At a time when the travel industry has been forced onto its knees due to worldwide travel bans, flight cancellations, airlines going bust, and quarantine restrictions, some companies hope to trigger growth through innovation.
The coronavirus pandemic has all but eradicated worldwide travel for months and many holidays booked for this year have been canceled, with some consumers accepting promissory notes in the form of future travel vouchers in lieu of refunds.
However, as some countries begin to ease travel restrictions and others consider flight corridors to remove the need for quarantine, Expedia and Travala.com have expanded payment options for travelers, potentially in a bid to encourage customers to consider traveling once more.
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A new partnership between the travel giant and accommodation booking platform will now facilitate the booking of Expedia's 700,000 hotels and accommodation options on the Travala.com platform via cryptocurrency, the companies said in an announcement on Monday.
In total, over 30 different forms of virtual currency can be used, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Binance Coin (BNB), and AVA, the latter of which is a digital coin offered directly by Travala.com.
Cryptocurrency payments will be made via Rapid, a booking API offered by the Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS) subsidiary. Expedia Group's senior VP Alfonso Paredes said the company aims to scale up Travala.com's business through the cryptocurrency service and API integration.
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This is not the first time Expedia has experimented with cryptocurrency-based payments. The company began accepting BTC for hotel bookings back in 2014, but four years later, the option was scrapped.
Travala.com CEO Juan Otero said the re-integration of cryptocurrency for travel bookings will give consumers "payment choice and transparent pricing for every trip booked."
The executive added that travel bookings appear to be on the road to recovery, with website traffic doubling in recent weeks and increased booking rates.
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"Working with Expedia means we can drive traveler loyalty throughout the recovery period," Otero commented.
In May, Travala.com merged with Binance-backed TravelbyBit, a flight booking portal. Over time, the companies will cross-market travel options, including payment options using Travala.com's AVA cryptocurrency for purchasing flights.
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