We all love to travel, explore new places and culture, meet new people and try out new food. It's the unexpectedness of the things that we may encounter while travelling that keeps us excited to be living our lives. In spite of this, travelling can prove costly where the conventional way to travel is to save up our salaries, put it into investments to grow our money so that when the time comes, we can withdraw them and spend to travel.
We have encounter many online platforms which lets you book your hotels and flights in a very simple and convenient way in addition to providing discounts to save your costs such as Booking.com, Agoda, Expedia and many more. However, what if I tell you that you can be rewarded and get additional discounts on your travels? Enter Travala.
According to their whitepaper, Travala has created frictionless travel booking experience that incorporates next generation blockchain technology and tokenized incentives so that you can book your hotels & flights currently with 11 fiat currencies & 39 cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH, AVA, USDT & so on as shown above. The advantage of this platform is that it provides utility to your cryptos as you can travel with your cryptocurrencies besides just staking and earning yield. Plus, you'll be also be getting additional discounts and earning monthly interests in AVA if you're an AVA holder and locked at least 250 AVA to their smart program.
Such utility and benefits are pretty much unseen in many other online platforms mentioned before above. Despite this, is it worth it to book your hotels and flights with Travala? Let's investigate.
Since I'm from Malaysia, I'll be showing examples on the price comparisons of the hotel bookings and flights that are based locally in Malaysia because I'm more familiar with the prices in my home country. I'll be comparing Travala with online platforms (Booking.com, Agoda, Expedia). Also, I'll be using the perks of being a Level 2 SMART member (500 AVA locked) to show how much money you'll be saving and how much the prices differ with Booking.com, Agoda & Expedia. To save time of not giving too many examples, I'll be using the popular hotel names such as Marriott's, Hilton & Shangri-La, comparing only the cheapest deluxe rooms and will be using return flights from Kuala Lumpur to two of the popular locations in Malaysia: Penang and Kota Kinabalu. Furthermore, I'll also provide an assumption that you'll be staying for 4 days from Thursday to Sunday or 18 to 21st of March 2021. All fiat currencies mentioned here will be in RM Ringgits instead of US Dollars for the ease of understanding for the Malaysians. (1 USD = RM4).
As you can see from the table examples above, it's approximately 8% more expensive to book in Travala than in other platforms such as Booking.com, Agoda & Expedia before the savings. After 3% discount is applied if paid with AVA & a 2% cashback, the costs remaining are still approximately 2% higher in Travala than the other 3 platforms.
Flight bookings with Travala are significantly more expensive than the bookings with other platforms and Airasia, ranging from 9% to as high as 75% higher.
Of course, examples for these price disparities will not be the same depending on your region, your chosen destination, the hotels or flight companies you chose and so on. From these limited examples shown, if you don't stake your AVA in the platform, you might be better off using other online platforms to book your hotels and flights. However, if you staked your AVA and paid your bookings with AVA, the hotel listing prices are almost similar with the bookings made in other platforms. Plus, you'll be also getting an APY of 12%, paid monthly (which means if you stake 500 AVA, your monthly interest would be 2.5 AVA + 2.5 AVA USD equivalent in travel credits.
In my opinion, there are benefits and downsides to this. Even though after the discounts applied the prices are still slightly higher or similar with other online platforms, because you're earning monthly interest, you can fork out less money from your monthly salaries as Travala can cover some of your travel costs. Previously, the rewards were 24% APY and a minimum of 500 AVA locked, but now it decreases by half to 12% but also lowered the minimum of 250 AVA to be a SMART member, which is a good move to bring more users into the space with a lower barrier of entry. Besides, the advantage of Travala to accept multiple fiat and crypto currencies will have more users interested in using Travala and lock their AVA in the platform. This will cause price appreciation due to the AVA taken out of supply circulation to be locked in the platform. Coupled with the scheduled token burn until it reaches 40 million AVA tokens, the maximum supply depreciation and price appreciation is already a major reason in itself that makes Travala a more attractive project compared to other online travel platforms. Once the COVID pandemic is over and travelling is back to normal, we might see AVA price surge due to higher demand for consumers to book hotels and flights.
The downsides to using Travala are plentiful besides the slightly higher booking prices after incentives. Currently, the speed to search for your favourite hotels is slow (>10 seconds on my count), while you can load pages faster in other online platforms. For flight bookings, it will still be cheaper to book your flights in official websites such as Airasia, Delta Airlines, Cathay Pacific, etc. Likewise, Travala is a centralized platform where you still need to provide personal information to access their services, so your AVA tokens are under their control if you locked your AVA with Travala, and they are able to terminate your account for any reason without sole discretion, so the users will have to take note of this.
According to their 2021 Q1 roadmap, they will address the issue by optimizing the searching speed for hotel bookings, while also integrate flight bookings directly to Travala instead of using TravelByBit, which is a third party service. Hopefully this will decrease the prices for flight booking and can search for hotels without too much waiting. Moreover, the decentralized review feature will mean users can generate earnings if they leave a review after their hotel stay. The integration of Binance Pay, Wechat Pay & other additional cryptocurrencies will also have more users to utilize different paying methods to book for travels. Though I would love to see an in-app swap if we can convert our cryptocurrencies to AVA to avoid the hassle of having to move around exchanges, but their roadmap only mentioned that you can vote for cryptocurrencies to be added to the platform for AVA holders.
Overall, I'm still pretty bullish on Travala's progress to become the leader in the online travelling space by rewarding travelers to travel. Since the market cap for AVA tokens is only around $100 million compare to Booking.com's 85 Billion, I can see Travala taking up a lot of the online travelling market share with the help of blockchain technology. If you're interested in signing up, you can use my referral link to register for an account and try it out. You'll be rewarded $25 USD worth of AVA to your wallet when you make your first booking of US$200 or more and completed your stay. Basically, if you book for a 3-night stay at Shangri-La hotel in Kuala Lumpur, you'll definitely get a $25 as a cashback incentive, so yeah definitely worth it to try Travala for bookings and comment down below on your booking experiences with Travala.