Dtravel v2 — Product Direction

Part 1: Empowering Hospitality Businesses

Knowing where you’re heading is the cornerstone of any well-planned journey, and it’s no different for Dtravel. To share what’s on the horizon with our community, we’ve put together a summary of our strategy for the first half of 2022, including hot-off-the-press info on Dtravel v2.

Read on to find out more about Dtravel v2, why we believe it’s a crucial step for home sharing and what it means for hosts.

What We’re Solving

In our recent 2021 Host Research article, we detailed the three key problems we discovered after dozens of host interviews.

Problem #1

Hosts lack control over money, policies, and relationships with their guests.

Problem #2

Hosts don’t receive adequate compensation from the value they contribute to current booking platforms.

Problem #3

Hosts lack a voice in influencing the future direction of the platforms they participate in.

Each of these three problems is front and center in our minds as we work towards developing Dtravel v2. With greater control, more equitable compensation and a louder voice, our aim is to give hosts the ownership they deserve when it comes to their business.

Introducing Dtravel v2

Dtravel v2 will provide hosts with infrastructure that enables them to accept on-chain bookings via a new web3 ecosystem that blends the freedom of direct booking sites and the simplicity of online travel agencies, offering unrivaled ownership and control over the entire booking process.

Design exploration for Dtravel direct booking site
Design exploration for Dtravel direct booking site
Design exploration for Dtravel checkout page
Design exploration for Dtravel checkout page

Direct booking sites let guests place reservations on host-managed websites rather than with online travel agencies, bypassing the intermediary in the process. This aligns with Dtravel’s web3 ethos, as it allows hosts to set their own booking terms, freely determine the content they display and retain a significantly greater portion of their earnings.

Design exploration for Dtravel Host Dashboard
Design exploration for Dtravel Host Dashboard

By decreasing reliance on third parties and channeling traffic away from online travel agencies, Dtravel v2 will help hosts move toward a more favorable solution. In 2021, only 38% of professionally managed US vacation rental bookings were placed on direct booking sites (down from 50% just two years earlier), with the remainder booked on online travel agency platforms (SOURCE). The amount of direct bookings would be even lower for properties that are not professionally managed, illustrating just how rapidly the dominance of online travel agencies continues to grow.

Direct bookings also typically yield a greater average stay value. For reference, it takes more than two bookings on Airbnb to equal the revenue derived from one direct reservation (SOURCE).

Data provided by VRM intel
Data provided by VRM intel

This is primarily due to longer length of stays and less last-minute bookings via direct channels, which in turn reduces cleaning, maintenance and operations costs. Other benefits of direct bookings include:

  • Diminishing cost of guest acquisition
  • More repeat bookings
  • Unconstrained communication channels with guests
  • Greater freedom to build a relationship with guests pre and post-booking

However, not all hosts have the resources or expertise to build, operate and sustainably market a direct booking site. Yet hosting on online travel agencies is becoming increasingly unsustainable due to high commission fees and unfavorable platform policies. That’s where Dtravel comes in.

Bringing Web3 to Home Sharing

Dtravel v2 takes the best of both worlds and creates a new web3 solution that’s in a completely different category altogether, establishing an ecosystem that empowers hosts rather than controlling them.

By enabling hosts to be part of an interconnected, direct-like ecosystem — rather than only using a standalone direct booking site that requires additional startup/maintenance costs, or an online travel agency that assumes almost total control and strips the autonomy of each host — the barrier to entry for hosts to take back control of their home sharing business is drastically reduced.

This approach has been determined in consultation with industry experts and property hosts, and is a step we believe will be significant to restoring the rightful place of hosts in the booking equation.

Eliminating the Middleman

The host problems and Early Adopter Hosts (pro-minded hosts who want to run their business without the interference of the middleman) identified in our 2021 Host Research article highlight the demand for increased ownership and decentralization. Hosts have less and less control over their business as the size of the web2 platforms their properties are listed on grows.

We believe that the core issue of host control is a result of outdated business models. Well-intended travel companies are unable to offer the level of control that hosts desire without risking the company’s revenue stream and, in turn, their obligations to shareholders.

This incentivizes a hierarchy that results in host needs becoming subordinate to corporate policies, shareholders and travelers alike, perpetuating the cycle of little control, no influence and disproportionate returns — the three key problems identified in our research.

To tackle this, Dtravel is taking a fundamentally different, decentralized approach to create a genuine community-owned and operated ecosystem, starting with the best elements of direct booking sites and online travel agencies.

That means more discussions with hosts and guests, greater democracy and more informed development from the very beginning to set concrete precedents for the continuance of these practices far into the future of Dtravel and, ultimately, to lay the foundations for the decentralized travel economy.

By removing the intermediary, our aim is for these web3 protocols to create tangible benefits for hosts in the real world: lower fees, greater control, direct traffic, more meaningful guest relationships, a rewarding hosting experience and a place within the Dtravel ecosystem that’s truly valued.

Our H1 Strategy

In line with our strategy to deliver Dtravel v2, we’ve launched a closed Host Beta Program in H1 2022 composed of a select group of Early Adopter Hosts to trial the ecosystem and inform its next iterations.

With the insights of these highly engaged hosts guiding our decisions, we’ll be positioned to design and build a more complete product that reflects the views of hosts and better meets their needs.

The launch of Dtravel v2 promises a new era of hosting; a novel approach that blends features of direct booking sites and online travel agencies while applying the decentralized principles of web3. It’ll also see the industry's first-ever channel for on-chain home sharing reservations, with payments automated through smart contracts.

We’re committed to solving the challenges that exist within the prevalent home sharing platforms of today to ensure a more empowered, democratic and rewarding tomorrow for all hosts. Together, we can build that future.

Join Future Host Beta Programs

We’re incredibly eager to work with and learn from hosts through the Host Beta Program and encourage expressions of interest from experienced home sharing hosts below.

To apply, please complete the survey here.

If you have previously registered for our waitlist, you’ve automatically been added to our application pipeline.

We’ll be regularly sharing more details of our Host Beta Program, so stay updated and be the first to know by following us on our socials.

As always, we thank our community for their support and will continue to share regular updates as part of our ongoing commitment to transparency and communication.

We’ll be outlining the details of what Dtravel v2 means for travelers in a Part 2 post in this series soon, so stay tuned.

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