Travala.com’s primary business is driven by booking commissions generated from properties aggregated via strategic partnerships with world-leading travel suppliers such as Booking.com, Expedia, Agoda, Priceline, Hotelbeds and many more. Commission fees currently average 10% of the booking value.
Aside from bookings made directly on Travala.com and the Travala.com mobile app, commissions are also earned on bookings made via the following;
- Mini-App. Travala.com has designed a Mini-App to be integrated into top crypto exchanges, wallets and metaverses, allowing instant booking through existing wallets.
- Concierge Service. The Concierge Service is a premium, personalised service for high-net-worth travellers. Concierge clients receive priority, on-demand service from a dedicated team of travel agents.
- Business Accounts. Business accounts enable businesses to book corporate trips, manage staff bookings, and request changes anytime all from the business account management dashboard.
Direct Contracting Program
Starting in Q4 2021, Travala.com will initiate a Direct Contracting Program (DCP). Through the DCP, properties can be directly added to Travala.com under contractual agreements that grant Travala.com greater influence over room rates and availability, This will increase Travala.com’s booking margins by removing fees paid to third-party travel suppliers.
The DCP model will also allow Travala.com to build direct relationships with property owners. These relationships are important for knowledge sharing and customer feedback which, in turn, can be used to improve the Travala.com platform.
As Travala.com continues to develop decentralised technologies and business models, other incentivisation mechanisms that encourage properties to sign up directly to the DCP will be explored.
The creation of a global Decentralised Salesforce (as covered in more detail below) is expected to be particularly useful in assisting Travala.com with the DCP.
- Additional Travel Products. Travala.com will introduce rental cars, transfers and other complementary travel services to put Travala.com on a level playing field with the product offerings of status quo existing travel tech giants.
- Travel Packages. Travala.com plans to offer travel packages that provide a convenient and unique method of travelling (e.g. inbound/outbound flights, accommodation and activities in a single bundled product).
- Advertising (TravalAds). Direct marketing opportunities are available to travel suppliers and strategic partners. Costs depend on a number of factors such as ad placement, size, type, and more.
- Crypto Payment Gateway. A proprietary crypto payment gateway will be created for Travala.com and other travel suppliers to accept a range of cryptocurrencies, enabling Travala.com to have greater control over rates and fees while extending the gateway to travel suppliers who want to accept cryptocurrencies.
- NFT Infrastructure. Travala.com will provide partner hotels with simple tools they can use to issue NFTs for deeper guest engagement and will enable NFT issuance for completed stays on Travala.com for viral growth.
Travala.com is also currently experimenting with booking optimisation tools that will improve profit margins while enhancing the overall customer experience. Examples of such mechanisms include:
- OptiSearch. Reduces unnecessary queries by calculating the likelihood of buyer conversion and only then querying the top suppliers instead of querying all active suppliers. OptiSearch leads to significantly faster response times due to reduced server loads.
- SmartBook. Reduces the occurrence of failed and sold-out bookings, boosting conversions and customer retention. SmartBook can intervene before a booking is lost by automatically booking the same product through an alternative supplier. SmartBook also searches for the best buy rate across Travala.com’s hotel supplier network after customers have booked a room, thus maximizing profit margins.
- Dynamic Pricing. This feature allows margins to be dynamically marked up according to current market conditions instead of relying on flat rates or fixed percentages.
- Rebooker. If the price of a booking falls after the initial reservation is made, Rebooker will automatically cancel the original reservation and rebook it at the new lower cost.
Alongside efforts to improve the existing business model, Travala.com will be implementing new decentralised business models in the near future.
Decentralised Business Models
In order to leverage the advantages of disintermediation, more advanced decentralised functionality and use cases will be gradually phased in to Travala.com’s business model.
Fully decentralised technologies are still new and experimental. There are few proven use cases to benchmark against and even fewer best practices. Because there is no decentralised platform playbook, Travala.com’s approach will be to undertake incremental changes with fine tuning rather than major upheavals of existing systems. The focus will be on selecting the right technologies that underpin a decentralised platform and building a community of advocates who are aligned with Travala.com’s vision.
Decentralised Accommodation Booking
Using a decentralised model, accommodation seekers are able to book stays without the need for an intermediary. This enables individuals seeking apartment, bedroom, or hotel room rentals to deal directly with property owners. In this case, Travala.com will act solely as the technology provider to facilitate bookings. The key responsibilities of the platform will include:
- Providing tools for security and data ownership, such as user reputation, trust mechanisms, and dispute mediation.
- Governing platform incentives and rewards.
- Developing the community and offering developer tools to assist with new platform developments.
The business model for a decentralised Travala.com still includes commission fees, though at a lower percentage of the booking value than the current percentage. The benefit for travellers is a lower cost, more transparent, and more customised booking experience.
