Mobile-travel booking platform Hopper is partnering with Turo to give its users access to the car-sharing platform’s extensive listings.
(Bloomberg) — Shopping for a car to rent, whether from a traditional agency or a travel website, often feels like taking a shot in the dark. Choose a vehicle category and model close to the one you’d like—say, “BMW X3 or similar luxury SUV”—and then cross your fingers that you’ll actually find a closely matching vehicle once you’re at your destination so you can continue your journey without a hassle.
That daunting prospect is set to shift for users of Hopper, a travel-booking app. Starting on Thursday, Sept. 21, Hopper will integrate car listings from Turo, the car-sharing marketplace in which individual hosts rent their cars to users.
This means that Turo listings will be available to book alongside offers from traditional car rental companies; Hopper customers can reserve a Turo car rental in the same app they use to book flights and hotels. Finalizing the booking will require logging in to Turo by using a link on the app that directs users to Turo’s website.
Dubbed the “Airbnb for cars,” Turo’s partnership with Hopper offers Hopper users expanded car choices and competitive prices at their fingertips, including access to a host of luxury cars that Turo says are not accessible or promised on other car rental platforms.
The vehicles can be delivered, for an additional fee, at the user’s preferred location, thereby averting the pesky wait at a rental counter.
It’s not just swanky cars like Porsches or Lexuses that are accessible in the Hopper app: Turo offers more than 1,500 makes and models and 350,000 active vehicles in more than 12,000 cities across the US, UK, Canada, France and Australia. Think vintage models, camper vans, and so forth.
“We’re the anti-commodity: You pick your exact car when you pick a car on Turo,” says Tom Wang, Turo’s chief product officer. “We have tons of Teslas, but we also have the new Hyundai electric car, the new Audi and the new Rivian. We’re unique in that regard, and we want to bring that to the Hopper audience.”
Integrating Turo’s Deluxe and Super Deluxe car rental categories into Hopper—vehicles with a true market value of more than $45,000—will come at a later date. These include such models as the Maserati Levante 2022, Bentley Bentayga 2019, Rolls-Royce Ghost 2011, Porsche 911s across many model years, and a McLaren MP4-12C 2012.
Bloomberg did not have access to the Turo listings integration on Hopper before the release. Sample searches provided by Hopper show that a 2020 Mercedes GLB-class rental in San Francisco from Nov. 24-27 would cost $310, with taxes and 750 miles included. By contrast, a midsize luxury SUV on Enterprise.com such as a Volvo XC90—for similar dates and miles and from its San Francisco International Airport’s Exotics segment—would cost $995.
Via Turo, you’d be renting someone’s personal car. Similar to the terms on Turo’s website, you can choose to pay a protection fee on Hopper (ranging 18%-100% of the trip price depending on the plan you choose and your location) for coverage under a third-party liability insurance policy issued to Turo. This will include access to 24/7 customer service and roadside assistance. You will also have the option to upgrade your protection plan after confirming your booking on Turo.
You’ll certainly want to read the fine print as to how your own insurance would cover you in various scenarios; as Turo’s language states, “Protection plans made available on Turo to guests include liability insurance, and a contract that sets forth your level of responsibility for Physical Damage (which is not insurance).” Protection plans also do not cover mechanical damage or interior damage beyond normal wear and tear.
Additional costs you can expect at checkout on a Turo rental: the trip fee, which is a percentage of the trip price calculated, based on a variety of factors; an airport fee, where applicable; a pickup and return fee; and a security deposit for high-value vehicles. Turo confirms that all applicable fees will be shown on Hopper while searching and reserving and the price users see on Hopper will be what they see on Turo.
Turo isn’t the only peer-to-peer car sharing platform. Others include Getaround and Uber Tecnologies Inc.’s new Ubercarshare, now available in Australia and coming to Boston and Toronto this year; none has as large a presence as Turo. Ultimately, this is about convenience of choice and access in Hopper’s booking app.
Ani Malkani, general manager of ground transport at Hopper, says 65% of the online travel agency’s majority millennial and Gen-Z consumer base indicated interest in using a car-sharing platform in an internal August 2023 survey. Their primary reasons: skipping the rental counter lines, getting the exact car they want and accessing a wider range of cars.
“It’s a digital experience,” says Malkani. “Kind of the same reason why you might rent with Airbnb instead of going to a hotel.”
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