David Watson, the general director for Future.Travel, stated “We offer the Bitcoin payment option for customers as an alternative to traditional credit card and bank transfers. Customers were continuously complaining about the high cost of fees charged by their credit card companies for transactions, while corporate customers were focused on bank charges for transfers as well as the speed of the transfer process. With a Bitcoin acceptance we manage to address both of those major issues.” Bitcoin transactions are processed instantaneously with funds transfers taking a few seconds.
Bitcoin (BTC) is a digitally generated currency gaining popularity for international and domestic trade transactions. Bitcoin’s decentralized control systems mean that no government controls the value of the currency, while some governments do restrict the trade of the currency. Bitcoin is seen by many as the foundation example for countries future digital currencies as they move forward to establish a new millennium currency for the populace.
“For Future.Travel it made sense to have Bitcoin as a payment method. We are a progressive, future thinking company and can see the value to the consumer, as well as to ourselves, for accepting this method of payment. IATA, the international organization that manages air transport, estimated that in 2012 that more than 57 million jobs and 2.2 trillion dollars were associated in the air transport/travel sector. That is a lot of money passing hands which has financial transaction fees attached to it. We are looking at ways to reduce costs and see Bitcoin could be beneficial for both the public and the industry.” Said Watson.
Customers shop for flights and services on the Future.Travel website in their favorite local currency. This allows them to have real time ticketing availability results, as Future.Travel is a live GDS site, as compared to meta-sites that scrape and consolidate offers from other locations. Once a flight or product is selected and booked, the customer is provided at checkout with a traditional currency price for the purchase. At this point they may choose to pay via credit card, corporate account, or Bitcoin. At check-out has an opt-in CSR funding option for travelers to support social enterprises that improve living standards for less fortunate individuals.
Watson says that the key to new technology innovation is having the right partners. “We watched the Bitcoin commercial interface development for several years. It wasn’t until early this year that we found a platform that was able to satisfy our specific demands for public ease-of-use and backend integration into Future.Travel’s realtime flight booking and financial systems.” He summed up the move to Bitcoin acceptance as “Future.Travel accepting Bitcoin for flights and other products is our way of embracing the future of travel and how people will pay for services.”.