The benefits for property owners include greater control, improved transparency, less fraud, and lower fees. Decentralised bookings are a large divergence from the approach taken by existing peer-to-peer travel booking marketplaces, though we believe the market is ready to accept such an offering.
To support the DCP (Direct Contracting Program), the creation of a globally distributed and decentralised salesforce incentivised by tokenised rewards will help Travala.com achieve global scalability.
Similar to how Uber expanded their workforce through low-friction onboarding of service providers (drivers), independent agents will be empowered to expand Travala.com’s DCP network without increasing salaried employee costs. Over time, this will potentially save millions of dollars in overhead costs.
Anyone, anywhere in the world will be able to participate in this program and get rewarded in the form of AVA. An onboarding process will be required to both vet the quality of participating individuals and set them up for success.
The Decentralised Salesforce will help Travala.com compete in fast-growing travel accommodation markets against established platforms which already have millions of directly contracted properties listed.
Verified reviews are a valuable commodity in the travel and tourism industry. Certain platforms within the space are charging tens of thousands of dollars per year just to license the right to use their compiled reviews.
However, status quo review systems are notoriously inadequate. An inability to solve the identity problem, combined with improperly designed incentives, results in rampant fake reviews or reviews that are predominantly negative.
The importance of a genuine verification system and adequate economic incentivisation for well-intentioned reviewers cannot be understated. Thankfully, by leveraging decentralised technology under a Booking Platform Consortium model, a way to create such a system is now possible.
With such a model, Travala.com can lead the way in creating the technology that incentivises users to write thoughtful reviews (by allowing them to generate earnings from the reviews) while preventing non-Consortium members from freely using the reviews to their benefit.
At first, Travala.com would be the only member of the Consortium. Business development efforts would target similar-sized and like-minded travel booking platforms. Under this model, the ownership of the reviews stays with the Consortium, and it would be a copyright violation for others to use them.
To start, the existing reviews already compiled on Travala.com would be lent to the new review platform. Once others join the Consortium, they will receive the right to use existing reviews and submit new reviews. To join the Consortium, travel booking platforms will do the following:
- Submit a one-time payment to all Consortium members, with the payment split in proportion to the percentage of reviews submitted by each member. The first five Consortium members join free of charge.
- Lock-in AVA which must be purchased on the open market. The first five Consortium members receive an early-stage discount.
- Donate 10% of their staked AVA position every year to the Community Pool (discussed in the Decentralised Governance section below) as a fee to maintain membership.
- Platinum Members will receive full rights to use the reviews how they see fit. This protects Travala.com’s search engine optimization while still providing booking platforms with a cheaper way to obtain legitimate reviews. Platinum Memberships will be priced on an ad-hoc basis.
Decentralised Referral System
Affiliate marketing always requires the vendor to be honest and report affiliate earnings correctly. While a decentralised referral system would not completely eliminate the need for affiliates to trust Travala.com, it would at least enhance the transparency of the payout system. Further, since payments can be made using cryptocurrencies, there is the benefit of significantly lower transaction fees, particularly for cross-border payments.
Travala.com will track registrations of users who were referred by affiliates, then pay affiliates a percentage of the commission earned through bookings from the customer for a duration of five years. Once a month, bookings and affiliate earnings are uploaded to the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) to create an immutable record of who got paid, why, and when.
The IPFS is a decentralised file storage system. With IPFS, every file is referenced by its Content Identifier (“CID”), which is a unique hash of the file it represents. This means that every file in IPFS is tamper-proof, immutable, and referenced by a hash rather than a URL (as in the status quo).
The hash that represents each IPFS item can easily be stored in the memo ID field of a transaction on the blockchain. Travala.com will use this technique to associate otherwise arbitrary data on the blockchain, thereby ensuring the data cannot be manipulated by an attacker.
Each month, 30% of all net revenues from Travala.com are converted to AVA and added to the Community Pool, the balance of which is publicly visible. The funds in the Community Pool will be allocated by the community via the “Community Vote”. This feature will increase the utility of the AVA token, further contributing to the transparency of Travala.com and the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem.
The progressively decentralised model underpinning the Community Vote will provide the community with a mechanism to determine aspects of Travala.com’s future, with AVA token holders able to vote on how funds in the Community Pool are spent. Initially, proposals will be put forward by the Travala.com team based on sentiment from the community, with the view to open proposal submissions to the community in the future. Proposals could include marketing, development, or any other relevant topic.
AVA token holders who hold an active Smart membership will be able to vote in favor of or against proposals directly from the new voting area on Travala.com. Votes are allocated in proportion to the member’s applicable Smart Level, with Smart Level 1 members receiving one vote and Smart Level 5 members receiving five votes.
The primary advantage of decentralised governance is that it improves community engagement, builds loyalty and empowers members.