Online Travel Agent Expedia Latest Company To Accept Bitcoin

The adoption of Bitcoin by major companies continues–earlier today online travel agency Expedia has announced that they’ll begin accepting the cryptocurrency for hotel bookings. Expedia isn’t going ‘all in’ yet–for the time being they’ll only accept Bitcoin for payment of hotel booking and not airline travel, rental cars, etc. Still, it’s another domino falling toward mainstream adoption of Bitcoin.

Like satellite TV provider Dish Network (who announced their Bitcoin acceptance plans in late May) Expedia will leverage Coinbase’s payment systems to facilitate Bitcoin transactions. When a Expedia customer selects Bitcoin as a payment option it’ll transfer them to the Coinbase site for payment authorization and then back to the Expedia site to finalize the transaction. It’s a very similar process as PayPal uses for payments with many merchants.

Expedia Vice President of Global Product Michael Gulmann said the move was made in response to an ‘uptick in customer requests’ for the company to accept Bitcoin. He continued to say that the ‘timing is right’ both in terms of Bitcoin’s growth and his own company’s life cycle. He admitted that he was unsure about how many customers will take advantage of the Bitcoin payment option saying ‘that if I gave you any number I know it would be wrong’.

Gulman contradicted what many corporate suits have said about Bitcoin–it isn’t difficult to integrate it as a payment option nor is it, in Gulman’s words, “not that big” in terms of cost overhead. The move has a number of obvious upsides for Expedia–not only is it good PR and creates goodwill among the tech savvy and affluent Bitcoin community it has the potential of creating a significant impact on their bottom line. Expedia had $4 billion in revenue last year and you don’t have to be a CPA to understand the significance of saving 2.95% per transaction received by credit card companies and processors. Bitcoin use incurs no fees which is an ancillary benefit for companies that get ahead of the technological curve. This 2.95% figure is a ‘sunk cost’ and anything that Expedia can save by driving transactions via Bitcoin is essentially ‘found money’.