Hello, the crypto community! For those of you who have missed our AMA with Juan Otero – co-founder and CSO of Travala – we are posting the full recap here.
If you are interested in more events like this, subscribe to Guarda Wallet Twitter and Telegram – there’s much more to come!
Introduction to Travala:
Hi everyone, pleasure being here, my name is Juan Otero and I’m Co-Founder & CSO at Travala.com.
Previously, I worked at some of the largest tech companies in the world such as Oracle and Booking.com and I also founded Europe’s leading online restaurant reservation platform, which was acquired by The Michelin Group in France.
I’m also an Advisor at several leading start-up accelerators such as Silicon Valley’s Founder Institute and government organizations such as the European Institute of Innovation & Technology and the European Commission in Brussels.
At Travala.com, I’m currently responsible for managing the long-term strategy.
Founded in 2017, Travala.com is the leading cryptocurrency-friendly hotel and accommodation booking service with 2,000,000+ properties in 230 countries. We are a champion of cryptocurrency adoption, accepting over 25 leading cryptocurrencies in addition to traditional payment methods. The Travala.com value proposition is bolstered by AVA. As the native cryptocurrency of the platform, AVA can be used for payments, receiving and redeeming loyalty rewards, discounts and staking, among several other use cases which you can find here https://whitepaper.travala.com/#AVA
Five questions about Travala
Q1. What is the business model of the Project?
A1. The Travala.com business model is driven by booking commissions generated from properties aggregated via strategic partnerships with world-leading travel suppliers such as Booking.com, Priceline, Hotelbeds, Webbeds and many more. This is currently the largest source of revenue for Travala.com.
Our commission fees currently average 10% of the booking value with prices on average 15% cheaper than mainstream travel booking platforms.
In the future, we plan to offer more travel booking options such as car rentals, activities and flights. As we move closer to our vision for a decentralized peer-to-property booking platform, Travala.com plans to earn fees from listings of new properties and commissions on the bookings via our native token AVA.
As we expand our decentralised platform, we will add reviews, direct bookings, hotel listing expansion, and more using a distributed salesforce over the blockchain with AVA incentivizing actions that benefit the project and increase the utility of AVA.
More information on the business model here: https://whitepaper.travala.com/#business
Q2. What are the use-cases for the AVA Token?
A2. 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.
? Payment Method
? Booking Giveback
? SMART Discounts
? SMART Loyalty
? SMART Staking
? Repurchasing Plan
? Best Price Guarantee
? INVITE Referrals
? Review Rewards
For more details on this please see our whitepaper https://whitepaper.travala.com/#AVA
Q3. How can you offer 15% cheaper on average prices compared to other booking sites?
A3. We work with over 15 of the leading hotel and accommodation suppliers including Booking.com, Priceline and Hotelbeds. With each supplier there are retail rates and business rates that come in the form of B2C and B2B. B2C rates can be shown and sold publicly and B2B rates must be behind a password login. The innovation from Travala.com regarding pricing is that we will incorporate both types of rates into the same platform which is only done by a handful of other OTAs worldwide.
When you are not logged in you will see the publicly available B2C prices along with the additional % you could save by creating an account / logging in. Once you login the feed switches to the B2B prices for the same search. Using this method we will be able to maintain our on average 15% cheaper prices when discounts and all incentives are taken into account.
Q4: How does Travala utilise the Blockchain?
A4. Currently, we use Binance Chain for all AVA transactions that happen on the platform. There are 3 Wallet addresses in use with all transactions made on-chain.
User Wallet – bnb1g4wdwdj0x9gcggluxq6hrxgm4rw4evxjv3h6yw
? Receives user deposits from external wallets
? Sends AVA booking payments to a company wallet
? Sends smart program lockup to Smart Wallet
? Sends user withdrawals to external wallets
? Receives Smart Bonus from Company Wallet
Smart Wallet – bnb1ujj2knlj7grqlm74vdf4kd7wl7lk6ugtgjewck
? Receives Smart program lockup from user wallet
? Sends smart program unlock to user wallet
Company Wallet – bnb1ae5k4xhqdgsehkj8546nm2daatlcul4rravvd6
? Receives AVA booking payments from user wallet
? Sends standard giveback to user wallet
? Sends smart loyalty to user wallet
? Sends Smart Bonus to user wallet
? Sends invite referrals to user wallet
? Sends best price refunds to user wallet
? Sends swapped AVA (Bep2) to user wallet
? Receives listing fees for new coins added
AVA will be at the heart of all future use cases Travala.com is pursuing. As the Travala.com consumer base continues to grow, the usage of AVA is integral to their experience on the platform.
