BUSINESS TRAVEL

Hopper Secures $175 Million Growth Investment Led By GPI Capital

Hopper | August 18, 2021

Hopper is announcing that it has completed a $175 million Series G financing led by GPI Capital with participation from Glade Brook Capital, WestCap, Goldman Sachs Growth and Accomplice as the company emerges from the pandemic stronger than ever.

As the travel industry continues to rebound, Hopper has demonstrated significant outperformance with its category-leading mobile-only marketplace, delivering value to customers and supply partners with the company's proprietary suite of fintech offerings. Hopper has over 60 million downloads, consistently ranks as one of the most downloaded travel apps, and now has a larger air travel market share in North America than it did before the pandemic (source: MIDT) along with a growing suite of API-enabled solutions for its B2B initiative. Based on its current run rate, Hopper is pacing towards 330% revenue growth compared to last year and it has already surpassed its pre-pandemic revenue peak from Q1 2020 by over 100%. Product roll-outs have been delivered over an increasingly diversified mix of air, hotel and car rental bookings with the company's fintech offerings now representing a majority of its revenue.

Whether it's pricing volatility or avoiding trip disruptions, Hopper's fintech offerings aim to address every pain point in the customer journey while driving conversion, repeat purchases, and profitability. Earlier in the year, Hopper announced that it was launching a B2B initiative called Hopper Cloud. Through this partnership program, any travel provider – airlines, online travel agencies, meta-search companies, travel agencies, etc. – can integrate and seamlessly distribute Hopper's fintech or agency content. Additionally, Hopper Cloud offers white-label travel portals for companies that aspire to sell travel with a differentiated consumer experience and offering. By leveraging its vast data assets, Hopper takes on all financial risk as its AI is able to dynamically price each fintech offering on a real-time basis at scale.

"The success of our fintech offerings demonstrate that travelers are willing to pay for flexibility and assurance as they resume traveling again," said Frederic Lalonde, CEO and Co-Founder of Hopper. "We feel strongly that our fintech offerings through Hopper Cloud can help supercharge the travel industry's recovery by introducing a totally unique revenue stream for other brands. In fact, if all travel distribution channels offered our fintech, it could increase the total consumer spend for the sector by $200 billion annually. We are excited to be partnering with GPI and their distinguished track record of supporting iconic consumer internet companies. We welcome Khai to the board as we execute on a roadmap for sustained growth over the long term."

Khai Ha, Managing Partner at GPI Capital, commented "Hopper has created a large market opportunity with unique fintech products for the travel industry that applies an entirely differentiated and attractive business model in which we are excited to work with Fred and the leadership team to accelerate the flywheel. The company emerged from a challenging period for the industry, bolstering its technology capabilities, customer service and its opportunity set with a stronger, durable foundation. We are thrilled to be a partner in this category-defining story."

The funds will be used to accelerate the company's growth across several fronts including customer support. Following a year of unprecedented customer support requests, Hopper has scaled its customer support team by 200% and developed several self-serve automation tools so that 60% of customer support requests are now resolved instantly. Hopper is hiring an additional 500 employees, of which 300 of them are focused on customer service. The company is actively looking to acqui-hire other teams in travel, data science, or engineering-heavy startups to introduce new product offerings and fuel international expansion. Hopper has had recent success integrating the teams of Journy and Mowgli, which will accelerate entry into new travel categories such as home rentals and regional expansion to Europe.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP and McCarthy Tétrault LLP acted as legal counsel to GPI Capital.

About Hopper
Hopper is the world's fastest-growing mobile-first travel marketplace. By leveraging massive amounts of data and machine learning, the company has developed several unique fintech solutions that help customers save money and travel better. Through its B2B initiative, Hopper Cloud, the company is syndicating its fintech solutions, infrastructure, and agency content. Whether it's pricing volatility or trip disruptions, Hopper's proprietary suite of fintech solutions address every pain point in the customer journey while driving conversion, repeat purchases, and profitability.

