Technology Lawyer working on code and everything law. Founder : Blockchain Research
Travala.com is the world’s leading cryptocurrency-friendly hotel booking services with the best prices on 2 million+ properties worldwide.
1. Hi Matt, welcome to our series “Behind the Startup”. Tell us about your story and your journey into the blockchain industry?
Hi everyone, this is Matt Luczynski, the Founder of Travala.com, the leading cryptocurrency-friendly hotel and accommodation booking service. I have been active in the space since 2011, where I have spent the last three years building the foundations to bridge the gap between traditional booking platforms by incorporating next-generation decentralized booking experiences. Before Travala, I spent my late teenage years trading bitcoin while completing university studies.
2. Tell us about the story behind Travala – How did you start the company and what is your vision?
Travala.com initially started as a concept with the idea to make and allow cryptocurrencies to be used and spent in an e-commerce environment. We aim to provide service that is quick, easy to use and does not require many steps. The focus around the travel industry came from the passion of the founders for traveling and cryptocurrency. My vision at Travala is to enable the general usage of cryptocurrencies by the masses and to
enable the mass adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
3. According to you what is the best thing about building a company in Vietnam?
Vietnam is a great place to build a team. I enjoy the culture and the environment for business and IT development. As an emerging market, Vietnam has a lot to offer, from competitive pricing to highly skilled workers. Over the past three years, our team has grown significantly, is highly qualified and can adapt to any situation at any given time, which has been critical to our growth.
4. What incentives and perks do users get when they register and book through Travala?
We have introduced Smart members program on the Travala.com platform with exciting benefits of discounts, loyalty, and staking rewards for users. Accommodations marked with the smart icon enable participants to receive the added smart program benefits on their bookings.
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. The program also gives every single user who books a minimum of 2% giveback, allowing them to build up towards a Smart level.
5. Can you enlighten our readers about Travala's business model and recent performance figures?
Sure, our February monthly report highlighted that growth continued with 2,300+ Room nights and Booking revenue Up +55% MoM with 57% of Bookings Paid with Cryptocurrencies. Overall booking revenue for February was $367,283, which is an increase of 55.1% compared to January. The total number of room nights booked was 2,364, which is an increase of 34.7% compared to January.
The top 3 countries booked were:
1. The United States
3. The United Kingdom.
6. What is your advice to companies and entrepreneurs facing the Covid-19 pandemic? Further, how does the company adapt to a lean-startup culture?
Set out strategic plans of all scenarios, make sure that each outcome is gone over and make a decision on how things should move forward if specific situations begin to play out. It is essential for all businesses at this stage to stay alert and make sure their employees and consumers are always safe.
Going lean is very important considering the current COVID-19 situation, we have addressed any potential concerns regarding the company’s
operations. Firstly, we believe that a proactive response is the best measure to ensure that the team is safe and prepared in the event of a
worsening situation. This is a priority to ensure that service offerings and
communication channels continue to operate in the same manner. Travala.com is already a globally distributed team with members located around the world already working remotely. The Hanoi office, which houses most of our operations team, is taking all the necessary precautions to avoid any disruptions due to COVID-19.
Secondly, we have several contingency plans in place to allow us to conduct business as usual for the long-term, even in a worst-case scenario. Following our recent major investor backing and the successful equity crowdfund, Travala.com is in a very healthy position. Also, due to our cost advantages with the majority of our team based in Vietnam and an already very lean start-up structure, even without any bookings at all, we will be able to ride out a major downturn for up to 18 months without having
to seek any additional capital.
7. Can you explain the Travala cryptocurrency ecosystem to our readers and what the company is doing to expand the ecosystem?
Travala.com has an ethos to accelerate the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. We have partnered with the biggest names in crypto and travel, to bring the best user experience to booking hotels and provide the most accessibility, right at our user's fingertips. We continue to innovate within our product development and push forward with our vision. This also includes our native digital asset AVA (AVA Token) which forges the foundations of the Smart member's program and token incentivization mechanisms. Before we started Travala.com, our vision was to create a system that fosters the growth of digital assets and enables on-ramp and off-ramp usage of cryptocurrencies and we are implementing those idea’s here at Travala.
8. What are your views on cryptocurrency regulations around the world, especially regarding anti-money laundering and KYC policies and how is the company complying with these guidelines?
Travala complies with all laws of each jurisdiction we operate in; this is highly important for the company and is critical towards showcasing the importance and longevity of our business operations. I believe that regulation is a must, and as the industry evolves, I expect more regulations to be introduced for businesses operating in the blockchain industry.
9. According to you, what makes your team at Travala different and who are your major competitors?
Our ability to execute and innovate around our product with our go-to-market strategy is second to none. Our team's ethos has been built around the theory of growth hacking, reducing spends and increasing user interaction on the site. I believe we do this well and have led the way for the business. I see this has made a significant impact on how other companies within the blockchain space now operate.
10. Can you enlighten readers about the companies' ongoing business partnerships? Further, how has the overall response and experience been for the team and where do you see the company in the next 2 years?
From Bitcoin.com to Booking.com, we have partnered with the biggest names in both the cryptocurrency and travel space. We are well funded, having completed multiple capitals raises over the past 12 months from crowdfunds to blockchain fund investments. Over the next two years, we will continue to provide value and cost-effective services to our users traveling across the world, further, we will continue to push for the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. We will also begin to add more products to our offerings ranging from flights to other different experiences.
11. Travala.com has named former Booking.com exec Mr. Juan Otero as its new CEO, what shall be the focus of Juan in his first quarter as the CEO? Further, what are the benefits for the Booking.com in this partnership?
As Q1 comes to a close, Juan’s role will involve making sure all is in place ready to commence Q2. We have many plans and ideas in place, and the CEO will be directing those on a day to day basis along with the other founders while setting out the goals of Travala.com for the next 12
months and beyond.
In signing a Strategic Partnership Agreement with the giant online travel agency Booking.com, it has given Travala.com access to over 2 million accommodation listings globally has heralded a new approach to bringing cryptocurrency adoption to the masses. Working together with the world’s leading digital travel company, Travala.com has already integrated Booking.com’s accommodation listings to its platform that is now live and
bookable across over 230 countries and 90,000 destinations worldwide.
Customers on Travala.com can pay for hotels with the proprietary AVA token and 20 other leading cryptocurrencies in addition to traditional payment methods. Booking.com has recognized the value in making its vast portfolio of properties available to the growing blockchain and cryptocurrency markets. Such a move by Booking.com is a sign that we are
close to seeing the industry’s acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a standard
form of payment for travel bookings.
The purpose of this article is to remove informational asymmetry existing today in our digital markets by performing due diligence and by equipping readers with knowledge to make informed decisions. The views in these articles are purely personal and educational, and does not constitute any investment, financial or legal advice. Please do your research and due-diligence before investing in digital asset, token or cryptocurrency.
- The writer does not have any vested interest or investments in Travala.com at the time of writing this article.