With its use incentivized by valuable rewards, demand for AVA can be expected to grow in line with platform adoption, leading to the establishment of a healthy internal token economy from which all stakeholders may benefit.
Q5. Can you give us some information about the actual usage of the platform?
A5. Travala.com is a real-world use case project with real growth traction and driving adoption of the entire cryptocurrency space providing utility for 25 of the leading projects and cryptocurrencies.
In 2019 we completed 9,241 room nights booked with a total revenue of $1,253,782 with 64% coming from cryptocurrency payments. From January to December in 2019 our yearly growth in revenue was 1,020% and 967% in room nights booked. Our conversion rates of unique users to bookings in 2019 was 1.33%.
In 2020 as of 25th February we have completed 3,805 room nights booked with a total revenue of $562,833 with 56% coming from cryptocurrency payments. Comparing January 2020 to January 2019, our revenue increased by 1,185% and room nights increased by 1,109%. Our conversion rates of unique users to bookings in 2020 so far is 2.94%
We have forecasted 39,215 room nights to be booked in 2020 with total revenue of $6,215,124.
For 2021 we have forecast 159,027 room nights to be booked with total revenue of $23,713,739.
As you can see by the numbers above we are a real business with real revenues and real utility for the AVA token as every booking made on the platform interacts with AVA by booking givebacks between 2-5% and the quarterly repurchasing plan.
You can follow our reports here – https://blog.travala.com/category/reports/
Travala AMA Questions chosen from Twitter
Q1. Do you plan to add a service similar to Airbnb on travala in future?
A1. Currently, we are highly focused on an OTA model for hotels. We are very strong believers in doing one thing and doing it right before moving onto the next.
We do plan in the future to develop a decentralised version of Airbnb and under a decentralised model, accommodation seekers are able to book stays without the need for an intermediary. Said another way, individuals seeking to rent an apartment, bedroom, or hotel room can deal directly with the property owner. In this case, Travala.com will act solely as the technology provider to facilitate bookings.
The business model for a decentralised Travala.com still includes commission fees, but at a lower percentage of the booking value than currently. The benefit for travellers is a lower cost, more transparent, more customized booking experience.
The benefits for property owners are more control, improved transparency, less fraud, and lower fees. Decentralised bookings are a large divergence from the approach taken by existing peer-to-peer travel booking marketplaces, but we believe the market is ready to accept such an offering.
This is a large technical undertaking, the R&D is on our roadmap for later this year. Under a decentralised model, accommodation seekers are able to book stays without the need for an intermediary. This means that individuals seeking to rent an apartment, bedroom, or hotel room can deal directly with the property owner. AVA will be the common currency for booking.
You can read more detail about this in our whitepaper – https://whitepaper.travala.com/#business
Q2. What’s the way you are handling price fluctuations on negative side when market slips 5-10% ? Is there any smart way using booked amount is backed By stable coins?
A2.Travala.com is a project which has a foot in the real world and a foot in the crypto world. We work over 15 travel suppliers and they only accept payment for their product in fiat. Therefore when we accept cryptocurrencies as payment our system converts them immediately into fiat to pay our suppliers and other fixed business costs so we are not exposed to risk.
We do not at this time convert bookings made in our native token AVA into fiat as we keep them to replenish our pool of reserves.
Q3. Why using a search query in popular search web services as Google, in the results among the top is not your site http://Travala.com? This result is an indicator of the popularity and effectiveness of the web resource. Are you working on it?
A3. As we head into 2020, we continue to work on our SEO strategy with constant optimisations, such as building a stronger site architecture and improving navigation to help major search engines better index our site.
At Travala.com we believe that organic & direct traffic will play a critical role in our long term growth while we continue to focus on acquiring new users and retaining them on our platform.
We also hope to see further traffic growth driven by our Localisation Strategy with Vietnam being the first country later this month with local language, local payment methods, and localised marketing, among other improvements.
