A Holiday Inn hotel in Brooklyn, New York, is to start accepting bitcoin payments in a pilot programme later this week.
The announcement was made by bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem at the inaugural Bitcoin Fair – a weekly digital currency-friendly pushcart market in New York City – who added that he would be in charge of the scheme.
In a brief chat with NewsBTC, Shrem said the Park Slope Holiday Inn Express, located on Union Street in Brooklyn, is a good choice for bitcoin, attracting as it does a large number of foreign travellers.
Bitcoin reservations will be possible either by phone, online or in person, he said.
Shrem further noted that the hotel caters to European tourists and that the company is excited about the potential fee savings and a reduction in chargeback risks offered by bitcoin.
“Accepting a European credit card comes with almost double the fees as US credit cards and much more chargeback risk,” Shrem pointed out.
More locations could follow
If all goes well, the Park Slope hotel could be just the first Holiday Inn to accept bitcoin. Shrem explained that bitcoin could be rolled out to more locations and if the trial "goes smoothly". It will all depend on the response the chain gets during the pilot, he said.
Shrem added that the hotel plans to keep a percentage of its bitcoin income and convert the rest to dollars in order to cover its expenses. However, he did not say what this percentage would be.
Last week, travel bookings giant Expedia announced that it too will start accepting bitcoin for hotel reservations and will integrate bitcoin as a payment option for all customers at check-out, alongside more traditional payment options, such as PayPal.
Expedia has a market cap of $9.75bn, making it one of the biggest companies to accept bitcoin to date. The company covers a wide range of travel services, offering bookings for airline tickets, cruise tickets, rental cars and various related activities.
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