Travel Platform Travala Expands Payment Options With XEM

Travala, a service that lets its users pay for hotel stays with digital currency, has expanded its crypto payment options by adding support of NEM (XEM) tokens.

The NEM Foundation and Travala.com announced the integration of XEM with the travel company’s platform, according to a blog post published by Travala on Jan. 22. As such, XEM joined over 20 other digital currencies supported by Travala’s platform, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Tron (TRX), stablecoin Tether (USDT), privacy-focused token Monero (XMR) and others.

Boost in revenue

The move comes in the wake of Travala’s announcement that it began accepting USDT as a valid form of payment at its two million linked properties.

In November 2019, Travala entered a partnership with Booking.com, purportedly allowing users to book 90,000 different destinations using cryptocurrencies. Travala’s CEO Matt Luczynski commented at the time:

“This partnership allows our users to access Booking.com’s accommodation listings, as well as the listings from several other leading travel suppliers, which is a fantastic use case for our own AVA token and another huge step towards mass cryptocurrency adoption.”

Following the partnership, Travala saw its revenue for the month of December go up by over 33.5% month-on-month. Over 9% of December’s bookings were paid in Travala’s proprietary token, AVA. Furthermore, 28% of them were paid in BTC, 8% in Bitcoin Cash (BCH), 37% with credit card and PayPal, while the rest with other crypto assets.

Travala told Cointelegraph that the most used digital currency on the platform has been Bitcoin so far, and the proportion of customers who pay with cryptocurrencies has surpassed 60%. 

Challenges and benefits

Elaborating further on the challenges Travala has faced after it began accepting crypto as a payment option, the company commented:

“Due to the nature of the hotel industry prices can change rapidly so we have a small time window to receive payments and process the bookings. We solved this by processing bookings on confirming status instead of waiting for full confirmations. This is especially important when accepting Bitcoin payments.”

Travala also named refundable bookings with crypto payments as one of the challenges, due to volatility. As such, the company decided to make refunds for refundable bookings made with crypto in stablecoins. 

At the same time, Travala has ostensibly seen much higher-than-industry-average bookings made with digital currencies. “It is refreshing to know that each time we take a booking with cryptocurrency payments we avoid all the normal issues with traditional payment methods such as fraudulent payments and bad actor disputes,” Travala said.

Crypto in tourism

Crypto’s spread into the travel industry is not confined to hotels alone. Last December, news broke that Thailand was going to apply blockchain to its Electronic Visa On Arrival (eVOA). The objective of the initiative is to speed up and protect the digital visa application process and will soon be available for five million visitors from 20 countries.

Alternative Airlines, a travel company based in the United Kingdom, partnered with cryptocurrency service Utrust to facilitate payments with crypto. As of last November, the two companies planned to provide customers with the ability to book flights while paying with crypto such as BTC, ETH, Dash, DigiByte (DGB) and Utrust’s native token UTK.

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