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Is Cryptocurrency the way forward for the local accom sector?

Australian business slow to cash in on border-less currency options

Cryptocurrency goes by many names these days – Ethereum, Dogecoin, Binance, Tether, Ripple, and Stablecoin but the one virtual currency most of us have heard of is Bitcoin.

So, what exactly is it?

Speak to an expert and they will tell you Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator, that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.

In layman’s terms, it something you can use to buy stuff!

Bitcoin grabbed the world’s attention in September when El Salvador has become the first country to accept it as legal tender in a move that has had the nation and the world debating the opportunities and dangers of cryptocurrency.

More than 200 new cash machines have been installed across the country to enable bitcoin to be converted into dollars.

But not everyone is a fan and many governments around the world, including China, are going in the opposite direction, and attempting to restrict the adoption of cryptocurrency with increased regulations.

So, what can you buy with it?

There is currently a wide variety of goods and services that you can spend your Bitcoins including cafes and restaurants, pubs, florists, dental and other medical treatment, computers and electronics, in retail outlets, on home renovations and building supplies, pet food, gaming, movies – you can even donate Bitcoin to the charity of your choice.

But what about the accommodation sector?

Looking at overseas, in the Asian accommodation sector, many hoteliers widely accept cryptocurrency.

As examples, top end Thailand properties The Pavilions Phuket Hotels & Resorts and Sri Panwa Phuket both accept Bitcoin and S Hotels & Resorts is allowing guests to pay virtual currencies at its two Maldives properties, SAii Lagoon Maldives and Hard Rock Hotel Maldives.

The five-star Chedi Andermatt in the Swiss Alps now accepts Bitcoin and Ethereum and the Kessler Collection, which currently comprises 12 super-luxury properties, has recently become the first US hotel group to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment.

But what about Australia where it seems that the accommodation sector has been a little slower than its overseas counterparts on the uptake and if local businesses do accept Bitcoin, they don’t seem to be advertising the fact.

Speaking with multi-hotel proprietor Dr Jerry Schwartz, his comment was that while he is all for it, but given his properties are directly managed by other companies, he has not to date ventured into the realm of Bitcoin transactions.

Digging deep, Accom News was able to find one resort listed online – the Aiyawa Retreat in Denmark, Western Australia, which accepts Bitcoin.

Earlier this year it was reported that Booking.com has partnered with Crypto.com highlighting the growing commitment major retailers are making to the digital economy.

Crypto.com users who make Booking.com reservations in the App now enjoy further discounts when using the Crypto.com Visa Card.

Crypto.com CEO, Kris Marszalek, said in 2020 the Crypto.com Visa Card program grew to become the most widely available card of its kind, serving over five million users around the world eager to travel again in 2021.

Accom News has contacted Booking.com for comment on Cryptocurrency uptake in the Australian market and some insight into how many of the businesses it works with in Australia subscribe to Crypto.com.

At press time had not yet heard back from the company.

We would be really interested to know who in the Australian accommodation sector does accept cryptocurrency and additionally, what owners have to say on the subject.

Love it, hate it, value it – let us have your comments on this interesting and ever-evolving subject.

Mike Parker-Brown

Mike Parker-Brown is a UK-trained and qualified journalist and an award-winning travel communicator with more than 30 years experience. Since 2002, Mike has worked as a freelance writer and PR consultant providing his services to major organisations in Australia and internationally in the tourism, aviation, hospitality, recruitment and export marketing sectors.

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