Expedia is the latest large company to decide that accepting Bitcoin may not be such a bad idea. The online hotel and flight booking agency has decided to partner with Coinbase in order to accept Bitcoin payments from all over the world. Much like the other big companies that have recently decided to accept Bitcoin, Expedia will be instantly converting their bitcoins into dollars after they have been received. As more large companies continue to adopt Bitcoin left and right, the rise of Bitcoin is beginning to feel like the rise of PayPal from a decade ago.
Starting with Hotels Only
One thing that needs to be pointed out about Expedia’s acceptance of Bitcoin is that they’ll be starting with hotels before moving onto anything else. An Expedia spokesperson claimed that the company would “eventually expand Bitcoin payments to its other lines of business”, and they started with hotels because that is where they saw the largest amount of demand from their customers. Expedia wants to test the waters with hotels before they move onto other parts of their business, and the timing related to when customers will be able to book flights, car rentals, and other travel-related expenses with Bitcoin is really going to depend on the success of Bitcoin for hotel bookings.
Competition in the Space
Although Expedia is by far the largest travel website to accept Bitcoin payments, there is already a good amount of competition in this space. The most compelling option for Bitcoin travelers at this moment seems to be BTCTrip, which is a travel website that only accepts payment in Bitcoin. BTCTrip recently added hotel bookings to go along with their flight options, and they have plenty of plans when it comes to making sure that the Bitcoin ecosystem grows over the long term. The company is currently looking to build relationships with different hotel chains around the world, and they’d even like to turn some hotels into local Bitcoin exchanges. While it’s great to see a large company like Expedia embrace Bitcoin, it’s also nice to know that there are other companies out there who are trying to promote Bitcoin as much as they’re trying to increase their own profits.
Bitcoin is Perfect for Travelers
The main reason that we’re seeing travel companies adopt Bitcoin rather quickly is that the digital currency makes sense for people who are travelling to different parts of the world on a regular basis. In a perfect Bitcoin world, bitcoins would be widely accepted in a variety of different locations, which would get rid of the need to switch between local currencies every time you entered a new country. If you’re a travelling businessman who needs to be a new city every week, it would be nice if you could just keep some bitcoins on your phone to spend at the local bars, restaurants, hotels, and cab services. Nobody likes to face all of those fees when you need to exchange dollars for euros or pesos, and it makes much more sense for everyone to use the same currency in this new, globalized economy. It’s likely that globalization will eventually lead to one major currency to rule them all, but whether or not the bitcoin will end up being that currency is still up for debate. It certainly looks like a frontrunner at this point in time.