CheapAir.com, the first U.S. online travel agency to accept bitcoin, has announced that it has witnessed a record number of bitcoin sales in the past six months, processing around $15 million in bitcoin payments for flights and hotels.
In November 2013, CheapAir.com decided to start accepting the digital currency after being introduced to it by a customer who wanted to know if he could make a flight payment with bitcoin. Since then, the travel agency has made it possible for travelers to use the currency to pay for flights and hotels, with new users paying with bitcoin every day.
Founded by Jeff Klee in 1989 in his college dorm room after planning his backpacking trip around Europe on a student budget, CheapAir.com takes a creative approach to fare finding using a patented algorithm that scours the web for the lowest prices seeking affordable airline tickets.
Speaking to CCN, Klee gave some insight into the type of customers using the digital currency for their travel need. He says that many of them are purchasing higher end products than the typical customer such as business and first class air fares.
We find that the bitcoin shopper is decidedly more international than traditional non-bitcoin shoppers, who tend to focus more on domestic locations.
SEC ETF Decision Looming
With the SEC ETF decision due to be made on March 13, speculation is circulating as to the recent rise in the price of the digital currency. At the beginning of March, it recorded a new high, nearing the $1,300 mark, at $1,298, which is thought to be a factor in bitcoin’s accelerated price rise.
With the decision yet to be made, Klee says that people buying airfare with the digital currency has seen a record increase.
“We have seen a 74 percent year-over-year increase in bitcoin sales over the last six months.”
However, he adds that when the price of the currency has dipped so too have sales. Regardless of the price or what the SEC decision will ultimately be, though, Klee states that the company is simply focused on ‘providing the best customer experience for bitcoin shoppers’ who are enjoying its use on the travel site.
I think it’s popular because it’s easy to pay with bitcoin on CheapAir.com. Not only do people who have bitcoin want to transact with it, but it also requires fewer steps at [the] checkout.
With the travel industry jumping on board the digital currency wagon, it is now easier for travelers to pay for their flights with the currency. So much so, that Klee adds that he expects to see a steady increase in its use for flights and hotels over the next 12 months.
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