With just a few days left in 2016, we in the hospitality industry are all asking the same question: after such a successful year, what can we look forward to in 2017? This was clearly on Brian Chesky’s mind too; the Airbnb co-founder and CEO asked the Airbnb community via social media what the company’s users would like to see in 2017. Interestingly, many users responded with Bitcoin payment integration.
Bitcoin, an innovative open-source payment system with a public design, allows for faster monetary transactions, worldwide payments, lower processing fees, and other uses that have elevated it over other payment systems in the public eye. Notably, Airbnb competitor and renowned travel company, Expedia, has experienced considerable success in their integration of the Bitcoin payment system. Expedia Vice President of Global Product, Michael Gulmann, explained that Bitcoin functionality is initially only available for hotel bookings, but that the company would “absolutely, absolutely, absolutely” expand into full-scale Bitcoin acceptance with sufficient customer support.
Chesky reacted to Airbnb users’ desire for Bitcoin integration with astonishment. “Wow didn’t realize this,” he wrote in response to a tweet explaining Expedia’s new Bitcoin payment system implementation. Ultimately, he expressed pleasant surprise by the number of users willing to give more business to the Airbnb platform if the company begins to accept Bitcoin payments.
We at MetroButler are excited by this potential new development in the sharing economy. Bitcoin can minimize the transaction fees that Airbnb users are forced to face through their credit card or PayPal transactions. As this change could represent a mutually beneficial relationship between two growing companies, we are eagerly looking forward to what 2017 could hold for the future of the hospitality industry.