The future of travel is digital currency, especially if you ask travelers like Felix Weis of Luxembourg. In 2015, Weis cut up his credit cards and converted everything but a small amount of cash to what he called “the most exciting global socioeconomic experiment right now“, more popularly known as bitcoins. Over seven months, Weis traveled to 14 countries with ease thanks to the digital currency.
The choices that travelers make when interacting with your industry are critical to your continued success. Weis’ example is important because it brings bitcoin into fresh focus. Adopting it into your business’ plan presents a real opportunity to help your customers convert foreign currency easier, transform unwanted miles into usable currency and make travel easier in general.
Converting foreign currency
Bitcoin is a digital currency, as Economy Watch reports, whose value is based on computing memory and the work done by computers that help create it in the first place. The system is most attractive to travelers seeking mobility and lower costs. There is no need to carry cash when everything is paid for using a digital wall, and payments using the currency are free of punishing exchange rates, unusable ATM cards or cross-border fees, which allows travelers more money to spend on upgrades and other travel amenities.
Several airlines have lead the charge in accepting bitcoins as travelers push for the travel industry to realize the potential packed into the digital currency equation. However, avoiding them altogether could mean loss of business. For examples, if hotels don’t yet accept the option, future potential guests may turn to the social web to find individuals with an open rooms that do take the currency.
Third parties are helping airlines leverage the currency around frequent-flyer miles, as Skift notes, allowing them to offer travelers instant conversion of unwanted miles to the digital units. And then, OTAs such as CheapAir and Expedia, having adopted the payments, can capture those travelers’ business via new bookings. The evolution of miles and digital currency conversions allows industry players to use it to leverage efficiency and drive consumer options that lead to revenue.
Making foreign travel easier
As Weis’ story demonstrates, offering travelers the option to pay with nontraditional currency means they don’t have to worry about exchange rates and currency conversion while traveling abroad. In recent years, industry providers such as airBaltic are increasingly accepting the currency. Additionally, a Universal Air Travel Plan partnership with payment processing partner Bitnet is now poised to enable payments via bitcoin for more than 250 international air travel providers.
Using a digital currency means your customers have one less hassle to stress about. And as the Harvard Business Review reports, this technology can potentially store identification and travel documents like passports, making future travel even simpler in the future.
Based on what travelers are telling the industry, the time is now to lean into your consumers’ experiences and put the new currency at the fore of your future-minded strategies.