9 mins ago |
By Julio Gil-Pulgar – |
Bitcoin-Accepting Expedia to Accelerate Its Global Expansion
Expedia, the giant pro-Bitcoin online travel company, has worldwide expansion plans. Specifically, the company’s new CEO will push for expanding the company’s presence into Europe and Asia.
Expedia Uses Technology and Accepts Bitcoin to Revolutionize Travel
Expedia’s new CEO Mark Okerstrom told the Financial Times that the company is planning to speed-up its expansion plans.
In this regard, Okerstrom sees new technologies as playing a dominant role in the travel industry, such artificial intelligence and voice platforms, he said in an interview with GeekWire.
In effect, Expedia is a company that has successfully demonstrated the aggressive use technology to its advantage. Indeed, Expedia’s vision is, “to revolutionize travel through the power of technology.”
Bitcoin is one example of Expedia’s use of technology. In 2014, while Mark Okerstrom was Chief Financial Officer and EVP of Operations, Expedia became one of the largest online travel companies in the world to accept Bitcoin.
When announcing that the company was accepting Bitcoin, Michael Gulmann, Vice President, Expedia Global Product said, “Expedia, Inc. is in a unique position, as one of the world’s leading online travel agencies, to solve travel planning and booking for our customers and partners alike by adopting the latest payment technologies.”
Uber, Expedia, and Bitcoin
Mark Okerstrom holds an MBA degree from Harvard. He replaces Dara Khosrowshahi, another pro-Bitcoin business leader.
Khosrowshahi headed Expedia from 2005 until September 2017. Under his leadership, the company started to accept the cryptocurrency. Khosrowshahi is now the CEO of Uber. However, according to an Expedia press release, Khosrowshahi will remain as a member of Expedia’s Board of Directors.
Expedia’s acceptance of the cryptocurrency is executed through Coinbase. Clients wanting to pay in Bitcoin are re-directed to Coinbase’s website. Coinbase sets the Bitcoin exchange rate.
Now that Bitcoin-friendly executives head Uber and Expedia, it might be within the realm of the possibility that these two disrupter companies will eventually find areas in which they could collaborate.
In this regard, GeekWire’s editor, Toddy Bishop, asked Okerstrom whether he expected partnerships with Uber. Okerstrom replied, “I would hope so. We were just actually in New York together last week and I spent a couple of hours with Dara. I think we’re both quite focused on, how do we make the most of the opportunities within our boundaries. But, you know I think it’s possible in the future. I’d love to see it.”
In November 1999, Microsoft announced the Initial Public Offering for Expedia Online Travel Services. This was the first Microsoft division to be spun off into a public company. At that time, Expedia had become the most popular Web offering, comprising seven million users.
Now, Expedia owns and manages several products, such as Hotels.com, Trivago, Travelocity, CarRentals.com, Hotwire, and Egencia.
Bitcoin Rides the Skies
Expedia expanding its presence worldwide will help Bitcoin increase its adoption rate.
In fact, Bitcoin’s usefulness is being increasingly recognized by the travel industry.
Daedalus Drones, for example, offers its services for Bitcoin. AirBaltic and Polish Airlines LOT also accept Bitcoin as payment.
Recently, other air travel companies have been embracing Bitcoin. Peach Aviation Ltd. plans to accept Bitcoin. Peach CEO Shinichi Inoue said that through this initiative, “We want to encourage visitors from overseas and the revitalization of Japan’s regions,” according to Bloomberg Technology.
CheapAir also allows customers to book their flights with Bitcoin.
Perhaps, Expedia, by joining forces with Uber and using Bitcoin as a payment option, will have a chance to gain market share from Priceline, which is one of Expedia’s main competitors.
What are your thoughts about Bitcoin becoming the main currency of the travel industry in the near future? Let us know in the comments below!