Travala platform and its AVA token were designed to make travelling more affordable and accessible to the crypto community with the help of a decentralized technology and token-based incentives.
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What Is Travala?
Travala is a platform for hotel and accommodation booking, covering more than 500,000 properties across the globe. What is supposed to set it apart from global competitors such as Booking.com is its push towards becoming a “next-generation online travel agency” focusing on cryptocurrency technology and the community built around it. With that in mind, the Travala team started implementing blockchain technology to help the travel industry cut its costs, make travel packages less expensive, create a secure payment platform and provide seamless management of loyalty rewards programs.
At the heart of this system is Travala token (AVA) which helps the platform offer tokenized incentives to its customers and any other user that can help the platform grow. This is usually done by providing reviews of accommodation properties and services and creating related content, as well as by bringing other customers to the platform. AVA tokens are available for the savings programs as well, with the rewards offered by the platform being in proportion to the size of the stakes in the users’ wallets. In addition to AVA, the platform users can pick any of more than 40 supported cryptocurrencies to pay for their travel arrangements, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Zcash, BNB, Dogecoin and others.
Travala (formerly known as Concierge) was launched in July 2018, following its initial coin offering in April of 2018 during which it was promoted as a travel system seeking to leverage the power of blockchain. The effort managed to raise some USD 2.6 million, providing a solid foundation for the platform’s expansion to more than 200 countries. The key personnel behind the project includes Steve Hipwell, Founder & Chief Operations Officer at Travala, and Matthew Lopez, its CIO, CFO & Co-Founder, together with a host of advisors with the travel industry and blockchain expertise backgrounds.
What Is Travala Trying to Achieve?
Travala project was initially launched with the aim to correct some of the perceived shortcomings of the existing globally available travel platforms, including:
- Travala wants to make the crypto payments a mainstream option in the travel industry. One of the inspirations for the launch of Travala was the case of Expedia, a global travel booking giant, which dropped its support for Bitcoin in mid-2018. Following this, Travala was arguably fashioned as a crypto equivalent of Expedia, with its equal level of support for both fiat and cryptocurrency payments which both feature instant confirmations, guaranteed booking and the absence of booking fees. Going beyond this, Travala ultimately aims to become a cryptocurrency-first, fiat-second travel platform.
- Travala bills itself as a cheaper travel option, featuring no hidden costs and less transparent practices. For starters, the Travala users should have access to a range of exclusive hotel deals, going to as high as 40% in all of the properties included in the Travala’s offer. This stems from Travala’s pledge to avoid exerting a commercial pressure on hotels and travel services to maximize their revenue per rented space and try to reduce costs at the expense of guests. Travala promises to combat high commission fees which are sometimes promoted by the online travel agencies whose customers are then forced to pay for largely “unseen” costs. Based on this, Travala describes itself as being cheaper by at least 15% on average, compared to its competitors such as Expedia or Booking.com. In addition, Travala boasts itself as featuring no hidden fees, such as those found on Airbnb, for example, thus strengthening its claim to deliver a transparent fee structure to its customers.
- Implementation of the AVA token should make the Travala ecosystem more enticing to the users who are still in two minds about the use of cryptocurrencies in the travel and tourism industries. To the customers who opt for AVA token, Travala will offer participation in its loyalty and discount schemes. These are supposed to give them an additional 10% in their AVA token savings, based on the reward tiers for token staking and referrals. In addition, AVA tokens serve as a means of payment for all refunds on the Travala platform, regardless of which currency was used for the initial payment. Finally, AVA tokens are used to cover the fuel cost incurred by the partnering platforms whenever they want to make use of Travala’s infrastructure for the benefit of their travel offerings.
How Does One Use Travala and AVA Tokens?
The Travala team plans to develop their project around the idea of the user’s journey, starting from the trip planning and organization and ending with the earning of AVA tokens:
- The journey starts by checking the Travala.com website, which operates as a hub of information on available travel arrangements with advanced search functions. First-time users will be prompted to register, with the bonus of receiving a reward for joining the platform in the form of AVA tokens. Returning users will be notified to purchase or deposit new tokens if their AVA funds are running low.
- The users can start the actual booking process by providing the necessary information and making a decision on how to make payments, including fiat currencies, AVA tokens or other cryptos. This can largely depend on one’s need for the promotional prices and the most attractive discount deals which are reserved only for the payments made with AVA. In this case, AVA tokens can be used to pay for the entire booking arrangement or a fraction of its full amount.
- Once the users set off, their Travala-based personal dashboard will be used to manage all booked arrangements. There is also a selection of Travala’s strategic partners that accept AVA tokens on site as a means of payment for upgrades and additional services while traveling, with an option to get access to better rewards in the end.
- Once their journey is complete, the users have an opportunity to provide a review of their experience. These reviews need to be cryptographically verified as authentic prior to being deemed as eligible for rewards in the form of AVA tokens. Tokens are also awarded for customer referrals which do not have to be limited to Travala platform itself, but rather to the property the traveler used to stay at. In addition, the users are incentivized to work on their platform-based reputation, as those with high enough scores become eligible to receive AVA tokens. Reputation is earned by being voted for by other users who find the provided content and feedback as being useful to them.
How Do Travala’s dApp and Protocol Layers Work?
The Travala platform is built upon three main layers which make up the core of its ecosystem:
- The Travala dApp Layer. This layer functions as the platform’s user-facing interface. Its main role is making it possible for the customers to browse the supplier offerings and complete their bookings based on their choice. The layer also supports access to the built-in Travala wallet which is used to store tokens such as AVA. DApp layer also serves as a support engine which allows users to post their reviews of the services they received with the help of the Travala platform. Finally, this layer links the customers with special offers and additional services such as travel insurance.
- The Travala Protocol Layer. This layer handles the underlying economic engine of the platform. It supports the implementation of NEP-5 contract standard across the layer. The Protocol Layer is home to a host of smart contracts which govern the interactions between all stakeholders in the Travala’s ecosystem, including travelers, suppliers and the platform’s strategic partners. The platform uses NEO blockchain for the booking process, with a new smart contract being deployed whenever a booking is made.
- This layer also plays an important role in enabling the value transfer on the platform, including economic transactions and reputation feedback. This is done with the help of proxy smart contracts, which are used to establish the validity of the process and greenlight the transfers for the involved stakeholders. The examples include the transfer of token-based value between customers and the property and service providers, such as when confirming the accommodation bookings.
How Does Travala’s Consensus Layer Function?
The Travala Consensus Layer chiefly handles the underlying records on the Travala platform. As this layer is built upon the NEO blockchain foundation, it also uses the dBFT (Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerant) protocol which combines the features of the delegated Proof of Stake system.
The Travala team promotes this system as being capable of processing some 1000 transactions per second, with the plans to increase its scalability to some 100,000 tx/s in the coming years. This layer serves as the repository for the governing records which feature essential information related to the main stakeholders in the platform’s economy. Once again, the proxy smart contracts are used to keep track of states which are related to monetary operations and data management. The examples include monitoring of the users’ token balances and their commitments defined under smart contracts. Based on this, the platform is capable of verifying the reputation of individual users and confirming it as trusted.
AVA Token Availability
As of July 2019, the market cap of the Travala cryptocurrency stood at USD 4.6 million. Some 39 million AVA tokens are currently in circulation, with the total supply being capped at more than 61 million units. AVA tokens are readily available for trading on cryptocurrency exchanges such as KuCoin and others.