On March 4th, we had an AMA session with Travala.com, the world’s leading blockchain-based travel booking platform, in our Telegram Chat. The team members present on the discussion with our community were Juan Otero (Co-Founder & CSO), Steve Hipwell (COO) and Drew Cowie (CFO).
Here are the essential points of the AMA session:
Please welcome Juan (J), Steve (S), Drew (D) and the questions from our Telegram chat members (Q).
Travala and its platform
Q: Why should everyone use Travala?
J: Travala.com offers better prices, more choices and more transparency and is also a true champion of cryptocurrency adoption so we should all use it for travel bookings.
Q: How anonymous is your client platform? Is complete anonymity possible?
J: We follow all the standard data protection regulations and as we develop more decentralized aspects of the project we hope we will be able to offer more anonymity.
Q: What non-crypto payment options can we use?
J: Users can pay with traditional fiat options including credit cards and PayPal as well as with over 25 different leading cryptocurrencies and our native AVA token. As we continue to focus on offering more options for our users, we will keep adding more payment options. We are in the process of adding Alipay, WeChat pay, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Q: Are there any discounts or bonus offers for the users?
J: Yes. Users staking AVA on the Travala.com platform can get access to further exclusive discounts.
Q: What was your motivation to build Travala?
J: We want to disrupt the traditional online travel agencies. Travala.com’s vision is to align travel booking with the ethos of decentralized technology. That being, promote accessibility to anyone, anywhere, offer censorship-resistant and peer-to-peer transactions, and build open-source technology controlled by software and governed by users.
Q: Any promotions available for users right now to earn some AVA?
S: Yes. Invite people to join Travala.com. For every person you invite that completes a booking of US$200 or more, you will both receive US$50 worth of AVA rewards to your wallet after the invitee completes the stay at the property. More info at https://travala.com/invite.
Q: Why does travel booking need to be decentralized?
J: The online travel booking model was revolutionary when it arrived over 20 years ago, but in its current form is outdated. The success of disruptors such as Airbnb shows that consumers are ready to migrate to platforms that empower more reasonable pricing, allow smaller suppliers to compete more freely, and make more relevant the impact of user reputation and trustworthy reviews.
Q: Is Travala cheaper than other booking sites?
J: Yes. We are normally around 15% cheaper than other mainstream travel booking sites.
Q: Why should a customer book on Travala instead of booking directly with the hotel?
J: We offer better prices, more choices, more transparency and several other advantages.
Q: What was the most surprising thing you have learned from your users?
J: The high engagement. Our users are extremely engaged with our brand and very valuable for us with significantly higher LTVs than industry standards.
Q: How do you deal with cryptocurrency payments?
D: We have partnerships with multiple cryptocurrency payment processors.
Q: How did the community bring you new opportunities as a business and how did you utilize these opportunities to build?
D: The community provides feedback, ideas for product and token development, referring friends and much more. We try and reward the community as much as possible.
Q: How can a hotel manager make a partnership with Travala’s booking services?
D: We plan to implement a direct contract program and decentralized travel booking platform in the future where local hotels can join the Travala.com ecosystem.
Q: Could you share your team’s background?
J: Within the Travala.com team are experienced professionals in blockchain development, travel, and FinTech from some of the world’s largest companies. The majority of team members are located in Hanoi, Vietnam, whereas others are globally distributed.
Q: What are the main factors influencing AVA prices? How can AVA be different and become a potential business?
D: Supply and demand. Demand is influenced by the utility of AVA and some speculation. The supply of AVA is already determined. As of lately, demand for AVA is outstripping supply which is why prices of AVA are going up.
Q: What are the advantages of holding AVA for the long term?
J: AVA features front-and-center in our unique selling proposition to users. It can be used as an additional method of payment for bookings, or as the sole payment method for special offers. It can be staked for access to enhanced rewards, or directly recouped for the equivalent fiat value on partner exchanges.
Q: Compared to the usual payment methods, what is the benefit of paying for cryptocurrencies in travel reservations for customers, partners and Travala?
