The Europe-based company LockTrip wants to put the accommodation industry on the blockchain by creating “the first functional blockchain-based travel service.” The team says it already offers 100,000 hotels and more than 1,500 vacation rentals all over the world, with an average discount of almost 20 percent when compared to other booking sites — and with plans to add an additional 300,000 hotels and 900 airlines to its marketplace by end of January 2019.
Smart contract travel booking
Accommodations with zero commission can be booked directly through the existing LockTrip’s beta marketplace. To make the booking process easier for users who are unfamiliar with blockchain, the startup has created a service model that allows an instant connection between credit cards and the company’s ERC-20 LOC token. Travelers who are not crypto-oriented can make reservations by using a credit card in the exact same way as on any regular travel site, and the exchange for crypto will be executed automatically via an API connectivity with exchanges where LOC is traded.
Each booking is locked into a smart contract until the checkout is done. The company says booking through their marketplace is much more affordable and secure for the guests when compared to traditional ways of making reservations, in which the customer risks not getting the service that has already been paid for.
In addition to the web-based travel marketplace, LockTrip has already launched its mobile app for Android and iOS. The startup is also working on creating its own hybrid proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain for which they have already deployed an operational testnet. The LockTrip PoS blockchain would embody the best of Bitcoin and Ethereum. The company hopes to build a platform that can support Ethereum apps while reaching even more transactions per second.
Zero commission as a key factor
LockTrip calls itself an enthusiastic team that wants to change the economics of the retail travel industry. CEO of the company Nikola Alexandrov comments:
“Users either way end up staying in the same hotel, regardless of the site through which they booked it. Paying 20 percent on top of a costly budget just for few clicks will soon be a thing of the past.”
According to the company’s published report, the current average price for hotels on the LockTrip marketplace is approximately 20 percent lower than the cheapest alternatives users can find online. LockTrip says the service helps users save up to 17 percent when booking hotels in Europe and more than 23 percent in the United States. LockTrip notes that popular websites like Airbnb or Booking.com charge hotels a 15 to 30 percent commission, which later effects the final price for guests.
According to the company’s report, in 2018 the number of bookings via LockTrip increased more than 10 times and booking volume at the end of the year (Q4) increased more than 152 percent. During this period there was 40,000 euro worth of LOC purchased from the exchanges for utility purposes. “This perhaps makes LOC one of the most widely adopted utility token in the industry,” the startup says.
LockTrip promises to continue developing its marketplace by seeking out and connecting with partners that can provide competitive prices for accommodations. Currently, the startup is working on increasing the size of its marketplace by four times. The company has announced the integration of a further 300,000 hotels with even lower prices. Also, LockTrip says that it is also working on global airline travel service, with the support of 900 airlines. The startup plans to offer its users a zero percent commission for the new service, which will make the prices cheaper than what competitors offer. The deployment of the inventory is planned for mid-January 2019.
In December 2018, the company announced the launch of its affiliate program to encourage the owners of travel websites, YouTube bloggers and travelers to create an account and share a referral link. After completing the integration of the 300,000 hotels and 900 airlines, the company plans to officially switch from beta to retail-ready and to focus on marketing their services to travelers who are interested in cutting their accommodation costs.
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