The beast has been let loose: Expedia, one of the world’s largest online travel agencies, has announced it will be accepting Bitcoin for hotel bookings.
In so doing, the website becomes the first major entity in the sector to cater for Bitcoin’s growing clientele, following US pioneer Cheapair.com, and hopes to drum up support and subsequently provide payment facilities across its operations, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Vice president of global product, Michael Gulmann, told the publication the decision was arrived at separately by various sides of the company before the move was finalized. “This is one of those ideas that seemed to have sprung from three different places all at once,” he said.
Bitcoin functionality will initially be available for hotel bookings only, Gulmann explains, wanting to “start at a reasonable, small place,” but added that the company will “absolutely, absolutely, absolutely” expand into full-scale acceptance if sufficient customer support is felt.
Expedia has confirmed its use of Coinbase as a payment processor, which will convert funds daily into USD for the time being.
This week is shaping up to be quite a milestone for mainstream interest in Bitcoin, with Richard Branson investing in alternative money transfer service TransferWise following participation in a US$30million investment in Bitcoin payment merchant Bitpay in May.
Nevertheless, it is the gravitas of the Expedia brand which makes this particular decision an exciting enhancement to Bitcoin’s functionality in the eyes of consumers.