D: Transactions fees are lower and for holders of cryptocurrency, we offer them utility. On many occasions, we have also offered special promotions for people to spend cryptocurrency such as our latest offer for 5% cashback with bookings made in Binance Coin.
Q: Are there other ways other than the SMART rewards that have been implemented to encourage the use of AVA on the platform instead of many other payment options?
J: Yes. For example, we recently implemented the option to pay partially with AVA in combination with other payment options. We continue to add more use cases to the AVA token as the main pillar of the Travala.com ecosystem.
Q: What is the primary use case of AVA token in the Travala ecosystem?
J: AVA’s functionality makes it critical to the success of Travala.com. The interplay of AVA use cases is designed to encourage loyalty to the Travala.com platform while increasing the distribution and liquidity of the token.
Travala and its partnerships
Q: What were the reasons that Travala migrated from NEO to Binance Chain?
J: The main reasons for the migration are that we wanted to improve the tokenomics of our native token (AVA) while offering faster processing times, better performance and ease of on-chain use of AVA within the platform.
Q: With India’s lift on crypto encumbrances today, do you have a specific plan for the nation?
S: Travala.com expanded partnership with an Indian travel supplier called GRNConnect, a strategic partnership expansion to help Travala.com extend its presence into the world’s second most populated country with 1.35 billion citizens. Read more at https://blog.travala.com/travala-com-partners-with-indian-supplier-grnconnect.
Travala and its future plans
Q: What is Travala’s mission?
D: Our mission is to bring to the travel industry as a whole transparent pricing, innovation, authentic truth, enhanced security, and efficient stakeholder interaction. Going forward we plan to introduce more decentralized business models to Travala.com and pass over more control to the community. This will make us the most engaging travel booking platforms around.
Q: How much do you believe in the future of cryptocurrency in the travel industry?
J: We believe paying for travel and other major services with crypto will be the norm in the future so we aim to position ourselves as the go-to destination for any travel-related bookings.
Q: What are Travala’s plans to weather the economic standstill in travel that is slowly occurring due to the Coronavirus outbreaks?
J: We hope to see an increase in local travel, particularly accommodation bookings, instead of international travel and hopefully our growth traction will outweigh the negative impact of the reduction of international travel. In any case, we have a long way to go so we will keep building!
Q: What are Travala’s plans on how to attract users who don’t know anything about cryptocurrency?
D: We offer common fiat booking methods and plan to implement more marketing strategies aimed at the masses. It takes time to build a user base, but so far we are doing a good job. Any help with spreading the word is always appreciated!
Q: What makes you feel confident about the survival and sustainable success of Travala in the far future?
J: The growth to date has been significant and driven organically so we’re confident that the current growth levels, combined with a clear strategy and execution plan by a team of experienced professionals in blockchain development, travel, and FinTech from some of the world’s largest companies will make us successful.
Q: Are there any plans to add more services to Travala in the future?
D: Yes. We plan to offer more travel verticals. It is important for us to be very strong in one vertical before adding more. Flights, rental cars, activities and more are in the pipeline.
Q: What improvement can you expect in the travel industry in the future with the contribution of Travala?
D: Promote accessibility to anyone, anywhere, offer censorship-resistant and peer-to-peer transactions and build open-source technology controlled by software and governed by users.
Q: History has proven that the best technology doesn’t always win. Bitcoin has a ten-year head start in marketing and mainstream adoption. How will Travala catch-up?
J: Travala.com is focusing on a niche market within travel booking and we’re not competing with Bitcoin or any other major digital asset in the market, it’s actually the opposite. We process over 25% of our total bookings in Bitcoin. We’re aiming to play a key role in bringing adoption to the masses and we believe that travel will be crucial for this.
Q: To what extent Travala can introduce itself and master travel finance in major countries?
J: Travala.com is already present in over 230 countries worldwide. We have achieved a global presence with 90% organic growth to date so we hope we will continue to extend our reach globally over the next few years as we consolidate our position as market leaders within blockchain travel.
We were glad to host Travala.com on our Telegram. Thanks to the team and all the members of the session!