About GPI Capital
GPI Capital is an alternative investment firm specializing in leading growth equity investments in technology, consumer and industrial companies. GPI focuses on identifying high quality businesses looking to accelerate growth and execute on transformational opportunities with an engaged and value-add partner

Spotlight

Despite significant advances throughout travel and tourism, many aspects of international travel remain encumbered by manual processes that are susceptible to fraud. For many years, aspiring voices from government and industry have advocated a vision of better travel experiences. A vision where outdated paper-based processes are replaced by modern digital processes that include strong identity assurance; and where passengers can travel from anywhere to anywhere
using just their Digital Identity1 But as both the travel and tourism sectors – and the technology that underpins them – have been transformed, it is important for governments to
begin developing their own strategies to deliver safe, secure and seamless travel for all international travelers, regardless of their mode of transport.


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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection Partners with soNomad to Offer Travel Medical Insurance in Canada

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection | November 16, 2022

North American travel insurance provider Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP) has announced that it has partnered with soNomad to provide Canadian travelers valuable travel medical insurance for unexpected health problems or sudden injuries while traveling. The soNomad Travel Medical Insurance plan will be underwritten by National Liability & Fire Insurance Company, Canada.Our underwriting partnership with soNomad provides us an exciting new opportunity in the Canadian market, said Dean Sivley, president of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. With escalating emergency expenses a possibility for Canadian travelers, our comprehensive travel medical coverage provides essential protection for their vacations. soNomad’s Emergency Travel Medical insurance provides Canadian travelers with emergency medical expense coverage while traveling outside their home province or territory, and internationally. “We are thrilled to partner with an industry leader like Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance to provide Canadian travelers with our low-cost approach to travel insurance, The unparalleled insurance expertise of a trusted brand like Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance means Canadian travelers have the best of both worlds when it comes to no-nonsense, affordable travel insurance.” -Mathieu Laplante, soNomad co-founder and 20-plus year veteran of the Canadian Travel Insurance market About Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection is the trade name for the travel protection products and services of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, part of the National Indemnity group of insurance companies. Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company provides underwriting and claims administration services for some of the largest distributors of travel insurance in the United States and Canada. Plans are provided by Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company or National Liability & Fire Insurance Company. The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries and may be changed without notice. Full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. About Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (www.bhspecialty.com) provides commercial property, casualty, healthcare professional liability, executive and professional lines, transactional liability, surety, marine, travel, programs, accident and health, medical stop loss, homeowners, and multinational insurance. The actual and final terms of coverage for all product lines may vary. It underwrites on the paper of Berkshire Hathaway's National Indemnity group of insurance companies, which hold financial strength ratings of A++ from AM Best and AA+ from Standard & Poor's. Based in Boston, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Irvine, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Ramon, Seattle, Stevens Point, Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Brussels, Cologne, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Lyon, Macau, Madrid, Manchester, Melbourne, Munich, Paris, Perth, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto, and Zurich. About SoNomad soNomad (www.sonomad.com) is an innovative player in the insurance industry providing low-cost travel insurance to the Canadian market. Founded by respected industry veterans, soNomad is a leading technology company dedicated to excellence, quality, and innovation. With its proprietary technology, soNomad delivers unique high quality travel insurance solutions. soNomad’s mission is to make travel insurance simple, transparent, and affordable to all Canadian travellers.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

The Sound Hotel Seattle Belltown Adds Private Wireless from Comcast Business to its List of Amenities

