After a year and a half in development, blockchain company KeyoCoin is announcing plans to launch a travel rewards platform. The aim is to shift power away from the few big players that act as middlemen in the USD8.27 trillion travel industry, and put it back in the hands of travellers and their providers.

Designed to gamify the travel experience for 1.3 billion travellers worldwide, the technology will give hospitality, tour, and local experience providers – and any merchant in today’s travel ecosystem – the means to offer customers cryptocurrency rewards for either making purchases, or completing location-based travel challenges while on their adventures.

“Travel rewards… no longer an afterthought at the checkout”

Matt Baer, CEO and founder of KeyoCoin, said: “The travel industry is no stranger to loyalty programmes, but only airlines and large hotel chains have had the resources and reach to actually make them work for customers that are on the move. Even then, these programs are shackled by restrictions that make the rewards uninspiring to earn, a pain to manage, and frustrating to share or redeem.

Matt Baer

“That’s all about to change. Blockchain has the power to increase the efficiency, security and universality of travel rewards, so they’re no longer an afterthought at the checkout, but a reason to get up and explore the world.

“We’re making them fun to earn and meaningful to spend, and in the process plan to bring rewards to life.”

The KeyoCoin team has already built a live digital concierge and travel booking app, called KeyoPass, which is currently host to an online marketplace of over 12,000 tours, activities, and local experiences in four US markets and six Latin American countries, with hotels being added soon.

This marketplace is the first application within the KeyoCoin ecosystem, which will in time be home to a suite of travel reward-based blockchain apps.

Rick Savage, head of social media for Apple Music, Beats 1 & iTunes has become an advisor for KeyoCoin, as well as other individuals from the world of blockchain and consumer technology.

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These include: Federico Pistono, head of blockchain for Hyperloop and an early Ethereum investor; Layla Revis, VP at Oracle; Tamara Camp, former VP at Live Nation and marketing director at Ticketmaster; Marat Gaziev, SEO director at IGN; and Sarah Dandashy, winner of Les Clefs d’Or Young Concierge of the Year.

“80% of this exciting market has yet to make it online”

Sarah Dandashy, now head of travel and hospitality for KeyoCoin, added: “The hospitality and tourism industry, now more than ever, is overflowing with innovative and unique travel experiences. These hidden gems are the exact experiences that today’s travelelrs so eagerly want to have, and yet there has always been a gap in connecting local experience providers with travellers.

Sarah Dandashy

“80% of this exciting market has yet to make it online, and those that have are largely at the mercy of online travel agencies that charge high commission.

“I couldn’t be more excited about bringing the world a solution that will not only empower independent travel businesses to cultivate their own crypto-enhanced customer experiences through our online marketplace, but in so doing, create closer, more rewarding, relationships between travellers and providers.”

The platform’s ERC20 token, KeyoCoin (KEYO), will be one of the only Ethereum based utility tokens to have real world value upon launch.

Travellers will be able to redeem accumulated KeyoCoins for accommodation, tours and activities, tip staff, or gift to friends and family heading off on trips of their own. KeyoCoin’s Travel Challenges (soon to be launched in 100 cities around the world) make it one of the few cryptocurrencies that can be earned without purchase.

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