With 2022 nearly behind us, it's time to start getting excited about what we have planned for the new year. We believe 2023 is going to be a big one, but before we get into it, let's look back at the milestones and achievements over the past 12-months. From delivering groundbreaking updates that have cemented Dtravel as a premium direct booking solution for short-term rental operators to accelerator programs, global media attention and more, we take you back to January and detail where we started, what we accomplished and where we’re heading in 2023.
2022 Media, Recognition, and Awards
Throughout 2022 Dtravel had the honor of participating in multiple high profile accelerator programs, conferences, speaking engagements and received multiple nominations and awards. Here are just a few highlights:
A Historic Milestone - The world’s first on-chain hospitality booking powered by a smart contract was processed by a property manager using Dtravel Direct. This historic milestone was covered by many publications including Skift, Coindesk, Short Term Rentalz, Yahoo, and Blockworks just to name a few.
The Shortyz 2022 - Dtravel’s Head of Demand Growth, Cynthia Huang, was nominated and shortlisted for her involvement in Dtravel and the vacation rental industry at The Shortyz 2022 Awards.
Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator - Dtravel was accepted and participated in the Berkley Blockchain Xcelerator as the only web3 travel company in this year’s cohort.
Skift IDEA Awards 2022 - Skift IDEA Awards is travel’s annual recognition of excellence in design, creativity, and innovation – honoring the brands and businesses pioneering the industry’s future. Dtravel was nominated and shortlisted for the 2022 list for the “Companies on the Rise” category.
Plug and Play Accelerator Program - Dtravel was accepted and participated in the Plug and Play Travel and Hospitality Accelerator Program, which concluded with a pitch in front of globally recognized travel brands such as JetBlue Technology Ventures, CWT, Accor, Austrian Airlines, CWT, Flight Centre, AirBaltic, HIS and Sabre. Dtravel was awarded the Corporate Startup Innovation Award, voted on by all the corporate partners in the program and given to the top startup of the batch.
Phocuswright 2022 Conference - Dtravel’s Cynthia Huang was asked to participate in the 2022 Phocuswright Conference on a center stage panel on blockchain in travel, capturing the attention of all conference attendees and her clip on what web3 means was featured on Phocuswire. Cynthia also spoke as an expert during the conference’s travel tech roundtable.
Book Direct Blueprint - Dtravel had the privilege of contributing to a chapter in Boostly's ‘The Book Direct Blueprint’ alongside industry leading brands like Uplisting, Superhog, and many others. The book launched as a #1 best seller on the Amazon marketplace.
Before diving into the 2023 roadmap, it's important to get an understanding of where we started. In case you haven’t been following along, here’s a brief timeline beginning in January 2022:
- Market research: interviewed hundreds of operators to guide product development.
- Dtravel team offsite, an intensive two day planning and strategy session.
- Offsite resulted in a decision to develop a property manager-centric product designed to solve. the pain points and problems experienced by short-term rental operators.
- Released the results of market research and operator interviews to community.
- Dtravel marketplace is phased out, Dtravel Direct product development begins.
- Dtravel Direct Beta Program is launched.
- Our team begins working closely with a group of visionary property managers to inform product design and development.
- Dtravel shares how PMSs fit into our roadmap.
- Added MetaMask and Stripe integrations, enabling both crypto and fiat payment options for property managers using Dtravel Direct.
- Confirmed Hostaway partnership and kicked off integration work.
- As a result of market research, our focus was to build a product for short-term rental operators who could drive their own bookings.
- Onboarding this segment of professional operators required integrations with property management systems (PMS).
- Onboarded our first PMS, Hostaway, a globally recognized market leader, giving over 2,000 professional short-term rental operators access to the Dtravel Direct Beta Program.
- Dtravel is accepted into the Berkley Blockchain Xcelerator Program.
- Dtravel’s Head of Demand Growth, Cynthia Huang, is nominated for the 2022 Shortyz Rising Star Award.
- Our focus was to develop a minimal, yet viable direct booking website that would enable property managers to launch simply by connecting through their PMS.
- Development began with building an advanced booking engine that leveraged smart contract technology as well as an elegant listing display page.
