bad, please reach out to me by email. I would love to hear your story with it and I know your honest review and story will help a ton of listeners out. So please feel free to reach out to me if you’re using Hopper Homes, I’d love to see your mileage with it and if you find it a good thing or a bad thing.


So let’s dive a little deeper. Now, here’s a few things that they’re saying they’re doing to acquire their customers and grow their brand. So they’re saying their app allows their users to be more loyal to it, and they’re really big on push notifications. So you know all those push notifications you get from the various apps on your iPhone, well, that’s what they’re doing. So they send messages to all of the phones saying that, Hey, there’s a deal. Hey, you know, just a reminder of about your trip. You’re doing that and engaging with customers four to five times throughout their trip planning and they tout that their follow up is really great. And guests that go through the Hopper app come back, they’re saying over 65% of reservations made on their platform are actually repeat bookings. So they’re trying to build a brand and build that brand loyalty, which seems to be working for them right now.


They have a couple of cool tech tools. They have the ability to price freeze, so it’s users can freeze prices to lock them in if they’re in their decision making process. And they can do this from an hour to 21 days and then make a decision. So a lot of users do like that feature because they may be thinking about it, but as prices fluctuate, they want the price they originally saw. So they actually have functionality to do this, which is good from the user experience, pers perspective, I don’t know so much from the host perspective, but it’s good to get a booking, right? They’re also saying they have a price prediction tool, so it predicts future travel prices with they’re saying 95% accuracy and sends these notifications to travelers advising them on the best time of the book. But obviously that’s just incentivize people to book now, right?


So they’re saying you can also change your reservation or cancel for any reason, and they have a really flexible cancellation rate for non-refundable bookings to make them more flexible. Now you actually have to reach out to Hopper Homes to get listed there, and they actually want and prefer to work with professional property managers with at least 10 rentals. So if you have one or two rentals, it doesn’t mean not reach out to them because they’re changing this every day. And if you actually fill out their form which I’ll include a link to, to sign up as a host, you just put your website. If you have it, your Airbnb profile link, a representative from Hopper Homes will actually reach out to you and let you know if they can, you know, onboard your property with their O T A. But overall, I mean, if you’re trying to do everything and anything to market your property, I do think you should give Hopper Homes a shot.


 Evaluate six months to a year later whether it’s gonna be worth it to continue to use Hopper, but it’s, it’s definitely another way to get in front of guests. I’m actually huge marketing and advertising nerd. And one thing I want you to know is Hopper acquires their guests differently. So while, Expedia, Airbnb, they’re big on organic search as Hopper is too, hopper is doing way more with social media. They’re doing way more social media in the app store and that’s how they’re acquiring customers. So you may have seen their ads on TikTok, you may have seen them on other social media, but they’re spending big money actually trying to get their brand out there on social media, while other OTAs are not spending as much money as Hopper is to get their brand out there. So that’s one way that they’re acquiring customers and they’re growing really fast because they’re trying to become the white knight of the industry.


They’re trying to say, Hey, Airbnb mistreated you property managers, they mistreated you guests and we’re gonna swoop in and we’re gonna do things better. So that’s their story. Actually in 2021, they were the most downloaded app over Airbnb. So they are fast growing and they’re growing every single day, right? So it may be worth paying attention to, definitely worth giving it a shot. Another perk is that as a property manager, you could send your own rental agreement through the platform and get it signed by guests. Airbnb doesn’t let you do this. Booking doesn’t let you do this, but VRBO does let you do this, and it’s a really great thing that they’re listening and they’re allowing us to do this on Hopper. So that’s really cool. And they have this rewards kind of program called Carrot Cash. Pretty funny. Think about the Rabbit.


That’s your logo. You get Carrot Cash. I like it. I like the branding. It’s their own currency. So they’re hoping as you book on Hopper, you want to book again on Hopper, they’re gonna give you that carrot cash so you could spend those carrot bucks on Hopper and keep them engaged in the platform. So a lot of cool stuff coming out of this company. I like how they’re innovating. They’re already partnering with a lot of larger vacation rental managers like Casola Evolve, red Awning and getting their name out there with some of the larger players in our industry. And they definitely are trying to get people to join in early. Now, if your property doesn’t qualify for Hopper Homes at this moment, or if they want more properties in your area than you have at the moment, it’s still worth keeping an eye on Hopper because as they expand and they’re trying to grow at a faster clip, opportunities will be there to get your home listed.


And you really wanna be the first on Hopper’s marketplace because the first people there, you know, they always get that kickstart, they gain that momentum and that drives bookings. It’s similar to the first properties on Airbnb. They crushed it. So if you’re one of the first there and you do it right, it definitely drives results. So you definitely want to keep an eye on this, on this app, even if you’re not using it right away, because when there’s an opportunity for you to use it, you’ll be one of the first people to take advantage of it. Well, friends for today, that’s all I have on Hopper, but it won’t be the last because I promise to find the good, the bad, and the ugly and share it with you. So stay tuned because the more I learn about this company and how it plays a role in the greater marketing mix, I’m going to share all these things with you.


That’s what I’m here for and I hope you’re finding this content helpful. If you like this content and you want to support me to create more of it, please leave a rating or review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. And if you want to join the brand new Facebook group, a link will be in the show notes. On the next episode, we’re gonna discuss insurance, and I promise not to make it super long and boring. I’m just going to get to the point what you need to know about insuring your rental so you don’t lose a bunch of money on a lawsuit or something bad happening, something catastrophic, and I’ll, I’ll make it to the point. So that’s going to be the next episode. So until next time, cheers friends, stay booked and take care.
Vacation Rentals With John is one of the fastest growing short term rental podcasts. The show has been growing in popularity because of its no BS, to the point lessons on how to grow and operate a vacation rental. Join the facebook group. To listen to any of the past episodes, check out this page.

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