Having recently reviewed and tested Travala.com the new leading blockchain booking platform, I was surprised by the savings I was able to make. This was the first time I was able to make a hotel reservation using my Bitcoin, while also earn $50 free crypto in the process. While I made a massive saving using Travala and received $50 worth of their AVA token, I experienced a few issues teething problems during the process.
I don’t actually spend my crypto, I buy and hold for the long term. But after seeing a Travala review from DataDash on Youtube I was excited to hear you could now make a hotel reservation by spending your bitcoin. It was great to see another exciting non-technical opportunity to help grow cryptocurrency adoptions, that even my Mum would understand (kind of).
So, What is Travala?
I spend most of the year away from home and spend most of my life in hotel rooms or Airbnb’s. Similar to the likes of Booking.com and Expedia, Travala is an online travel agency where you can book hotels, serviced accommodation, holiday homes, etc. This UK based company was created in 2017 and has quickly grown into the world’s leading blockchain-based travel booking platform.
At the end of 2019, Travala announced they had partnered up with one of the world’s biggest travel agencies, Booking.com. This partnership between Travala.com and Booking.com is a massive opportunity for them to grow into a major player. Prior to his partnership, the accommodation options available on Travala were limited. Now many of the listings found on Booking.com can be booked through Travala.com, at a discounted price.
“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“Matt Luczynski, CEO of Travala.com
Why is Travala Different?
Travala pride themselves on being the leading cryptocurrency-friendly accommodation booking platform. Being able to make a hotel reservation using your crypto is a massive selling point for Travala. Plus a huge step towards mass cryptocurrency adoption.
As well as supporting over 20+ cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Stellar, Nano & Dash (with further partnerships in the pipeline). You also have the option to pay the traditional way of debit/credit card and with Paypal. Although using these methods, you may miss out on some massive discounts.
The AVA token is the cryptocurrency created by Travala and built on the Binance chain. The AVA token is now available on the Binance DEX exchange, and can also be found on HitBTC, KuCoin, and BitMart.
Using the AVA token to make payment for accommodation on Travala.com, will earn you rewards from 2-5%. When completing your first reservation of $100 or more on Travala.com, you will receive $50 worth of AVA. This can then be used to make another reservation or potentially sent to a cryptocurrency exchange such as Binance DEX and exchanged.
Travala provides a fantastic sign-up offer for new customers to its crypto-friendly online booking platform. Each new customers who sign up to Travala.com and completes a reservation of $100 or more will receive $50 worth of free AVA tokens. Once you have received your free AVA reward of $50 of AVA rewards straight into your wallet by inviting people to Travala. For every person you invite that completes a booking of $100 or more, you will both receive $50!
Travala SMART Program
Travala’s SMART program provides exclusive discounts and loyalty rewards to its members. Once a member you can expect to receive up to a 5% discount off the accommodation listed prices, plus up to 5% loyalty reward after you have completed your stay.
The percentage that members receive will depend on the amount of AVA tokens held in their Travala wallet and the SMART member level they have activated. Essentially, more AVA tokens equal more rewards.
Travala members can activate their SMART member level through the Smart Program page on the Travela.com website, and then by clicking the “Activate” button.
SMART discounts are applied directly from the listed prices from the search results through to checkout.
SMART loyalty rewards are paid to members in AVA tokens and credited to their inbuilt Travala wallet.
Finding Deals on Travala.com
Travala states on their website that you will get your accommodation 15% cheaper than elsewhere. To put this to the test, I have searched for the same hotel, on the same dates, on both Travala and Booking.com and below are the results…
On Booking.com the Deluxe Room with King Bed is $837 for a Non-refundable rate. However, once you add the taxes and charges it totals; $1,025.92.
I also did the same search with Expedia and the total price with taxes showed as $1,005.26
On Travala.com the Deluxe Room with King Bed is $932.04 for a Non-refundable rate, which includes taxes. Meaning you will save $88.88 by booking with Travala rather than Booking.com! Not only that but you also get 2% Giveback which will be paid into your wallet in AVA rewards after your stay.
