With the launch of Dtravel v2 right around the corner, now’s the perfect opportunity to shed more light on what to expect and what the vision is beyond the v2 product.
As the second version of a long-term product, Dtravel v2 is still very early in the life of the project, but lays an important foundation for the decentralized short-term rental ecosystem that’s being built, which will continue to evolve, expand and improve with time.
In this article, we’ll discuss what differentiates Dtravel v2 from web2 platforms, why we chose a host-first approach for Dtravel v2, and how we’re building a guest experience that embodies the ethos of decentralization.
Dtravel is a tool rather than a platform. By combining the freedom of direct booking sites with the simplicity of online travel agencies, Dtravel v2 creates a unique web3 travel ecosystem that benefits both hosts and guests.
As a web3 ecosystem, there’s no intermediary between hosts and guests who use Dtravel. Bookings are conducted on-chain in a peer-to-peer manner, with Dtravel acting solely as the technology provider that facilitates these transactions.
This distinguishes Dtravel from existing web2 short-term rental platforms and online travel agencies, since Dtravel doesn’t exercise control over booking payments, disputes or policies. We believe that hosts deserve greater ownership of their short-term rental businesses to prevent their businesses from being at the mercy of unpredictable or inconsistent third-party policies and decisions.
The launch of Dtravel v2 aims to lower the barrier to entry for hosts and property managers while establishing a direct booking channel that offers lower fees, greater control and unrestricted guest communication.
Following the launch of Dtravel v2 — which was designed with hosts in mind and enables travelers to book directly with hosts — the attention will turn to building a better guest experience that allows travelers to efficiently find and book Dtravel properties around the world.
Dtravel v2 is a host-centric product specifically designed for hosts and property managers to easily embark on their web3 short-term rental journeys. Hosts will be able to list their properties on Dtravel via a property management system (PMS) — currently Hostaway, with more PMS integrations on the way — in just a few clicks.
With a PMS, hosts can manage bookings, pricing, calendars, guest information, financial reports, guest communications, cleaning duties and more across all booking platforms using one interface. This means minimal effort is spent to establish Dtravel as an additional channel, reducing the time burden of listing properties.
The host-first approach was implemented for several key reasons. First, bookings increase as the supply of available properties increases. As a global project, it’s crucial to build a product that initially prioritizes building distributed supply which can meet the demand of travelers. Without a strong foundation of properties, Dtravel cannot flourish.
Second, the problem of ownership is primarily applicable to hosts’ businesses. Most guests only book a handful of stays each year. Most hosts, however, manage their short-term rental business almost daily, which is subject to certain limitations of the platforms their properties are listed on, such as the terms, policies and page layout. Web3 is all about creating an ownership economy, starting with those who are most affected.
Third, the hosting process is significantly more involved than the guest booking process. Hosts set their cancellation policy and booking rules, choose the payment methods they wish to accept from guests — including selected cryptocurrencies, fiat currency via Stripe, or both — and connect their non-custodial wallets (if accepting cryptocurrencies). Hosts who haven’t had much prior exposure to web3 applications may also require additional time to ensure their businesses are set up optimally.
The success of Dtravel depends on the success of hosts. Without hosts, there are no guests and there is no Dtravel. For this reason, we ran (and will continue to run) the Host Beta Program: to ensure we build what hosts truly want, not what we think they want.
The next critical step is to create a guest experience that allows for the efficient searchability of listings. With Dtravel listings initially only bookable directly via a unique link, we recognize the need for guests to have a simple way of viewing and comparing available listings on Dtravel.
Dtravel v2 will enable guests to book with hosts via a unique link, much like a typical direct booking website that leads straight to a host’s or hotel’s own website. However, sending potential guests to this link requires marketing power, which is one of the core obstacles of direct bookings.
Designing a way for guests to easily discover Dtravel properties is therefore the next large-scale task that will serve to connect hosts and guests, creating a more cohesive ecosystem. This is where Dtravel’s novel crossover between direct bookings and online travel agencies will happen.
To do so in a way that is consistent with the web3 ethos of decentralization, a balance needs to be struck to avoid the trap of becoming a web2 platform. Guests require the ability to find and compare listings, while hosts must continue to retain full ownership over their businesses.
There are various considerations to factor in when addressing this problem, such as whether an aggregator model should be used, how listings will be ranked, whether hosts should have the flexibility to opt-in to the proposed model, and many others.
As part of our ongoing commitment to build for the community, we’re currently exploring potential solutions with hosts in our Host Beta Program. We’re also inviting travelers to participate in our Guest Beta Program and share the most important parts of the guest travel experience to help shape what a native web3 guest experience might look like.
With Dtravel v2 set to launch in the coming weeks, you’ll soon be able to take the plunge into a web3 travel ecosystem as either a host or guest (or both!). Enjoy greater control, lower fees and a new journey with Dtravel.