Hopper Goes from Leader to Loser in Travel Booking Race
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Hotel booking, when it came to apps, was a game Expedia won. But then the pandemic happened, erasing demand substantially. Yet, Expedia was still the winner - but not for long.
Hopper, which was founded in 2007 but didn't launch until 2015, was fairly popular pre-pandemic for its ability to find the best time to book travel. It was always trailing in downloads behind Expedia, but...
In January of 2020, Hopper saw 939K downloads from the App Store and Google Play according to our estimates. Expedia saw 1.3M.
Lockdowns hit both hard. According to our App Intelligence, Expedia dropped to just 257K downloads in April and Hopper to 83K. Brutal!
Both started recovering fairly quickly, and by the end of 2020, Expedia managed to climb back to 403K downloads with Hopper behind it with 284K.
By February the tide had turned.
Growing demand for travel + Hopper's ability to find cheaper travel gave it a leg up, and the downloads are the proof. Hopper had been outperforming Expedia every month in 2021!
By December, Hopper was getting nearly 2 downloads for every download Expedia was getting. In more absolute terms, Expedia's 607K downloads were outmatched by Hopper's 1.1M.
In total, Hopper managed to raise $729.7M across 12 funding rounds. Wow!
Fast forward to 2023, and after 17.6M downloads - 1.2M downloads more than all of 2022 -- and Hopper just clocked in its lowest month of downloads since it started outpacing Expedia. Now you know what this whole build-up was for.
After a massive opening to 2023, Hopper's downloads started dropping in July - giving Expedia its first month of more downloads this year.
Downloads went from a peak of 2.8M in February to just 664K in October, according to our estimates.
That's lower than January of 2020. It's also lower than two hotel chains that have seen their app downloads more than double since 2020!
Hilton & Marriott Double
Marriott and Hilton, two chains that have their own apps, have also been working to grow their downloads.
Hilton and Marriott started 2020 with 261K and 300K downloads, respectively. Hotels weren't really pushing their own apps back in 2020 and rather relied on services like Expedia and Hopper for booking.
But that changed during covid, and both started pushing their apps as the better way to book. And it's working!
By January of 2022, Hilton's app grew to 291K downloads and Marriott's to 461K. Marriott has been very aggressive about pushing its app with ads in a variety of places. And it's working!
This January, downloads are up even more, to 520K and 710K, respectively. Although that hasn't really stopped Expedia or Hopper, both are growing alongside each other.
As of October, the pair clocked in the most downloads ever! 706K and 789K downloads, respectively, according to our estimates.
I fully expect to see more enterprises pushing their own apps instead of relying on third parties. I'll look at airlines in the future.
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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.