- In parallel, we begin integrating with our second PMS partner, Uplisting.
- Created a video showcasing a concept of the Passport project at the 2022 Expedia Explore Conference.
- Dtravel Direct, a minimal yet highly functional direct booking website builder is live!
- The launch was unprecedented in that, for the first time, operators could gain more ownership and control over their listings and bookings (including becoming the merchant of record) thanks to smart contracts designed specifically for short-term rentals.
- Property managers around the world could now accept bookings in a peer-to-peer manner.
- Our partnership with short-term rental community-building and education platform Rent Responsibly was announced, with Dtravel named alongside other partners — such as Expedia Group — to promote a sustainable future for the short-term rental industry.
- One of Dtravel’s earliest adopters becomes the first person in the world to accept an on-chain hospitality booking facilitated by a smart contract.
- The historic milestone was significant in that it was the first time a guest made a booking online without the need for a third-party booking platform or payment processor.
- The Dtravel Direct “Merchant Page”, now known as the “Portfolio Page” goes live, allowing guests to browse multiple listings at once.
- Dtravel releases the TRVL utility roadmap.
- Unlike traditional travel tech companies, TRVL, Dtravel’s native token, unlocks features and empowers ownership across the ecosystem.
- Dtravel was nominated and shortlisted for the Skift IDEA Awards 2022 for the “Companies on the Rise” category. Skift IDEA Awards is travel’s annual recognition of excellence in design, creativity, and innovation – honoring the brands and businesses pioneering the industry’s future.
- Uplisting, our second property management system (PMS), goes live!
- A third and second PMS begins building toward the Dtravel OpenAPI.
- Dtravel is accepted into the Plug and Play Travel and Hospitality Accelerator Program.
- Dtravel Direct enables operators to add custom logo and display name.
- Dtravel Direct adds ability to personalize your business and brand story.
- Launched the DBD (Direct Booking Directory), making it easier for travelers to find and book short-term rentals directly with property managers.
- DBD is an open-sourced and technology agnostic listing directory featuring both Dtravel and non-Dtravel powered direct booking sites.
- Dtravel Direct custom branded URLs go live.
- Dtravel Direct adds ability for property managers to customize who pays the credit card processing fee.
- RentalWise, our third PMS and first partner to build toward the Dtravel OpenApi goes live.
- Dtravel completes the Plug and Play Travel and Hospitality Accelerator Program, winning the Corporate Startup Innovation Award.
- Dtravel’s Cynthia Huang participates in a widely shared center stage panel discussion on blockchain and travel at the 2022 Phocuswright Conference.
- Dtravel Direct landing pages with hero images, headers and subheaders go live!
- Dtravel announces partnership with Travala, the world’s largest blockchain based online travel agency.
- The partnership, planned to go live Q2 2023, will provide property managers with a significant boost of traffic to any direct booking website powered by Dtravel.
- The “Book Direct Blueprint” by Boostly and co-authored by Dtravel, Uplisting, Superhog and more becomes an Amazon #1 seller.
What is Dtravel Direct and Why Did We Decide to Build it First
Dtravel Direct allows hospitality operators to create a modern, mobile optimized, and beautifully designed direct booking site in minutes without code or recurring monthly fees. With its modular design, even property managers with an existing website can use Dtravel’s advanced booking engine to increase conversion, offer multiple payment options (including crypto and credit card), and earn meaningful rewards with every booking.
You can think of Dtravel Direct as a direct booking website builder, similar to Shopify, but for the short-term rental industry rather than for e-commerce. Instead of creating another platform, however, Dtravel Direct is a tool that empowers property managers with ownership over their listing data, money, and guest relationships. Another key difference is that, unlike any other direct booking website, Dtravel Direct rewards operators with TRVL every time a booking is processed.
Hospitality operators can choose to:
- Hold TRVL and gain access to valuable features or take part in governing the Dtravel ecosystem by submitting and voting on improve proposals (Dtrips).
- Spend TRVL, for example, on activities or flights using web3 platforms like Travala.com.
- Convert TRVL to their local currency using web3 exchanges to cover operating expenses.