Comcast Business | December 01, 2022

Comcast Business announced its customer, The Sound Hotel Seattle Belltown, is providing guests with a bespoke, of-the-moment experience with private wireless network technology thanks to a collaboration by Comcast Business and Ballast Networks.Situated in one of Seattle’s most vibrant neighborhoods, The Sound Hotel features 142 exquisitely designed rooms and provides guests easy access to the city’s most iconic landmarks and attractions for a truly unforgettable experience. To improve their guests’ experience, the property recognized the need to upgrade its network to better meet the needs of its guests and align with its mission to serve, inspire, and deliver its spirit of hospitality greatness. Comcast continues to evolve its wireless platform and to target new wireless business opportunities by leveraging its more than 34M customer relationships, deep fiber network, licensed wireless spectrum and over 20M WiFi hotspots, said Filip Liharik, Vice President of Wireless Strategy and Product Planning at Comcast. “We are excited to develop and offer new wireless products and services to our existing and future customers. Working with Comcast Business, The Sound Hotel and Ballast Networks deployed a private wireless network primarily to support cellular voice and data connectivity throughout the property. In addition to the enhanced wireless experience, the private network also enables The Sound Hotel to deploy several new services that enhance the guest and employee experience, including: Wireless sensors that allow the hotel to monitor temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors Single network for staff communications, freeing up capacity for guest communications and entertainment Efficient deployment of new video surveillance solutions powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning “The Sound Hotel blends Seattle’s creative bedrock with its innovation boom. We strive to provide our guests with a truly unforgettable experience – and connectivity is central to that, Now, by upgrading our technology backbone to a next-generation 5G private wireless network, we can provide our guests a great, modern experience that matches the essence of Seattle.” -Barry Baxter, General Manager, The Sound Hotel. Private wireless networks offer wireless broadband speed and capacity with reliability and low latency, enabling businesses like The Sound Hotel to support their rapidly expanding ecosystem of connected devices. Comcast Business’s private wireless solution adds to its robust networking capabilities while giving clients more wireless options, including DeepBlue for advanced, large-scale WiFi deployments and MachineQ for long-range, low-power, and large-scale IoT solutions. Ballast is excited to partner with Comcast and the Sound Hotel to deliver a brand new, connected experience for the guests and employees of this beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of Seattle, said Jon Morris, CEO, Ballast Networks. At the Sound Hotel, Comcast Business and Ballast Networks are using both General Authorized Access (GAA) unlicensed spectrum and Comcast’s Priority Access Licenses (PALs) spectrum to create a private network enabled with a multi-operator core network (MOCN) gateway. This new technology enables the private network to serve as a neutral host network capable of extending wireless coverage for all mobile service providers through a single system. “A solid technology infrastructure and strong network are critical to supporting the features and functions that enable a better experience throughout a guest’s hotel stay, from booking to the memories they carry with them from their trip after checking out, Comcast Business is proud to work with The Sound Hotel to propel a first-class wireless – and hospitality – experience.” -Brian Epstein, head of strategic wireless solutions, Comcast Business. About Comcast Business Comcast Business offers a suite of Connectivity, Communications, Networking, Cybersecurity, Wireless, and Managed Solutions to help organizations of different sizes prepare for what’s next. Powered by the nation’s largest Gig-speed broadband network, and backed by 24/7 customer support, Comcast Business is the nation’s largest cable provider to small and mid-size businesses and one of the leading service providers to the Enterprise market. Comcast Business has been consistently recognized by industry analysts and associations as a leader and innovator, and one of the fastest growing providers of Ethernet services. For more information, call 866-429-3085. Follow on Twitter @ComcastBusiness and on other social media networks at http://business.comcast.com/social. About Comcast Corporation Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on connectivity, aggregation, and streaming with 57 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Shoopit, the New Flight Scanning Search Engine, Releases 2022 Consumer Travel Survey

