How Skyrocketed to $22 Million in Revenue: Lessons for the Travel Industry

29 Apr 2024

Welcome back to our 'Behind the Startup' series where we dive into the journeys of innovative companies reshaping industries. Today, we're revisiting through a conversation with Juan Otero, who last joined us in May 2020. At that time, Juan forecasted a recovery in the travel sector which largely rang true. As we catch up with him today, we'll learn how has navigated the evolving landscape of the travel industry, especially in light of the ongoing shifts towards digital and decentralized technologies.

Join us as Juan shares insights on the company's growth, the integration of web3 technologies, and how these strategies are positioning for future challenges and opportunities in the travel sector.

Ishan Pandey: Welcome back, Juan; it's a pleasure to have you in our 'Behind the Startup' series. Last time we spoke in May 2020, you correctly predicted about a recovery starting in Q3, particularly for domestic travel post Covid-19, with a full recovery including international travel by Q4. As we continue our 'Behind the Startup' series, could you update us on how has evolved since then, especially considering the ongoing shifts in the travel industry?

Juan Otero: Thanks Ishan, great to be speaking with you again. So much has happened at in the last four years as the travel industry rebounded and the web3 industry continued to swell. In that time, we’ve significantly expanded our offering through partnerships with some of the biggest names in travel, including Expedia and KAYAK.

Our accommodation selection multiplied to over 2.2 million properties, and we introduced flights with 600+ airlines as well as 410,000+ activities, with a total of over 3 million travel products now available on

Our team has also more than doubled in size to accommodate our growth, with hires across all departments from the management team to security, developers, marketing, and customer support.

All of these developments have culminated in tremendous growth in customers, bookings, and revenue, with our gross revenue growing from less than $1 million in Q1 2020 to over $22 million in Q1 2024.

Ishan Pandey: During our last discussion, you highlighted some pivotal adjustments made at in response to the pandemic. Looking at the current times, how has your business model or strategy changed to align with the new dynamics of the travel industry?

Juan Otero: From the rise of domestic travel to the influx of digital nomads across the globe, the pandemic has prompted the emergence of many new trends that look likely to continue well into the future. Where we once might’ve promoted a weekend away, we’re now encouraging longer, more immersive experiences through marketing, exclusive mobile-only deals on stays, and by offering an average of 16% savings on hotels after booking a flight.

One of the often overlooked developments in recent years has been the rapid emergence of metasearch engines. With shifting behaviours in how savvy travellers search for, compare, and book travel, we recognised the importance of these metasearch engines—which have quickly gained market share when it comes to the discovery phase of travel—and became the first crypto-friendly online travel agency to be listed on leading metasearch engines KAYAK and Google Hotels, alongside incumbents in the travel industry.

Ishan Pandey: Cryptocurrencies have seen substantial growth in value and popularity since we last talked. How is planning to capitalise on this trend? Are there new strategies or technologies you're implementing?

Juan Otero: We’ve honed our web3 strategy by partnering with projects to promote cross-community growth and leverage the power of highly engaged web3 audiences.

As a result, we now have over 100 cryptocurrency payment options and frequently conduct campaigns with partners to promote the ability to travel with crypto on From leading web3 events like TOKEN2049 and Paris Blockchain Week to traditional brands interested in expanding their audience—such as Marriott International and the Catalan Tourist Board—we’re leveraging our position as the bridge between the world of traditional travel and the web3 space to continue underscoring our reputation as the leading crypto-native travel booking service.

We’ve also introduced Bitcoin rewards for Platinum and Diamond members of the AVA Smart Program, the travel rewards program available on in partnership with the AVA Foundation. These two membership groups can receive up to 10% back in Bitcoin on bookings made via, which can be put towards future bookings or transferred out of the platform.

Ishan Pandey: With rising competition and shifting consumer behaviors, how does intend to differentiate itself in the travel industry?

Juan Otero: As consumer behaviours continue evolving and products become increasingly tailored to the millennial and Gen Z audience that now make up the majority of the travel market, the key advantage that we have over more established players in the travel industry is our agility as a team, coupled with our innovation-first approach.

We predict that crypto payments will become more commonplace as the web3 industry continues to mature, to the point where it will no longer be a point of differentiation. Other web3 elements (and how successfully they can be incorporated into the travel experience) will therefore be the main area of differentiation for From areas like web3-oriented loyalty programs to digital collectibles, we’re continuously exploring new ways that enhance the experience and make it more rewarding, pushing the boundaries of what travel is in today’s age.

Ishan Pandey: Previously, you mentioned the impact of Bitcoin halving on your operations. Can you expand on how recent cryptocurrency events have influenced's market dynamics and user behavior?

Juan Otero: The positive market action driven by the Bitcoin halving saw the cryptocurrency reach an all-time high in mid-March earlier this year and resulted in our bookings soaring, leading to the strongest quarter in’s history.

As approximately 75% of our bookings are purchased with crypto, we experience a strong correlation between a crypto bull market and high booking volume on our platform, given the additional value available for travellers to derive from their crypto assets in dollar-value terms. With the fourth Bitcoin halving now behind us, we expect the crypto market to continue performing well in the next 12–18 months, based on historic trends following previous Bitcoin halving events.

Ishan Pandey: Finally, considering all the challenges and opportunities that have emerged, what is your long-term vision for in this new era of travel and technology?

Juan Otero: We see as becoming a hub for crypto travellers to create genuine connections with the world, themselves, and each other. Web3 is a community movement, and our community is constantly brimming with discussions about travel tips, destinations to explore, the broader web3 space, and suggestions for

We want to be more than just a platform where travellers go to book their travel; in the long term, we envision solidifying its position as the world's leading web3 travel ecosystem, where knowledge, creativity, and of course the act of travel itself is rewarded.

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Vested Interest Disclosure: This author is an independent contributor publishing via our business blogging program. HackerNoon has reviewed the report for quality, but the claims herein belong to the author. #DYOR.