“Do you have crypto?”
Surely this question—loaded with many assumptions about the character of the questioner—sounds familiar and either you or someone you know has been asked this or one of its many variations.
The world of cryptocurrencies is marked by varying sentiments across the board, from talk of its advantages and benefits to feelings of skepticism and hesitance. But from the looks of it, there’s more to cryptocurrency than the possibility of striking it rich during the next Bitcoin bull run or getting exclusive access to the cool kids club via NFTs.
There are more subtle benefits to be had, which can be used by the future-ready meeting professional wanting to explore a new way of conducting business.
Crypto Adoption Is Having a Moment
Hotels around the United States have been accepting cryptocurrency since 2021, like Howard Johnson Hotel and Conference Center in Fullerton, California, and the Orlando-based Kessler Collection, totaling 12 hotels, including Beaver Creek Lodge in Colorado and Grand Bohemian Hotels in St. Augustine, Florida; Asheville, North Carolina; and Mountain Brook, Alabama, among others.
Globally, Thailand’s Sri Panwa Phuket, Switzerland’s The Chedi Andermatt and Dubai’s Five Hotels and Resorts, which currently has three hotels in the United Arab Emirates and one in Zurich, are just a few of many properties now accepting crypto.
The Bobby Hotel and The Westin Nashville in Tennessee introduced cryptocurrency as payment in April 2021. The properties partnered with BitPay, allowing guests to use Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and Stablecoin for stays and event bookings, as well as any of the various entertainment opportunities at the properties, much to the joy of groups who’ve stayed and used crypto for payment.
What Are the Benefits of Crypto Transactions?
“The introduction of crypto at Bobby Hotel has been well received,” says Jeff Crabiel, area general manager of the properties. “We have seen an influx in group business that specialize in digital currency and have been able to hold several meetings for said groups. The interest of our transient guests still exists; however, it is slightly down due to the recent market changes.” One of these group businesses was Messari, a provider in crypto market intelligence products based in New York City.
And if there is one thing hoteliers love, it’s being flooded in business. Not only do hoteliers benefit, but so do meeting planners with the ease of transaction that paying with cryptocurrencies provides. “The benefit of accepting crypto is that it has separated us from our competitors and has created an additional way for guests and businesses to pay for their hosted events,” Crabiel says. “There is an added ease of transaction and it has cut down on credit card processing fees.”
Although the two Nashville-based properties have been seeing great success thus far, it’s tough to say exactly where it’ll be in the future. “I think crypto is a hot topic right now because of the crash we have seen,” Crabiel says. “In my opinion, the general public is trying to figure out if it will stick around as a method of payment or not. I believe larger brands will have to adapt to crypto currency as a form of payment before it goes mainstream.”
The crash Crabiel is referring to is the loss of more than $1 billion during this summer, reported by the three largest U.S. Bitcoin miners, Core Scientific, Marathon Digital Holdings and Riot Blockchain, in their Q2 earnings report. And that’s just one cryptocurrency.
The Crypto market in general, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and others, has wiped out $2 trillion in recent months, with speculation about its future, from those who believe the crypto crash still hasn’t bottomed out yet, to the more common sentiment that we’re near the bottom, as well as those who believe Bitcoin will not only recover in the next two years but will reach all-time highs, surpassing its highest trading price of $67,566 in Nov. 2021.
Understandably, the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies could foster hesitance in its broader adoption by the hospitality industry. But as with many technologies in the early stages, its rocky start could precede a more stable existence in the long term.