Shoopit | December 09, 2022

Innovative flight search engine and browser extension, shoopit, has released its 2022 Consumer Travel Survey. The project was undertaken to uncover the habits of UK travellers in the face of difficult economic challenges, showing that while those most affected by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis may delay their flight bookings, they still say that they’re likely to travel at least once in the next 12 months. The survey was conducted among 2003 UK consumers who have bought a plane ticket in the last five years to determine how their travel habits have changed and where their priorities lie. The interviews were conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of shoopit in November 2022. The key results of the survey are detailed below: Pre-COVID-19 pandemic (pre-2019) travelling habits: In the past five years, respondents who had travelled by plane for either ‘holiday’ or ‘business’ took two trips per year. Respondents spent an average of nine nights abroad on a ‘holiday trip’, and two nights abroad on a ‘business trip’. Post-COVID-19 pandemic travelling habits: Since the pandemic, respondents are 57% less likely to take as frequent trips abroad as they were prior to Covid-19. The survey also shows that respondents are more likely to travel shorter distances and have 51% less budget for travel expenses. Future travelling: Over the next 12 months respondents intend to make two ‘holiday trips’ and one ‘business trip’, with individuals expecting to spend on average nine nights abroad for a ‘holiday trip’ and four nights abroad for a ‘business trip’. However, on average those who are ‘extremely affected’ by the cost of living crisis only intend to travel once in 2023. Impact of the cost-of-living crisis on travelling: On average, respondents would consider themselves less likely to book a flight when the price increases by 17%, while for those ‘very affected’ by the cost-of-living crisis, this threshold decreases to 15%. Furthermore, 55% are less likely to travel abroad in the next 12 months and 32% have delayed booking a trip due to the cost-of-living crisis. This increases to 42% for those ‘extremely affected’ by the cost-of-living crisis. Impact on the environment: Travellers are evermore becoming conscious of their carbon footprint with 40% of respondents most likely to book direct flights. In addition, 78% of people will not be taking business trips as opposed to only 32% prior to covid, highlighting the shift businesses have taken towards non-essential travel. To check out the survey in more detail and to see how people’s flight booking habits have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis, download the full report here. About Shoopit Shoopit is a search engine and browser extension that acts as an online shopping optimiser for flight bookings. What makes it unique is that it doesn’t just collect prices like an aggregator. Instead, it scours local versions of global websites to get the best possible prices for its users (the price you’re shown for the same seat on the same flight can vary wildly, depending on where you happen to live!) Born out of a commitment to make the internet transparent, democratic and borderless, Shoopit searches local versions of world’s most popular flight-booking websites, to find the best prices offered, allowing shoopit users to make better, informed purchases online, while at the same time making savings - regardless of where they live or what their IP address is. It launches in the UK, with backing from global online access provider, Hola.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Optii to Roll out Its Hotel Operations Platform at The Alexander

The Alexander and Optii Solutions | November 17, 2022

Optii Solutions, the leading hotel operations software, today announced that The Alexander, A Dolce Hotel in Indianapolis has selected Optii as its hotel operations platform. The Alexander has adopted the full Optii platform to support its hotel operations team to work more efficiently and effectively. The property features 209 rooms across two towers, with 157 hotel rooms, and 52 extended stay residences. This layout and room mix increases the operational complexity, especially for the housekeeping staff when it comes to turnaround times and cleaning sequences. Kevin Green, Director of Operations, The Alexander, said: “We are always looking at how we can improve both the efficiency of our operation and the guest experience we provide. Using Optii to automate our housekeeping teams’ cleaning routes has saved us a considerable amount of time, so that guests can have earlier access to their rooms. Overall, guest satisfaction has been high since Optii’s adoption, and less time is wasted between when a room attendant is finishing a room and starting the next clean. It’s a win-win. “We are thrilled to have The Alexander as a customer. The dedication to sharing arts and culture with guests, really drives home what exceptional hospitality and experiences is all about. We are glad that we can play a part in removing operational challenges, so that the staff can focus on sharing the beautiful property with their guests.” -Katherine Grass, CEO, Optii Solutions, About The Alexander Nestled in the CityWay area of downtown Indianapolis, The Alexander, A Dolce Hotel, pairs contemporary design with unparalleled hospitality. Blocks from both the Gainbridge Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium, the downtown Indianapolis hotel is only minutes from top attractions and local events, including museums, professional sports, and the Indiana Convention Center. About Optii Solutions Optii Solutions is a hotel operations solution that leverages smarter technologies such as artificial intelligence, analytics, messaging and mobility to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of housekeeping and service delivery departments. For further information about Optii, please visit: www.optiisolutions.com

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Spotlight

Despite significant advances throughout travel and tourism, many aspects of international travel remain encumbered by manual processes that are susceptible to fraud. For many years, aspiring voices from government and industry have advocated a vision of better travel experiences. A vision where outdated paper-based processes are replaced by modern digital processes that include strong identity assurance; and where passengers can travel from anywhere to anywhere
using just their Digital Identity1 But as both the travel and tourism sectors – and the technology that underpins them – have been transformed, it is important for governments to
begin developing their own strategies to deliver safe, secure and seamless travel for all international travelers, regardless of their mode of transport.

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