Best Price Guarantee
In case you do find a cheaper price elsewhere, Travala also provides a “Best Price Guarantee” offer. This means that they will match or beat any competitor’s price. Under their terms, if you book accommodation on Travala.com and find it cheaper on another website you can claim for a refund for the difference up to 24 hours before your check-in at the property. Refunds payment are paid in AVA tokens to your Travala.com wallet.
Unfortunately, for users wanting to book their accommodation on the go, Travala.com does not currently have an app. However, state that the Travala.com app is coming soon to Google Play and the App Store. Mind you, this has been “coming soon” for a little while now with no date yet set in stone! When they do finally release this, they guarantee you’ll get the best prices when you search and book on the app.
Travala.com has a simple, clean interface. It’s easy to use and navigate. Compared to the likes of Booking.com, the search filters are limited, so it’s difficult to narrow down your search options. When you have found your accommodation, and want more details, the information isn’t there. So I found myself googling the hotel, to find the information I wanted to see. These issues are quite minor compared to the savings you can make with Travala.
One way I personally get around these issues is using Booking.com to find my accommodation. Once I have found what I’m looking for, I then search the name of the hotel on Travala. 9 times out of 10 you will find it on there and can book at the discounted price.
I believe these small issues are growing pains and inevitable for a business growing so fast, making a number of new partnerships over the last few months. With time and money invested into the platform, I can imagine Travala soon rivaling their much larger peers.
Making a Reservation on Travala.com
The other issue I found, was when making a hotel reservation on Travala, it’s not confirmed straight away. Instead, this goes into pending and you need to wait for a confirmation email. I’ve experienced this with other booking platforms (such as Priceline) but had never had any issues. However, on this occasion I tried to make a reservation, only to be told it was no longer available. This was very frustrating as it had taken a while to choose this particular hotel. But when I began the search again, the same hotel was showing as available? So I went through the whole process again deciding to choose a different payment option, only for the exact same thing to happen again!! I finally gave up and went out for dinner. When I was out I received an email…
We are writing this email regarding your booking at Paramount Times Square.
We noticed you made 2 payments successfully but the bookings have failed. However, we are still able to complete the booking for you with the following information…
On both occasions, Travala listed the hotel as available. I made the reservation, they took the money and then rejects the reservation. I replied to Travala’s email and confirmed I was happy for one of the reservation to go through. Only to be told by the agent the hotel was now no longer available. Grrrrr.
At this point, I was ready to call it quits and completely give up on Travala. But when I went to make the same reservation via Booking.com instead there was a massive price increase compared to Travala. On Travala, not only was I going to receive $50 free AVA, but I was also going to save another $60 compared to Booking.com. Checking the availability on Travala again, I was determined to make this reservation and fortunately enough, on the 4th attempt, the reservation finally went through… I hoped?
Arriving in New York, with no confirmation email from the Hotel (only from Travala), we were a little worried if the reservation had actually gone through. However, luckily enough all our worries were in vain. We were on the list and we were getting in!!
As someone who is a frequent traveler and a crypto enthusiast, this platform really gives you a great opportunity to start using your cryptocurrency day to day. Plus, who doesn’t want to make a massive saving when booking their hotel accommodation.
It has a clean design and looks simple to navigate, however, it can be tedious at times. I tried to get my mum to make a reservation using Travala and she found the process very difficult and would have given up, of she was the one paying. However, as I said these are teething problems and over time these issues will be resolved.
One thing I’d personally like to see included in later versions is the ability to split payments. For example, if I didn’t have enough AVA to pay for my accommodation, it would be nice to have the opportunity to pay any outstanding balance with either crypto or FIAT, rather than an all or nothing.
As a property owner myself, with a short term rental business in the UK, I was interested to find out what the process was like with Travala as a host. So, I booked myself a stay at my own accommodation via Travala.com (as my properties are currently listed on Booking.com). Unfortunately, there were quite a few issues that I experienced from a host’s point of view and to be successful, I can only hope that these will resolve in the future.
As a host, we have personally had some issues with credit card fraud in the past. Specifically with chargebacks through our online payment system, when we take reservation payments directly from guests. So it will be really interesting to see if by using Cryptocurrency with Travala.com whether this will eliminate this issue.