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Blockchain boosts hotel room and tourism bookings

Efforts to construct decentralised, blockchain-based travel booking services have been ongoing for some years, but two new systems — one for hotels and the other for short-term rentals – are now available.

The launch of these new direct-to-consumer channels by Winding Tree for hotels and Dtravel for rentals marks a new step in the growth of blockchain for travel distribution, demonstrating that what was once considered a fad is now garnering far broader acceptance and use. While these two new solutions have different tactics for launching, they are both aimed at giving hoteliers and rental hosts greater control and revenue.

Winding Tree’s WIN

Winding Tree claims that since its new WIN tool went live last Wednesday, more than 80 room nights have been purchased at the three Amsterdam hotels participating in the pilot: DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station, Hotel Herbergh, and Zoku Amsterdam.

As part of Winding Tree’s new plan to debut WIN in conjunction with blockchain-industry events, this is the first – and for the time being only – city where the system is operating. The event in question is Devconnect, an Ethereum conference that started yesterday and will conclude on April 25. Future launches will take place in conjunction with upcoming Ethereum-related events in Paris, Prague, and Bogota. Winding Tree offered the opportunity through its social media channels for this first use case.

The pivot of Dtravel

Dtravel debuted in June as a marketplace for booking private rooms using blockchain technology. The corporation is now revamping its business model. It will introduce a direct booking offering in May, after meeting with hosts over the last several months to learn more about their needs. “Hosts have a strong desire to drive more bookings back to their own sites,” Melanie Amos, Dtravel’s head of operations, explains.

“OTAs generate a lot of demand, and they have some advantages.” However, because many hospitality businesses, such as vacation rental property operators, obtain repeat reservations and visitors, being able to lead them to a direct booking offering was something that was going to be beneficial.

Dtravel is launching a minimum viable product in collaboration with Hostaway. Hostaway customers can “switch on” Dtravel as a distribution channel via an API link with their property management system, enabling on-chain bookings without a significant learning curve or change in operations for hosts. “However, the booking is made possible through a smart contract. That smart contract, once the booking is performed, effectively takes care of when the payment goes out, when cancellation is available or not,” Amos explains.

“As a visitor or a host, the front end booking experience is fairly familiar, but the transparency and control on the back end through smart contracts and blockchain is really the unique component.” When you use Dtravel as a distribution channel, you’ll obtain a “listing page” for your property that you may share with guests to finalise a booking.

Payment can be made in cryptocurrency, with no fee to the guest, or in fiat currency, with a conversion fee to the guest. To access their earnings, hosts must first build a bitcoin wallet. Dtravel may help with this if needed, and connect it to the system. Hosts pay a 5% charge for each booking, which goes into Dtravel’s community treasury, which is used to run the platform.

Dtravel is a decentralised autonomous organisation, similar to Winding Tree’s WIN, that gives all members ownership and the capacity to participate in governance, including decisions about how funds are spent.