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Blockchain Can Help Facilitate ‘Direct Connections’ Between Users and Hotels — Staynex’s Bernard Lau


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Blockchain Can Help Facilitate 'Direct Connections' Between Users and Hotels — Staynex's Bernard Lau

Using blockchain can potentially minimize intermediary expenses incurred by players in the hospitality industry because the technology makes it possible to facilitate direct connections between users and hotels, Bernard Lau, CEO of Staynex and LABS Group, has said. Lau, whose company focuses on onboarding resorts & hotels to Web3, argued that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can be used to enhance hotels’ product offerings “particularly in the realm of loyalty membership rewards.”

Using Blockchain to Eliminate Intermediaries

With respect to timeshares, also known as vacation ownerships, Bernard Lau told Bitcoin.com News that the blockchain’s key attributes can effectively help lower the costs of such ventures. In addition, when their ownership is more transparent, timeshares can still turn out to be an “interesting concept” just as they were in the past, the CEO added.

Lau also spoke of how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to curate optimal selections, itineraries, and prices which are inside customers’ budget limits. And since AI is able to efficiently present the top choices, it means prospective customers will not waste time searching for the best possible deal, Lau suggested.

In written answers sent to Bitcoin.com News via Telegram, Lau also explained how even less tech-savvy customers can use or pay using NFTs and crypto. He also touched on how Web3 travel solutions can be used to ease inconveniences for digital nomads. Below are the Staynex and LABS Group CEO’s answers to questions from Bitcoin.com News.

Bitcoin.com News (BCN): What are some of the unique Web3 use cases for the hospitality industry and how can hotels and resorts implement blockchain technology into their existing businesses without hurting the guest experience?

Bernard Lau (BL): The market is currently dominated by a few online travel agents (OTA), creating an oligopoly. By imposing charges of 15-35% on hotels, this structure could eventually harm the industry. Such charges compel hotels to slash their margins, consequently hindering their ability to deliver premier services and diminishing their branding influence. Blockchain technology, however, offers a solution by facilitating direct connections between users and hotels, thereby minimizing intermediary expenses.

Furthermore, NFTs present an opportunity to enhance product offerings, particularly in the realm of loyalty membership rewards. This innovation not only benefits the hotel industry but also enables integration with other sectors. Travel and tourism are intrinsically linked with the entertainment and corporate sectors, and all should collaborate for optimal synergy.

BCN: In the hospitality industry, timeshare is an interesting concept which is plagued by several issues like hidden costs, pushy sales, difficulty in booking, etc. Can blockchain-based solutions address these challenges and make timeshares a better concept?

BL: Certainly, by ensuring transparency and establishing clear ownership, blockchain can significantly reduce costs. This technology enables hotels to enhance their product offerings and benefits hotels of all scales, not just the global giants. Furthermore, integrating timeshares with loyalty/membership programs can be advantageous, emphasizing the importance of fostering long-term relationships with customers rather than focusing solely on one-time transactions.

BCN: Your company allows hotels and resorts to create NFTs. Can you tell us what benefits these NFTs could unlock for users and how is this different from booking a stay or an experience via an OTA?

BL: The experience is akin to what OTAs offer, but instead of merely booking a night, you’re purchasing a curated experience, package, or vacation directly crafted by the hotels. Benefits encompass guaranteed stays subject to availability and exclusive access to partnered experiences, like those with Arsenal. For instance, when you buy a package from a hotel that incorporates the Arsenal features, attendees also get the chance to watch a match.

It’s important to note that our collaborations aren’t exclusive to Arsenal. We’re forging global partnerships with concerts, events, gyms, and co-working spaces. This empowers hotels on our platform to craft unique offerings and foster synergies with these ecosystem collaborators.

BCN: At the moment it is difficult for non-crypto savvy tourists or business travelers to get into crypto and start using the NFTs. How have you made this easier for such users?

BL: Your interaction will feel seamless, and you might not even realize you’re using blockchain. Staynex offers the familiarity of a Web 2.0 interface paired with the robustness of a Web 3.0 infrastructure. You can sign up using your social media accounts and pay with either fiat or crypto, even if you’ve never used a digital wallet before.

BCN: Staynex recently partnered with the Chinese telecom giant Huawei to improve the travel experience for users with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and Web3 technologies. Can you tell our readers more about the role of AI in the hospitality industry?

BL: AI leads the charge in numerous industry innovations. One approach we’re exploring allows users to specify their desired trip destination and the number of participants, be it individuals, families, or groups. The AI then curates optimal selections, itineraries, and prices tailored to your budget and party size. This eliminates the need to scour for the best deals, as the AI efficiently presents the top choices directly to you.

Additionally, employing AI in dynamic pricing ensures we remain competitive on all levels, assisting hotels in maximizing the value they derive from bookings.

BCN: Digital nomadism has skyrocketed in popularity following the Covid pandemic. To keep costs down, nomads are often looking for good deals on stays without committing to longer stays. They want the freedom and the ability to keep traveling every few weeks. Do you think Web3 travel solutions can address such inconveniences for nomads?

BL: Absolutely. Currently, users predominantly face two choices: pay steep prices on OTAs or opt for rentals with fixed durations. We’re exploring the tokenization of individual nights, granting users the flexibility to stay and redeem at their convenience, all while maintaining competitive prices.

What are your thoughts about this interview? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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