Going forward we will continue to plan for, design, and implement new marketing strategies to reach a broader audience and to further accelerate the current growth traction.
We recently wrote an article which you may find interesting – https://blog.travala.com/travala-com-organic-traffic-skyrockets/
Q4. Can you explain in detail about the Travala Smart Program? Why should I join him & what are the benefits of the Travala Smart Program for me or any user?
A4. Yes, the Smart program is our most impressive use case and for those not familiar with our Smart Program, it is based on a tiered rewards system. The higher the Smart level the greater your rewards will be. For example, in the highest reward bracket Smart Level 5 (5000 AVA), users receive a 5% discount on Smart listed hotel and accommodation prices, a 5% loyalty reward following completion of your stay, and also Smart bonus rewards of 1.5% per month of your locked amount of AVA
This gives our Smart members up to 10% Savings on Hotel and Accommodation Bookings and up to 18% Per Annum Bonuses on your AVA with our Smart Bonus Rewards.
You can read more about it here: https://blog.travala.com/smart-discounts-loyalty-and-bonus-rewards/
Q5. How’s your refund policy, do you refund in crypto amount or in USDT value??
A5. For refunds from payments made in cryptocurrency, we give them back in stablecoins; this is to protect both parties against unexpected gains/losses in the value of the underlying cryptocurrency.
Q6. What are your main goals for next year? What makes AVA different from other blockchain projects? Does AVA have any advantages to compete with previous strong development and community projects?
A6. As we head into 2020, our vision is to align travel booking with the ethos of decentralised technology. That being, promote accessibility to anyone, anywhere, offer censorship-resistant and peer-to-peer transactions, and build open-source technology for the online travel booking space.
Our mission is to bring to the travel industry transparent pricing, innovation, authentic truth, enhanced security. The travel booking market is estimated to reach a global revenue of over $800 billion by 2020 and AVA will be the first digital asset to truly bring cryptocurrency to the masses!
Each booking made on the Travala.com platform regardless of the payment method (Crypto or Fiat) interacts with the AVA token to bring the users a smooth and rewarding experience. For many users this will be their first experience with a blockchain-based token.
Q7. Why isn’t AVA used for all platform payments? There may be an integration of some types of ports that customers will pay with fiat, anchors, btc, eth … and the port will buy AVA on the exchanges with the amount needed to pay the price
A7. Good question and the answer here is that Travala.com operates within the standard travel space and the blockchain space. We work with over 15 suppliers and they all need to be paid in fiat for their services. It would make no sense for us to convert all payments into AVA and then have to convert them back again to pay our suppliers and fixed business costs. This kind of action would be pure gambling on our part and we don’t expose ourselves to those risks.
Q8. Are you only focus on HOTEL booking alone, would you consider AIRLINE TICKETS, CAR RENTALS OR EVENT CENTRES as they are hugely profitable? How does Travala meets the pain points of diversity, simplicity and convenience.
A8. Travala.com will introduce flight, rental cars, transfers and activity bookings in 2020, as they are complementary to our existing offering and will put Travala.com on a level playing field with the product offerings of status quo booking platforms. We envision a future where consumers can book their full suite of travel needs exclusively on Travala.com.
Q9. Adoption is one of the important factors that all sustainable blockchain projects should focus to be more attractive in the investors’ eyes. What TRAVALA has done and plans to do to achieve real-world adoption?
A9. Travala.com is a real champion of cryptocurrency adoption so we hope we will play a key role in mass adoption. We also hope that our decentralized technology will one day change the whole online travel industry. With booking volumes well into the $300k range this month already and 60% of those being made in cryptocurrencies we are doing our part of real-world adoption and will continue to do so.
Q10. @travalacom paved way the use of crypto in real world use case thru hotel accommodation bookings. So now, as a pioneer, Do you anticipate New Market Players to build more business models like @travalacom in the future? Healthy competition
A10. Thank you for your kind words calling us pioneers. There are a number of competitors right now. Competition is a healthy part of any industry and shouldn’t be discarded as being bad. … It’s important to realize that you can compete within the community without creating bad blood or tension. Competition is more about developing and improving our own work than it is putting down others. So yes we welcome competition as they too will be pushing forward with our vision of mass adoption.