Travala.com, a Binance-backed online travel agency (OTA), is adding support for Expedia bookings in a partnership that brings bitcoin payments back to the travel giant’s properties for the first time since 2018.
- The Australia-based booking platform plugged into Expedia Group Partner Services’ “Rapid API” and its 700,000 listed hotels on Monday.
- Travala.com users can pay for Expedia listings in over 30 cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, which Expedia had accepted before shelving the option in June 2018.
- “Their booking flow isn’t built for [crypto] like ours" is, Travala.com CEO Juan Otero told CoinDesk. “It was a bit of a nightmare for them to accept bitcoin payments.”
- Expedia Partner Services' Senior Vice President Alfonso Paredes said in a press statement that Expedia recognizes that “payment choice continues to evolve.” He said the partnership will help Travala.com scale.
- The partnership marks a rare alliance between a crypto-focused firm and its widely-known, juggernaut competitor: Expedia is the world’s second-largest OTA. “Travala is one of the very few projects in the crypto space that is bridging the gap to traditional multinationals in a huge way,” Otero said.
- Otero said the partnership comes as his travel business rebounds from its COVID-19 lows. In June, Travala.com's month-over month booking revenue surged 170% (to $184,000) and room night bookings jumped 81%. Additionally 13% of bookings were paid in Travala.com's AVA token, a crypto equivalent of loyalty points and airline miles.
- “Working with Expedia means we can drive traveler loyalty throughout the recovery period,” he said.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.