Binance-backed Travala.com has executed a flurry of partnerships in the online travel agent (OTA) industry in recent months, making it the leader of blockchain-based travel. Travala.com’s deal-making success in the OTA sector establishes an important bridge from the cryptocurrency world to previously crypto-averse multinationals, while Travala.com’s consumer-facing offering makes cryptocurrency-based payments a reality for travel booking.
The fast-growing accommodation booking platform has, in the last month, separately announced partnerships with OTA giants Expedia and Agoda, adding 700,000 and 600,000 accommodation listings, respectively. Those deals, which integrate API access, come on the heels of a partnership with Booking.com, announced in Q4 2019, to bring the total listings on Travala.com to over 2.2 million globally. By that measure, Travala.com is now among the biggest OTAs in the world.
Travala.com users can book trips using more than 30 forms of cryptocurrency, including BNB, BUSD, Bitcoin, and AVA, Travala’s native cryptocurrency. Consumers also have the option of using both standard and crypto-backed credit cards.
“The string of partnerships we’ve been able to secure are strong signals that the traditional OTA industry is finally accepting the idea of using cryptocurrencies as a standard form of payment for travel bookings,” said Travala.com CEO and Co-founder Juan Otero. “This bodes well for cryptocurrency adoption. If people can use crypto to pay for travel – a sector that accounts for 10% of global economic activity – it’s an important step for taking crypto mainstream, and that’s something we’re extremely proud to be a part of.”
That multinationals like Booking Holdings and Expedia Group are willing to work with crypto-first companies like Travala.com also suggests a sea-change in the crypto industry’s image.
“These giant multinationals are eager to partner with us because they recognize that while consumer booking and payment choices are rapidly evolving, they personally find it challenging to accommodate crypto payments due to technical restraints,” said Otero. Expedia, for instance, discontinued its acceptance of Bitcoin in 2018 likely due to a lack of custodial management expertise, according to a report from Cointelegraph.
As a crypto-native startup, Travala.com is in a strong position to provide value add in the burgeoning OTA market, which is expected to exceed 10% CAGR to generate revenue in excess of $1 trillion by 2023, according to a 2019 report from Market Research Future.
Founded in 2017 with a vision to align travel booking in the ethos of decentralized technology, Travala.com offers a high-level of pricing transparency backed up by its Best Price Guarantee. With a roadmap that includes features like decentralized reviews (allowing reviewers to generate income from their reviews) and a decentralized salesforce (achieved by integrating tokenized rewards as incentives), Travala’s value proposition is bolstered by its native token AVA.
Users of the booking platform who choose to pay in AVA receive discounts and bonuses, and there are additional incentives for users who lock up AVA. Together these features represent a strong loyalty draw in the OTA segment, which is notoriously fickle due to a combination of nearly identically priced accommodation offerings and broadly undifferentiated user experience across booking platforms.
Travala’s SMART staking program has so far resulted in the locking of nearly 20% of AVA’s circulating supply, as close to 2000 SMART members so far seek to gain access to the progressively lucrative rewards along five tiers. The success of the staking program in recent months has no doubt contributed to an increase in bookings as members point to the unmatched pricing and rewards as a leading factor in their booking decisions.
People are also clearly excited about the progress being made by the Travala.com team. Having built a world-class travel booking platform, the Travala.com team is now enjoying distinct signs of success, despite the strong headwinds currently faced in the travel industry due to COVID-19.
While revenues across the travel industry plunged in the face of COVID-related travel restrictions and a drop in consumer confidence, in recent months many regions have seen a rebound, albeit with a shift in consumption patterns toward more local travel bookings. Travala.com is no exception.
In July, Travala.com generated a record US $430,000 in monthly revenue, a more than 130% month over month increase, with almost 70% of all customer bookings paid in crypto and again a focus on local options. The platform also recently launched its Homes vertical.
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