Alexander Spatari | Moment | Getty Images
You’ll probably have to use cryptocurrency to pay for that ransomware hacker that froze your laptop, but where else can you put all your bitcoin, ether, and other digital currencies to use?
Tesla may also be hesitant to accept bitcoin for its electric vehicles, yet cryptocurrency holders may be enriched in other ways now that travel providers are warming up to the idea.
The website Airair Cheapair.com, the Latvian carrier Air Baltic and Virgin Galactic of Richard Branson have long accepted bitcoin, and the Berlin tour booking site and activity GetYourGuide began to take dogecoin, processed via BitPay, in June as part of its expansion into the United States
Cryptocurrency transactions “really matter for travel” and his company is looking to accept other currencies going forward, said Johannes Reck, CEO and co-founder of GetYourGuide.
“People want to put their crypto in the system [and] travel is one of the biggest categories there is, “he added.” We take dogecoin now in the real world; you can apply it and actually get a real-world kinetic experience. ”
More from Personal Finance:
Amadeus adds fintech from the Hopper travel app
The app offers skeptical travelers 60 days of hotel tax freeze
Expanding the reach of the United States, the travel site is beginning to accept dogecoin
Cryptocurrency also attracts the younger generations of travelers, industry players say.
Alex Simon, co-founder and CEO of the travel app Elude, which is set to be released, said next-generation tourists are “looking for modern ways to plan and book trips.”
“The ability to buy your plane or hotel ticket through bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is inevitable,” he added. “Even though the travel industry is outdated, the new generation of travelers, Gen Z and Gen Alpha, will demand new forms of payment and alternative ways to buy travel.” (Gen Alpha is generally thought to be composed of those born after 2010, often the children of millennials.)
Other tourism players currently working in crypto include the new World Resorts Las Vegas property in Nevada, which takes it for selected payments through a partnership with UK cryptocurrency exchange company Gemini, and the Bobby Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, where guests can book stays and events with dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies via BitPay.
For its part, the giant of online travel agency Expedia has stopped accepting bitcoin directly back in 2018, but 700,000 hotels and accommodations of the Expedia Group are available via the crypto-friendly booking platform Travala.com since in 2020.
Travala.com is also partnering with Tripadvisor company, Viator, to offer more than 400,000 bookable activities, as well as a Zomato food delivery suit.
At Travala.com’s self-described “blockchain-based” platform, which accepts payments in its own native altcoin AVA and even 50 other cryptocurrencies, 70% of all bookings are now in digital currency, according to CEO Juan Otero. The company said it currently sees more than $ 1 million a week in business.
“These are massive collaborations with some of the largest online travel brands in the world, all of which embrace the crypt,” Otero said. “In total, Travala.com offers more than 3 million travel products, making us not only the largest crypto-friendly [online travel agency], but one of the largest in general. ”
Is UB B&B now “bed-and-blockchain”?
Matthew Leete | Photodisc | Getty Images
The cryptocurrency model is also beginning to change the travel industry itself. Otero said it’s at the heart of Dtravel, which he described as a new decentralized home-sharing network, built on the blockchain model, which Travala.com launched in June.
“There isn’t a single business council that makes all the decisions,” he said. “Instead, this new in-house sharing network is driven entirely by their community through their ‘Decentralized Autonomous Organization’ in which any host or guest can participate.”
Otero said the blockchain technology that Dtravel is building facilitates “smart contracts” between hosts and hosts. The platform centers around TRVL, its native crypto token.
The token is provided to all registered guests and any guest can purchase; those with TRVL are voting members of the Dtravel DAO. (More than $ 35 million in TRVL rewards were reserved for the first 100,000 guests who registered in Dtravel, Otero said. On July 21, Dtravel announced more than 200,000 properties in more than 2,000 cities had joined; the platform has set a goal of listing more than 1 million rentals in its first year.)
“Guests can propose changes – for example, tax structure, organizational policy, use of community treasuries – and vote, allowing [them] to control the fate of the Dtravel platform to adapt to its evolving needs, ”he said.
All that makes sense, Otero said, in a world of about 100 million cryptocurrency holders where consumers have spent more than $ 1 billion in cryptocurrencies on the Visa network in the first half of 2021. alone April 1 Travala.com survey of 1,000 Americans have found that 71% of respondents plan to spend more on travel than before Covid, and a surprising quarter say they will use the cryptocurrency to pay for part of it.
However, crypto traffic may seem to some the target of a special subset of the population – say, the Elon Moss of the world. But in general, people who use digital currencies on Travala.com reserve everything from budgeting to online travel agencies to their luxury Concierge-branded products, Otero said, and their favorite destinations don’t differ. many of those reserved by people who traditionally pay money or credit.
“Certainly there is no isolated island where a few crypto enthusiasts travel,” he added, although he noted that crypto adoption has been higher than the global average in the second and third destinations of crypto. Travala.com, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. (The United States is the No. 1 seller of the platform.)
“With more people holding cryptocurrencies and more companies accepting them for real-world things, travel is naturally a desirable experience to use crypto,” he said.
Of course, bitcoin and competing currencies can fluctuate wildly in value; that’s why travel providers tend not to rely on volatile tokens but have third-party payment processors that convert them into fiat value at the time of purchase, Otero says.
Consumers also reserve their options. “We generally see more payments with the credit card to travel when crypto prices fall against when they are very high,” Otero said.