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.