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Hopper jumps into the travel experiences game with PlacePass acquisition

Oct. 19, 2021
4 min read
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Hopper jumps into the travel experiences game with PlacePass acquisition
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Travel app Hopper has acquired PlacePass, one of the largest activities aggregators in the world. Not only will Hopper offer its own travel experiences on the app, but it will also power Marriott Bonvoy's Tours and Activities platform through Hopper Cloud.

The rollout is currently slated for sometime in 2022, though Hopper has yet to release an official launch date.

This is Hopper's first foray into the travel experiences business, joining other major brands such as Airbnb and Amazon in offering unique tours, activities and virtual experiences to users.

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"We're thrilled to join such a dynamic and innovative team and accelerate Hopper's entry into the tours and activities space," said Ethan Hawkes, CEO and co-founder of PlacePass, in a press release.

You can find a wide range of bookable experiences on PlacePass — everything from a day cruise to Bimini in the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to a New York City sunset sailing to a New Orleans mafia, murder and madames historical tour.

(Screenshot courtesy of PlacePass)

Unfortunately, you won't be able to book experiences through the PlacePass website once experiences are introduced on the Hopper app. You'll have to go through Hopper to book PlacePass activities.

Remember that PlacePass also runs Marriott Bonvoy's Tours and Activities platform, which allows you to earn points on your tour and activities bookings. For example, a $199 luxury sunset sailing experience in San Diego will earn 549 Bonvoy points (on top of any other points you earn through using the right credit card).

Little, if anything, will change in how you book experiences through Marriott due to this acquisition, but we could see additional functionality come to the platform.

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Hopper Cloud also offers products such as "Cancel For Any Reason" travel coverage. Hopper told TPG that while it will power Marriott Bonvoy's Tours and Activities platform, the rest of the brand's fintech offerings will not initially be integrated into the platform.

However, it's not out of the realm of possibility that we'll see deeper integration down the road.

“We are currently in a supercycle of travel, with high consumer demand for novel tours and activities," said Frederic Lalonde, CEO and cofounder of Hopper, in a press release. "It’s a natural extension for Hopper to look holistically at the trip our customers are taking and offer the best experiences to enrich the travel journey.”

Hopper's growing footprint

Hopper is well on its way to becoming a giant in the travel space. What started as a price prediction tool to help users maximize savings when booking flights has transformed into a consumer-facing OTA and a broader provider of fintech and travel software for other brands.

(Screenshot courtesy of iTunes)

App users can book flights, hotels and rental cars through Hopper while using tools such as price prediction, price freeze, price drop guarantee and more. And businesses that partner with Hopper Cloud can offer these tools and more to their own customers.

Hopper has also made leaps in the partnership space — linking up with Capital One to power the credit card issuer's new travel portal, partnering with Lufthansa Group to access New Distribution Capability (which is an IATA program that helps airlines sell flights through travel agents and other third-party booking platforms) and teaming up with Amadeus to bring price freeze and "Cancel For Any Reason" coverage to its customers.

The company is one of the few in the travel industry to grow at this scale during the pandemic. According to a press release from Hopper, it's just getting started.

As Capital One's new travel portal is rolled out and the transformation from this new acquisition comes to fruition, it will be interesting to see where Hopper expands next.

Photo by AerialPerspective Images/Getty Images.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees