Ultimate Resource On Bitcoin-Friendly Travel Companies That Allow You To Earn Bitcoin Rewards
Bitcoin (BTC) rewards shopping app Lolli has expanded its business by adding major booking service Hotels.com to its partners, the company announced in a blog post on June 25. Ultimate Resource On Bitcoin-Friendly Travel Companies While Earning Bitcoin Rewards
With the new partnership, the New York-based firm now has two of the world’s top three travel websites including Booking.com and Hotels.com, Lolli said in the announcement, citing data from traffic analytics service SimilarWeb.
Founded in March 2018, Lolli allows users to earn Satoshis (sats), the smallest unit of bitcoin currency worth of 0.00000001 BTC, while shopping online. The firm claims to be the first bitcoin rewards application with over 500 brands as partners, including flagship brand of American global hotel service Hilton, as well as Marriott, VRBO, and Priceline, among others.
Following the partnership with Hotels.com, Lolli now enables global travellers to earn up to 3.5% bitcoin back from purchases on the website, the company said in the announcement.
Prior to the announcement of the partnership, Lolli initiated a giveaway quiz on Twitter, promising to give one million satoshis, 0.01 BTC (around $100) to the person who first guesses the new partner.
Back in November 2018, Lolli raised $2.25 million in an oversubscribed seed round from investors including Digital Currency Group.
Bitcoin is no stranger to the travel industry, however. Cheapair was one of the first to accept BTC in 2014. More recently in April, United Kingdom’s largest travel management company Corporate Traveller announced it will be accepting bitcoin for payments.
Crypto.com: Buy, Sell and Pay With Crypto
Crypto Booking Firm Travala Partners with Travel Giant Booking.com
Travala announced in a press release on Nov. 25 that it has already integrated Booking’s accommodations to its platform. The new feature will purportedly allow users to book 90,000 different destinations using cryptocurrencies.
Pay For Your Stay With Crypto
Travala’s customers can pay with its proprietary AVA token and 20 major crypto assets including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Dash (DASH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), EOS, Stellar (XLM), Cardano (ADA), Binance Chain (BNB), Monero (XMR), Tron (TRX), XRP and Dai (DAI). The firm’s CEO Matt Luczynski commented:
“This partnership allows our users to access Booking.com’s accommodation listings, as well as the listings from several other leading travel suppliers, which is a fantastic use case for our own AVA token and another huge step towards mass cryptocurrency adoption.”
Also on Nov. 25, Travala announced that its proprietary token was listed on the decentralized exchange Binance DEX and is currently trading against Binance Coin on the platform.
Crytpo Expands Into Tourism
Different travel and tourism companies worldwide have begun adding support for cryptocurrencies as payment options. Earlier this month, Alternative Airlines, a travel company based in the United Kingdom, partnered with cryptocurrency service Utrust to facilitate payments with crypto.
Earlier this summer, the co-founders of Scandinavian air carrier Norwegian Air announced plans to launch their own cryptocurrency exchange, which will subsequently facilitate the airline’s acceptance of cryptocurrency payments.
Crypto Booking Service Sees 33% Boost After Partnership With Booking.com
Cryptocurrency-accepting booking service Travala has seen its revenue for the month of December go up by over 33.5% month-on-month following a partnership with Booking.com.
According to a post published on the firm’s official blog on Jan. 1, Travala has also seen the total monthly number of accommodation nights booked through the service reach 1,528 in December, which is a 15.2% increase since November. Furthermore, the average room price increased by over 15%, from $115 to $133 over the same period.
Over 9% of December’s bookings were paid in Travala’s proprietary token, AVA. Furthermore, 28% of them were paid in Bitcoin (BTC), 8% in Bitcoin Cash (BCH), 37% with credit card and PayPal while the rest with other crypto assets. Overall, over 60% of the total bookings were paid for in crypto.
In November, Travala partnered with travel accommodation booking giant Booking.com. Since the cooperation started, the service started allowing its users to book any stay available on Booking.com while paying with cryptocurrency.
Crypto And Tourism
The tourism and travel industry is increasingly accepting cryptocurrency to facilitate transactions in an increasingly interconnected and global world. In November, Alternative Airlines, a travel company based in the United Kingdom, started a collaboration with cryptocurrency service Utrust to facilitate payments with crypto.
Furthermore, last summer the Scandinavian air carrier Norwegian Air announced that the firm plans to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange to facilitate the airline’s acceptance of cryptocurrency payments.
Travel And Pay In Bitcoin
If a traveler only has Bitcoin at their disposal, the following merchants will gladly offer services in exchange for it. TravelbyBit, a flight and hotel booking service, accepts cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Binance Coin and Litecoin (LTC) as payment. Also, major travel company Hotels.com allows you to book vacation stays using Bitcoin.
With a network of over 300 crypto-friendly merchants, the platform is one of the biggest supporters of crypto adoption.
TravelbyBit can also alert you to upcoming blockchain events in order to interact with other crypto enthusiasts from around the globe. Other platforms to book flights with crypto include Destinia, CheapBizClass, CheapAir, AirBaltic, Bitcoin.Travel and ABitSky, among others.
Use Crypto To Book A Five-Star Hotel In Zurich
If ever one finds themselves traveling to Zurich Switzerland, either BTC or Ether (ETH) can be used to pay for a stay in a five-star hotel in Zurich. In May 2019, five-star hotel and spa Dodler Grand announced that it will start accepting Bitcoin and Ether as payment.
The hotel has partnered with a fintech firm Inacta as well as Bity (a Swiss-based crypto exchange) to facilitate the payment and conversion of crypto to fiat money. The hotel boasts an amazing view of the Swiss landscape among other enticing amenities that come with a five-star hotel.
You Can Now Get, You Can Now Get
Norwegian Air May Allow Customers To Pay With Crypto As Soon As Spring
Travelers on Norwegian Air, one of the largest airlines in Europe, will soon be able to pay for flights using cryptocurrency.
In an interview with a local business newspaper, Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX) CEO Stig Kjos-Mathisen said his crypto trading platform had successfully developed payment infrastructure that will allow customers on Norwegian Air to purchase tickets with digital assets.
“Everything is ready to go from our side”, Kjos-Mathisen said in the interview. NBX aims to roll out the new feature to Norwegian customers sometime later this year, possibly as early as the spring.
Kjos-Mathisen is the son-in-law of Bjørn Kjos, the founder and CEO of Norwegian Air, who has been involved in NBX since it launched in 2019. The plan has always been to use the exchange to offer cryptocurrency support for airline ticket purchases.
In September, one of the oldest banks in Norway acquired a 16.3 percent in NBX for a reported $1.6 million. The exchange opened for beta users last September and is now accepting general customers.
Founded in 1993, Norwegian Air Shuttle is the largest airline in Scandinavia and the third-largest low-cost airline in Europe. It flies to destinations all across Europe and North Africa, as well as selected cities in the Americas.
Following extensive cost cuts, the company reported its best-ever quarterly result last October, with a pre-tax profit of 2.2 billion Norwegian kroner (roughly US$215 million). The airline carried over 37 million passengers in 2018, its highest ever figure within a single year.
It is unclear so far which digital assets will be supported on NBX or for ticket payments. The founder’s son, Lars Ola Kjors, is believed to have bought 3.5 million NOK ($404,000) worth of bitcoin (BTC) in 2017 before the cryptocurrency hit its all-time high of around $20,000.
Cryptocurrency Adoption: How Can Crypto Change The Travel Industry?
If government corruption affects the stability of the national currency, it’s only natural that citizens will turn to gold or other assets like Bitcoin (BTC) to invest their savings. It offers them a sense of financial control in an otherwise unstable market.
And it’s not just investing that is feeling the impact of crypto. This technology has the capacity to change the way we live. The freedom to travel and transact is a fundamental right everyone should have, and cryptocurrency adoption is all about providing freedom.
The world is becoming easier to navigate, and people are increasingly traveling to parts that are not equipped to deal with tourism. Often travelers can be caught out in less developed countries with no access to ATMs and a shortage of reliable ways to pay for goods. The use of digital currencies and smartphones could become the best solution.
Imagine not having to search for the best exchange rates or having to carry the local fiat currency around in a wallet. This is freedom. Paying for goods and services on a mobile phone — and even a watch — has been an increasing phenomenon with services like Apple Pay and Google Pay on Android.
According to research, the amount of people who own mobile phones around the world is on the rise. Ownership levels in developing economies are highest in Vietnam, where 97% of adults own a mobile device, although about 90% or more also own one in Jordan, Tunisia, Colombia, Kenya, Lebanon and South Africa.
Ownership is lowest in Venezuela, India and the Philippines, but even in these countries, about 70% of adults own a mobile device.
In the future, more hotels, restaurants and shops will be set up with crypto wallets on a smartphone or similar device to accept global payments in seconds — and this may happen in the developing world faster than the developed world.
The travel industry is one of the biggest industries in the world with around $1.7 trillion expected to be spent this year alone, making it the world’s second-fastest-growing industry. Now, crypto travel companies are making global crypto travel a reality.
As with all technology development, government and community help are paramount. The state government of Queensland in Australia is committed to technological innovation within the travel industry.
They have helped to make the Brisbane airport the first in the world to have 30 merchants accept cryptocurrency. In fact, Queensland is trailblazing crypto tourism with the regional town of Agnes Water, located at the southern end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Here, travelers can find more than 40 businesses that accept crypto, allowing them to pay with Bitcoin for their accommodations, meals and even a day tour to the reef.
Additionally, travel giant Expedia is now back in the crypto game, having stepped out of it in 2018 when they stopped accepting Bitcoin payments directly through their platform. Now, they are offering cryptocurrency holders the ability to book their travels and holidays through the site and giving them access to thousands of hotels around the world.
Helping The Unbanked
The figures speak for themselves. Globally, there are around 1.7 billion adults who are unbanked, mostly in developing countries like India, Egypt and parts of Africa. Without a fiat bank account, people from these countries can struggle to participate in the global economy. This affects many of the developing countries and their ability to trade in the world market. Crypto adoption can help change that.
It is important to understand that while it is still in the very early stages of adoption, crypto is much more than just a speculative asset, but it also has the ability to be used in the same way as any currency.
However, problems do exist. For example, many businesses that accept crypto for their services will charge users a high premium, which poses a barrier to adoption. This must be addressed and changed. Crypto must be usable, which is why it is important to provide incentives for early adopters.
Visa debit cards that convert crypto into fiat are becoming more common and are helping to grow the ecosystem. Allowing users to use cryptocurrency anywhere that accepts credit card payments will broaden adoption and take off.
Enticing users into the space with incentives will also help drive adoption, and as with credit card payments, more competition in the marketplace will help drive down fees. As crypto becomes more widely used, it will become more attractive to those who have never experimented with it and will lead more individuals to “give it a try.” This can only be a good thing for the wider crypto travel industry.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Caleb Yeoh is the CEO of TravelbyBit, an Australia-based company that has been instrumental in driving crypto adoption in Australia. Its travel booking platform was launched with the help of Binance, and lets travelers book their flights and hotels with cryptocurrency and earn rewards by doing so.
Binance-Backed Crypto Travel Firms Travala.com And TravelByBit Merge
Hotel booking service Travala.com and flight booking website TravelByBit — both of which accept cryptocurrencies as payment — announced the merger of their platforms.
According to an announcement on May 20, Travala.com and TravelByBit will merge to become a platform allowing users to book from over 2 million hotels and 600 airlines.
An Initiative Backed By Binance
Both the companies are backed by the leading cryptocurrency exchange, Binance. The exchange’s CEO Changpeng Zhao praised the firms as he believes they are able to provide a state-of-the-art travel booking service for the crypto community.
Travala.com currently supports payments in fiat and over 25 popular cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB) and Binance Dollar (BUSD) and features a best price guarantee.
Furthermore, the platform also has its own AVA token which grants users access to bonuses and discounts that shortly will be available on TravelByBit as well. A Travala spokesperson explained:
“As the native cryptocurrency of the Travala.com platform, AVA can now be used for payments, receiving loyalty rewards and accessing exclusive discounts and bonuses as part of our Smart Program. […] Every time a booking is completed on Travala.com, the traveller gets 2% of the total booking price back in AVA.”
High Hopes For Adoption
A representative of the firms told Cointelegraph that “the merged platform is forecasting next 12-month revenue levels in excess of US $10 million based on the existing growth traction in travel bookings prior to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions being put in place.”
The firms claim that the merged platform will be better than traditional alternatives since it will offer tokenized rewards and more payment options. Furthermore, the platform focuses on the underserved niche of blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
As Cointelegraph reported in November 2019, Travala.com partnered with Booking.com to allow its users to book any accommodation that is present on the travel giant’s website. January reports showed that the platform has seen a 33% boost in usage after the partnership.
Crypto Travel Booking Site Travala Sees 46% Monthly Increase In Bookings Despite Pandemic
Cryptocurrency travel website Travala.com saw a 45.8% increase in the total number of room nights booked in May compared to April.
According to a June 1 announcement, Travala.com also saw its monthly revenue increase by 205% in May compared to April. Still, while the platform is seeing more traction compared to April, May also saw a 60% decrease in room nights booked compared to March.
Travala.com Sees Bookings Surge As Travel Restrictions Are Lifted
Juan Otero, Travala.com’s CEO, told Cointelegraph that the platform is seeing more use as the rest of the travel industry. He explained that domestic travel is seeing growth as the restrictions are being lifted. He said:
“We’re fortunate to see our users coming back as soon as they have the opportunity to travel again, even if it is just locally or for short weekends nearby. […] The increase is mainly driven by domestic travel.”
Data shared by Travala.com also shows that 60% of the bookings made through the platform in May were paid for in cryptocurrency. Bitcoin (BTC) was used for 21% of the payments, the firm’s AVA token for 16%, 23% used other crypto assets.
Otero also explained that people are seemingly more open to spending cryptocurrency now than before. In fact, he said that there has been a sharp increase in crypto payments on the platform:
“Over 60% of our bookings are paid in crypto so we have seen a huge increase in the volume of travel bookings paid with crypto. I believe it’s not just because crypto adoption is growing every day but also because we have built a platform that allows people to pay with [with crypto while removing] a lot of the friction.”
Only 40% of payments on Travala.com in May used credit cards or PayPal. Otero explained that he believes Travala.com would not have grown as much if it supported fiat payments only. He said that the platform’s crypto features play an important role in its business:
“We appeal to a market that has been neglected in travel but is also growing really fast, the crypto enthusiastic so this is helping us grow faster than other [online travel agencies] that rely just on traditional markets.”
Travala.com Seeks Expansion Through Partnerships And Mergers
As Cointelegraph reported in late May, Travala.com merged with TravelByBit to expand its features from allowing to pay for travel accommodations with crypto to also facilitate flight booking with cryptocurrencies.
The merger followed a November announcement that the firm had partnered with online hotel giant Booking.com. The partnership allows Travala.com users to book any accommodation that’s present on Booking.com through the platform. In January the company revealed that following the partnership it saw its revenue grow by over 33.5% month-on-month.
Expedia Partners With Crypto Service Travala.com For Crypto Bookings
Expedia now allows its over 700,000 accommodations to be booked with cryptocurrency through crypto travel platform Travala.com.
According to an announcement shared with Cointelegraph by Travala.com on July 6, the firm added over 700,000 accommodations to its crypto-powered travel platform’s already over 2 million options available in 230 countries.
Senior Vice President at Expedia Group Alfonso Paredes said that the company aims to scale up Travala.com’s business faster than it did expand so far. Furthermore, he said that the firm also recognizes innovation and the importance of allowing users to choose their preferred payment method.
This is the result of a collaboration with a subsidiary of travel giant Expedia, dubbed Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS). EPS allowed Travala.com to access its Rapid application programming interface, which allows the firm to offer Expedia’s accommodations to its users.
The Last One Of A Series Of Deals For Travala
In November 2019, Travala.com struck a similar deal with Booking.com and added its over 90,000 destinations to its platform. Data shared by the firm in January revealed that the firm saw its revenue increase by 33% after the partnership.
Furthermore, crypto accommodation booking Travala.com also merged with cryptocurrency flight booking service TravelByBit in late May. This merger is meant to scale up the platform to give a more thorough service to travelers wishing to spend crypto assets.
Crypto Travel Firm’s Bookings Skyrocket 68% Following Expedia Partnership
According to Travala.com CEO Juan Otero, the firm’s booking revenue increased by 75% in two weeks after partnering with Expedia.
Cryptocurrency travel platform Travala.com saw the number of rooms booked through its platform grow sharply after a recent integration with booking giant Expedia.
According to Travala.com CEO Juan Otero, the firm’s booking revenue increased by 75% in the two weeks after partnering with Expedia. The overall number of bookings grew by 68% over the same period.
Otero Explained That The Portion Of Bookings Paid For With Crypto Assets Has Also Sharply Increased:
“We’re also seeing a sharp increase in the number of bookings paid with cryptocurrencies, particularly in the native AVA token as the preferred crypto payment option after Bitcoin. From 59% of the total bookings in June paid with cryptocurrencies to almost 70% so far in July following the recent partnership with Expedia.”
According to Otero, in February — before the world pandemic — Travala.com reached monthly booking values close to $400,000 with 60% being paid for in cryptocurrency. During the current month, he expects the firm to exceed $200,000 in monthly booking revenues.
Partnerships Drive Travala’s Growth
Otero believes that the Expedia partnership is a significant factor in Travala.com’s growth pace. He explained:
“The easing of travel restrictions has definitely impacted our recovery, however the acceleration of growth we’re witnessing since the partnership with Expedia is significant. As we partner with more leading travel suppliers like Expedia, the Travala.com platform becomes more and more competitive.”
The CEO also stated that Travala.com is in talks with several other major potential business partners.
Indeed, the crypto-enabled travel platform has already seen significant partnerships earlier this year. In February, it integrated with Hong Kong-based crypto payments provider Crypto.com, while in May, Travala merged with another crypto-denominated travel platform, TravelByBit.
Swipe Visa Card Adds Crypto Travel Booking Site’s AVA Token
Travala.com’s native token AVA will now be added to the Swipe wallet service and Visa card platform — making it spendable at 60 million merchants worldwide.
At a time of unprecedented upheaval in the global tourism industry, blockchain-based travel booking service Travala and Swipe aim to boost crypto’s useability.
Announced on July 24, Travala’s native token AVA will now be added to the Swipe wallet service and Visa card platform — reportedly making it spendable at 60 million merchants.
AVA will also be supported by Samsung Pay, Google Pay and Apple Pay through Swipe’s integration with these services. In addition, the AVA token will be available to the 500,000 users of Swipe’s multi-asset digital wallet.
The news follows shortly after Swipe’s acquisition by major crypto exchange Binance and the trading platform’s issuance of a Swipe-powered crypto debit card, Binance Card. Travala.com, for its part, migrated to Binance Chain in fall of last year.
A Web Of Partnerships Bringing Crypto To Multiple Platforms
In addition to AVA’s integration into the Swipe platform, Swipe’s native token SXP will be added to Travala.com as a preferred payment option for bookings at over 2 million hotels across 230 countries.
Among these are accommodation options listed at Expedia, Booking.com and Priceline, all of which have previously partnered with Swipe to enable crypto-friendly travel booking services.
Travala’s customers can pay with its proprietary AVA token and a large list of major crypto assets that includes Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Dash (DASH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), EOS, Stellar (XLM), Cardano (ADA), Binance Chain (BNB), Monero (XMR), Tron (TRX), XRP and Dai (DAI).
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Travala CEO Juan Otero claimed the two-way integration of Travala and Swipe’s native tokens would be “massive for adoption.”
When spent using Swipe’s Visa debit cards, cryptocurrencies like AVA are instantly converted into fiat currency, making them usable anywhere that accepts Visa or mobile payment services.
New Strategies For The “New Normal”
As previously reported, Travala recently announced that its monthly revenue saw a 205% increase this May as compared to April — a signal of possible recovery following the major dent to bookings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May, the company merged with TravelByBit, which provides services for flight bookings at over 600 airlines. By offering tokenized rewards and multiple crypto payments options, both firms hope that they can show more resilience than traditional alternatives during the global downturn.
Travala Adds 600,000+ Hotels To Their Crypto Booking Platform
Travala is expanding its crypto-powered offerings thanks to a new partnership.
Travala.com has recently added an additional 600,000 hotels to its crypto-powered online travel platform thanks to a recent partnership with booking giant, Agoda.
Travala’s CEO, Juan Otero, told Cointelegraph that the number of properties on the platform has now reached over 2.2 million in total. He claimed:
“We can safely say we are the world’s largest blockchain-based online travel agency by number of accommodation options available with over 2,200,000 options to book covering 90,124 destinations.”
Agoda is a travel industry giant that — according to company data website Owler — employs over 4,300 people and has a yearly revenue of $1.2 billion.
The announcement follows Travala.com’s partnership with Expedia in early July, which also introduced a considerable number of hotels to the platform. At the end of November 2019, the firm also struck a similar partnership with Booking.com. This resulted in bookings on the platform skyrocketing by 68% shortly thereafter.
In May, Travala.com — at the time just an accommodation booking service — also merged with crypto-powered flight booking service TravelByBit.
Travala Adds 1 Million More Holiday Homes You Can Book With Crypto
Travala.com now offers a total of 3 million accommodation options users can book with cryptocurrency.
Online travel booking platform Travala.com has added one million new homes across 195 countries to its site with the release of a designated home bookings section called ‘Homes’.
Holiday homes and apartments can be booked with over 30 different cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Binance Coin (BNB), and Travala.com’s native coin AVA.
The Travala Blog announced that the addition of Homes “marks Travala.com’s entry into one of the fastest growing verticals of the travel industry.”
In a first quarter earnings call with parent company Booking Holdings, it was revealed that there is a trend towards domestic bookings and alternatives to traditional hotels. Travala.com CEO Juan Otero referenced this trend:
“Demand for non-hotel accommodation is growing fast so the launch of Homes couldn’t come at a better time.”
These additions have brought Travala.com’s travel products that can be booked with cryptocurrencies to over 3 million, Otero added.
Earlier this week, Travala.com announced its partnership with booking giant Agoda, while a partnership with Expedia was announced in July 2020 and Booking.com in Nov 2019. The travel booking platform has also partnered with blockchain based booking service TravelByBit and is backed by Binance.
Crypto Travel Agency Travala To Use Binance Chain For Decentralized Services
The firm plans to become a fully decentralized online travel agency.
Cryptocurrency travel agency Travala.com announced that it started a collaboration with Binance Chain aiming to decentralize its services.
Travala.com intends to roll out decentralized reviews, decentralized accommodation bookings, a decentralized referral system and a decentralized salesforce. The firm’s CEO Juan Otero explained that — in the future — users will be dealing directly with the property owners, leveraging blockchain’s disintermediation potential:
“Under this decentralized model, accommodation seekers will be able to book stays without the need for an intermediary. Said another way, individuals seeking to rent an apartment, bedroom, or hotel room will be able to deal directly with property owners.”
Otero explained that Travala.com will only provide the technology needed to facilitate bookings, including tools for user reputation, dispute mediation and governance mechanisms. Travel service providers will be able to control all the aspects of their online listings and deal directly with their customers.
After Travala.com launches the decentralized accommodation booking system, the firm plans to focus its efforts on developing a decentralized review service. Reviews will be stored on-chain to ensure that they cannot be removed or edited after they have been submitted.
Otero also explained that — in order to prevent fake reviews — Travala.com intends to use tokenized incentives and only allow reviews from users that have visited a given location by booking on the platform.
So far, Otero does not have a clear idea of how much of Travala.com’s business he can move on chain. He explained that “in the long-run, ideally all aspects of the [decentralized online travel agency] will be on-chain” but admitted that this may not be practical:
“Realistically we will have to phase out what aspects of the [firm] are on-chain. As we are closer to the implementation of certain features we will review the trade-offs of being on-chain versus off-chain.”
This is the latest in a long series of announcements by Travala.com which apparently is currently pursuing an aggressive expansion of its business.
Earlier this month, Travala.com added over 600.000 hotels through a partnership with booking giant Agoda. In July, Expedia also partnered with the firm, adding over 700,000 accommodations to the platform, which resulted in a 68% increase in bookings.
Travala Launches Decentralized Home-Sharing Service — Will It Be The Next Airbnb?
The site claims to repair “the broken relationship between hosts and guests created by existing centralized home-sharing platforms.”
Pro-crypto travel booking agency Travala.com is releasing a decentralized property rental service.
In a Wednesday announcement, Travala said it had partnered with former executives from Airbnb, Expedia, and other companies to launch Dtravel, a decentralized vacation rental platform that may serve as a competitor for sites like Airbnb and Vrbo. The platform is community governed through Dtravel’s Decentralized Autonomous Organization, or DAO, and uses DeFi to facilitate smart contracts between hosts and guests.
Dtravel claims to repair “the broken relationship between hosts and guests created by existing centralized home-sharing platforms.” The platform said that issues stemming from centralized control on competing home-sharing platforms have led to high fees and lack of direct communications between hosts and guests, in addition to many not allowing cryptocurrency as a payment option.
“Traditional home sharing platforms are aligned with their users in the early stages, but over time this changes,” said Travala co-founder and CEO Juan Otero. “With the need to return profits to shareholders, home-sharing platforms are forced to extract as much as possible from transactions on their platforms.”
Many have criticized platforms like Airbnb for higher-ups rarely — if ever — changing policies in response to customer feedback. For example, Airbnb unilaterally decided to issue many refunds to guests for cancellations at the beginning of the pandemic last year, but often did not provide a means for guests who cancelled prior to a certain date to receive compensation. The move led to a public outcry from many Airbnb hosts and guests.
Users on the booking site can use Dtravel’s TRVL token to pay for stays and participate in platform governance. However, the token can also be used for staking to qualify for certain rewards. The site has promised to distribute $35 million worth of the token — on the Binance Smart Chain and the Ethereum Network — to the first 100,000 hosts who register.
The launch of the booking platform comes when vaccinated U.S. residents are able to enter many other countries without a 14-day quarantine. Some countries in Europe have opened up to U.S. travelers, as airlines are reportedly preparing for an air travel spike this summer.
As of May, Travala had more than 183,000 monthly active users. In addition, 72% of all bookings that month were paid for using cryptocurrencies. Dtravel is backed by a $5 million seed round from Kenetic Capital, Future Perfect Ventures, DHVC, Plutus VC, GBV Capital, AU21 Capital, Shima Capital, LD Capital and NGC Ventures, and several angel investors.
Bitcoin Runs The World: Traveling To 40 Countries In 400 Days With BTC
A runner and Bitcoin hodler from India is on a mission to travel to 40 countries in 400 days using Bitcoin only.
A fast-moving Bitcoiner has run through seven of 40 countries on his Bitcoin-powered marathon around the world.
Paco the Runner, also known as Paco de la India, set off on Sept. 17, 2021, paying for his entire running trip thanks to all the Bitcoiners around the world. He’s showing that “Bitcoin gives everyone freedom in the way they desire it.”
Paco went from “living a lie on the fiat standard” to traveling the world living off Bitcoin (BTC) only when a dear friend gifted him the book, The Bitcoin Standard. The reading and subsequent conversations with friends about money and the nature of the world led him down the Bitcoin rabbit hole.
He told Cointelegraph that “once you see it, you can’t unsee it.” He’d been orange-pilled:
“It was a full moon night, and my friend asked, do I wanna travel the world? I said yes. He says, ‘You have to travel on Bitcoin.’”
From that moment onward, Paco’s travel plans morphed into a “Bitcoin awareness, mass adoption, and showing the kindness of humans” campaign. He documents the journey and every Bitcoin transaction via travel vlogs and social media updates.
He is keen to “share Bitcoin with people from different walks of life is a blessing. To be able to share the importance of Bitcoin compared to shit coins with everyone is like one of the best works.”
So far, he has successfully lived off BTC through the first seven countries of his travels. He only uses “cash for public transport.” Nonetheless, the Bitcoin-only journey has not gone without a hitch.
While visiting Sri Lanka, he lost his “room keys and the hotel owner was upset.”
“I requested for a spare copy and ran to a neighboring town, and there was no electricity. Finally, it came, and I asked him will he accept Bitcoin, he said yes. LIKE WTF. BITCOIN KEY MAKER.”
He also recalls the moment he arrived at the Koh Samui in Thailand, an island known for its anti-Bitcoin sentiment. He was scared, as it was a new island, 100 kilometers big. Panic set in as Paco thought to himself, How I am going to live on such a large island with no money?
Fortunately, he started walking the island, and “In 200 meters, I saw a sign that said the place accepts Bitcoin. Like, the universe conspired for this to happen.”
He Also Recounted:
“A train ride in India and my neighbor had a Trust wallet, gave him a few sats and got me dinner for the night. A guide in India, [who I] convinced him to accept Bitcoin. [In] Cambodia, I went for a pub crawl and paid for it on Bitcoin.”
The list goes on and on: a banana bread baker in Cambodia, “haircuts, burgers, Tuk-tuk, dentists,” even a “silver coin” paid for with BTC.
It’s not easy, but Paco recommends that for other aspirational Bitcoin travelers, it’s best to start small:
“Orange pill your neighbor, your favorite shop, bar, cinema, start sharing your sats. It’s easy for them to learn from a known face like yours. Be that little pebble that you throw in the lake, and it will create ripples that coming generations will benefit.”
In the meantime, Paco will continue his runs around the world, meeting Bitcoiners and pre-coiners while spending sats. He concluded, “Every step you take now will shape your future.”
Have Bitcoin, Will Travel? 4 Strategies For Crypto-Vacations
A host of companies–including luxury ski resorts and at least one surf town—let you pay for R&R services with digital cash.
MAYBE YOU’RE still flush with crypto cash. Or perhaps your Bitcoin portfolio is hemorrhaging value amid the recent turbulence. Either way, if turning digital assets into rest and relaxation sounds appealing, you have options.
Marko Jovic, a 41-year-old telecom engineer from Belgrade, Serbia, began using crypto to pay for vacations in 2021. He said despite a recent fall in value he can pay for a lot of things with his crypto. “You can basically do anything you want with crypto,” said Mr. Jovic.
Now that you can get debit cards linked to cryptocurrency portfolios, it’s never been easier to use digital cash while on the move. But for travelers who want to avoid the extra fees associated with using a crypto card, the alternative is to seek out merchants willing to accept cryptocurrency like Bitcoin directly.
Luckily, a growing list of companies, hotels and destinations are eager to do business with crypto consumers. Here, a few up-to-the-minute moves:
1. Book A Trip Via An Online Travel Agency
Travala.com has emerged as the leader among the handful of online booking sites that accept crypto. It may offer fewer routes and destinations than traditional air-travel sites do and sometimes list slightly higher prices, said Mr. Jovic, who recently used it to book a flight to Budapest, but he finds the ability to pay with crypto outweighs those factors. While Travala co-founder and CEO Juan Otero, who worked at Booking.com in the late 2000s, agrees his company needs to be more competitive on airfare, he argues that its luxury hotel offerings compare well to rivals’. Of Travala’s monthly active users, Mr. Otero said, an-above average number opt for “four- and five-star hotels.” Omar Hamwi, a 37-year-old crypto professional from Washington, D.C., and self-described loyal customer of Travala, booked a stay most recently at the five-star Fairmont Orchid in Hawaii. “I have idle crypto so I generally do like to use it when I can,” he said.
2. Buy A Flight Ticket Directly With The Airline
You can book flights directly with at least one crypto-friendly airline—AirBaltic, Latvia’s premier carrier which services more than 70 destinations, primarily in the Baltics and Europe—but if you’re not flying out of Riga, it may be hard to take advantage. Still, according to the airline, since it began accepting crypto back in 2014, more than 1,000 customers have purchased tickets that way.
3. Reserve A Swanky Hotel
The Chedi, a chic luxury resort in the Swiss Alps lets guests pay with Bitcoin or Ethereum, as long as they’re spending more than $200 when paying for rooms or services like ski rentals and spa days—easily done since room rates generally start at $650 a night. The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts, a boutique hotel group with locations in Europe and Asia including Rome, Amsterdam, Bali and Phuket, also accepts cryptocurrency bookings. For travelers who prefer to spend their crypto gains stateside, there’s the Kessler Collection, whose portfolio include several hotels in the southern U.S., as well as a ski lodge in Beaver Creek, Colo.
4. Visit A ‘Cryptopia’
If anything close to a crypto Utopia exists, it’s the surf town of El Zonte, El Salvador, otherwise known as “Bitcoin Beach.” There, travelers can grub on pupusas after a day of surf lessons at El Zonte’s point break, and pay for it all with Bitcoin. “Most of the merchants accept Bitcoin,” said Carol Souza, a Brazilian influencer focused on educating people about crypto. Other cities are expected to follow suit. Earlier this month, the small picturesque city of Lugano, Switzerland, announced it is also adopting cryptocurrency as legal tender.
Dtravel Completes First Smart-Contract Vacation Rental Booking
After months of reworking its product and user experience, the Web3 platform is building out its site with greater autonomy for both renters and hosts.
Web3 vacation and short-term rental platform Dtravel has completed its first successful smart-contract booking, the company said Thursday.
A customer booked a $2,000 USDC stay at a property in London through a property owner who listed his home through the BNB chain-based company’s V2 of its pilot program, which has been in beta for the past month.
Dtravel’s first smart contract-based booking comes after a monthslong effort to make the site more user-friendly while still upholding principles of Web3.
Binance-backed travel booking site Travala.com first announced the release of the Dtravel platform in June 2021 and launched the initial version in November 2021.
Dtravel head of growth Cynthia Huang told CoinDesk that early users voiced a desire for greater autonomy in the marketplace the company had originally built.
They took the early months of 2022 to listen to user feedback and research its approach to empower hosts to have ownership over their bookings, transactions and payment options.
“The huge value proposition that we have with this product specifically is that hosts truly own their own smart contract and they own the payment flow of that, too,” said Huang.
With the site’s implementation of direct bookings, users can book stays directly from the owner on the BNB chain. The smart contract is run between the renter and the host, eliminating all third-party platforms and giving the hosts full autonomy over the terms of their hospitality.
Users can pay their hosts for their stays in stablecoins such as UDSC, USDT and BUSD. Huang said the company is exploring in the coming months the possibility of being multichain, as well as incorporating additional cryptocurrency payment options.
Dtravel is also working on bolstering its community through its DAO. With its native token TRVL, homeowners and renters can vote on proposals such as building new marketing features or host tools for the platform.
It’s also looking to onboard users newer to the crypto space, rather than solely experienced Travala users. Huang said Dtravel plans to incorporate more login options and wallet integrations for those joining the platform from Web2, as well as give TRVL tokens to guests to encourage governance participation to get acquainted with the DAO.
Huang told CoinDesk that Dtravel will be available to the public in the next two months.
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