We believe we can create a better travel experience by driving the global adoption of direct bookings. With direct bookings, short-term rental operators gain greater control over their brand and property listings. Both operators and guests pay less fees, meaning more profit potential for vacation rental businesses and more savings for guests.
Not only was it a strategic decision to create a direct booking website builder that would bring us one step closer to fulfilling our vision of empowering ownership in an open and accessible travel ecosystem, but after interviewing hundreds of short-term rental operators, we realized there was an opportunity to fill an existing need in the market.
If you evaluate what is available to hospitality operators today, you’ll notice the options are limited. Property managers have to decide between building a completely custom direct booking website costing upwards of >$5,000 in addition to ongoing maintenance fees or making do with the basic builders that come with some property management systems. Either way, the ability to earn meaningful rewards and accept bookings in a peer-to-peer manner does not exist.
Dtravel Direct makes it easy for any hospitality operator to begin growing their earning potential without any disruption to their day-to-day business. Tack on the ability to tap into exclusive demand channels like Travala.com, and launching a Dtravel powered direct booking site becomes a market leader.
TRVL Token in 2023
Having laid the foundation for the Dtravel ecosystem with our flagship product, Dtravel Direct, we are now ready to begin opening up TRVL utility across the ecosystem in 2023.
Starting with Dtravel Direct, we plan to see TRVL:
- As a form of membership to access Dtravel.
- Enabling access to features within Dtravel such as insurance.
- Becoming a loyalty mechanism and system.
- As a requirement to submit and vote on platform improvements.
- Being used a payment method for referrals.
- As a membership for travel partners to access Dtravel Protocol.
- As a payment method to purchase a Dpass.
- Access to the Proof-of-Travel Protocol.
2023 Product Roadmap
If you made it all the way through this post, you should now have a general understanding of where we started, what we are creating and why. In 2023 we are going to be heads down and focused on adoption and development. As a result of prudent fiscal policy and planning, we have enough financial runway to support building throughout the bear market, regardless of how long it lasts.
We are thankful to be secure in both resource and conviction, as we continue laying the foundation for an open and accessible travel ecosystem, and will be ready for when public sentiment of the crypto markets shift back to being positive again.
Q1 – Focus on Becoming an Industry Leader in Direct Booking Sites
- Enable non-Dtravel direct booking sites (e.g. sites built with Wordpress) to use the Dtravel booking engine via plug-in widget(s).
- Eliminate any remaining gaps between competitors by adding features and tools requested by professional operators.
- Expand crypto and fiat payment options.
Q2 – Scale Supply
- Add new PMS and Channel Manager integrations to scale host onboarding.
- Add support for native Dtravel listings, enabling hosts to setup a direct booking website without the need for a PMS.
- Launch new distribution channels to increase visibility and drive bookings such as Travala.com.
- Refine and learn from Travala integration and improve UX.
Q3 – Focus on the Guest Travel Experience
- Help hosts easily target digital nomad and crypto traveler customer segment through additional web3 partnerships.
- Determine viability of Dtravel Stays, a metasearch tool for finding direct booking options.
- Product enhancements to help hosts increase conversions at time of booking.
- Launch the Passport on the Proof-of-Travel Protocol.
Q4 – Scale the Ecosystem
- Release the Dtravel Protocol, an open standard booking protocol for the travel industry leveraging Dtravel’s smart contract technology.
2022 has been an incredible year for Dtravel. Our direct booking product only launched at the end of June and we’ve already received so much recognition in the travel industry. We’re looking forward to making the Dtravel Direct product even more robust in the next year to serve hosts and empower them to build their businesses with full control. We have ambitious plans for 2023 which will set us up with the strongest foundation for a market recovery whenever that happens. We have an ultra talented and experienced team that’s passionate about the problems we’re solving and we’re all working to build the vision of a new travel experience where everyone is an owner. With the backing we’ve received from our initial round of funding and ongoing interest in what we’re building, we are in a position to outlast any bear despite today’s gloomy market conditions. We’re here for the very long term and we look forward to building with and for you. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you - what features would you like to see Dtravel building that will help make a difference in your business? Let us know in Discord, Telegram, Twitter or email.