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Booking Travel With Cryptocurrency Is On The Rise, But There Are Consequences
As cryptocurrency continues to increase in popularity, the travel industry is starting to embrace it. Companies are now looking to attract crypto holders worldwide, and booking travel with cryptocurrency is on the rise.
Initially seen as an investment asset, companies are allowing customers to use it as an official method of payment for their goods and services. From Starbucks to Tesla, and this trend will only increase over the next few years.
A survey conducted by Travala.com found that 22% of American travelers are booking travel with cryptocurrency or are looking to use it to pay for part of their next trip. In August, the online travel company reported that 75% of the nearly $3,435,064 million in bookings made on Travala.com used cryptocurrency.
It included accommodations, flights, activities and integration fees.
“The number of bookings using crypto has steadily risen month over month to record highs, even during the pandemic,” Juan Otero, Travala.com’s CEO, told USA Today. “It’s a sign that more people have crypto, and they want to spend it on travel.”
In June 2021, there were 3,200 searches for keywords related to travel and cryptocurrencies, compared to almost none a year ago, according to Similarweb, a web analytics company. It’s a “niche” area of interest, Alisha Kapur, a travel industry consultant at Similarweb told USA Today.
Besides Travala, CheapAir.com is also one of the few travel companies that accept bookings to be paid in crypto. Online travel sites like Travala.com now allow you to book more than 3 million travel products worldwide. Also, travel giant Expedia has gotten into Bitcoin through its partnership with crypto-friendly travel booking platform Travala, which allows booking 700,000 hotels from the website’s listings with more than 30 different cryptos, including Bitcoin.
As for airline companies, Latvian airline airBaltic became the first aviation company in the world to accept Bitcoin as payment for fares back in 2014. According to the company, it has processed more than 1,000 Bitcoin transactions since it launched the payment option. Its decision to do so inspired Eastern European airline, LOT Polish Airlines, and the British airline company Virgin Galactic to follow suit.
The hotel industry is also starting to enter the cryptocurrency world, though still hesitant. Recently, the luxurious Chedi Andermatt Hotel in Switzerland started to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for rooms. Other luxury hotels brands like Kessler Collection, Sandman Hotels, and Casual Hotels have also announced it would accept crypto.
The greatest advantage for travelers who decide to use crypto is to escape from exchange fees, and avoiding your travel budget being hurt. Another great things about cryptocurrencies is you have price stability in countries where currencies are unstable.
However, not everything is perfect.
There are virtually no consumer protections when you pay with a cryptocurrency. Also, booking with cryptocurrency is not an easy process, and despite the fact that cryptos eliminate exchange fees, it is also true that in almost all cases companies accepting cryptocurrencies are using some kind of intermediary platform to handle the payment— whether it’s Coinbase or BitPay.
With all being said, weigh the pros and cons of booking a trip with cryptocurrency first. This trend is becoming a reality in terms of business and financial transactions, with more people doing it now than ever before.