Imagine not having to fret any longer about which credit card to use when booking your hotel stay or airline flight. Better yet, imagine if you started earning rewards, regardless of the credit or debit card you used. When you go out with friends to a local bar, hotel, or another venue, you use your
Imagine not having to fret any longer about which credit card to use when booking your hotel stay or airline flight. Better yet, imagine if you started earning rewards, regardless of the credit or debit card you used. When you go out with friends to a local bar, hotel, or another venue, you use your credit card, getting charged with interest, and unfortunately earning little to no rewards or points for using that card.
Well, with blockchain technology spilling into the hospitality industry, you won’t have to anymore. I spoke with one of the co-founders and CEO, Lin Dai, on why Hooch’s expansion into Blockchain is what the hospitality needs.
From right to left: Jared Christopherson (Hooch Chief Revenue Officer), Patricia Dai, Lin Dai (Hooch CEO), Austin Reid (Coincircle), Jordan French (TheStreet), Marty Swant (AdWeek).
What Is Hooch?
While relatively new, Hooch has over 200,000 subscribers to their location-based application. The founders, Aleksey Kernes, Jared Christopherson, and Lin Dai, have designed a location-based subscription hospitality application that gives users access to over 100,000 hotels, bars, restaurants, and different perks for a small monthly subscription fee.
Why Should Rewards Programs Lie on The Blockchain?
The hospitality industry is fragmented and needs to be repaired. Having a voluminous amount of credit cards with different reward programs and requirements can be extremely overwhelming, and at the end of the day, futile. Having to sign up for individual programs at multiple venues, hotels, airlines—it’s just not necessary. It’s time to harmonize and create a universal system that benefits all.
By using the blockchain, customers and venues have a verifiable means in which to monitor and track all TAP Coin transactions—Hooch’s native token that allows its holder to pay for hospitality purchases for them or friends across the world.
For every purchase, the approved vendors can reward users, while learning more about purchasing patterns without selling that data to third-parties, as we have unfortunately witnessed and been victim to over the past year with Equifax and Facebook.
This antiquated method of keeping track of the number of points, miles, and other made up means in which to gain new customers only floods the hospitality space, providing no real incentive for customers to leave their brands they have been loyal to.
Disrupting the Travel Paradigm
When you’re booking flights or travel arrangements, how much time do you spend deciding which credit card you’re going to use because of the number of airline miles you’ll get, or which hotel points you want to use? The answer is too much. Blockchain and cryptocurrency are the perfect steps in the right direction in making the industry customer-friendly and seamless. Why? Customers already understand how rewards programs work, especially when it comes to earning “points” or “miles”—this is not a new concept, as these programs have already been individually centralized by banks, hotels, airlines, and restaurants. So far, Hooch has already established partnerships with Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, and Starwood.
Serving Up Hooch At The Bars
Everybody wants free or discounted drinks. You’re crazy to think otherwise. In a previous interview with Forbes, Dai commented that it’s not perceived as a discount, but rather as an aspirational experience. When it comes to offering incentives for bars and restaurants, Hooch cares about creativity and loyalty. For example. Last fall, Paramount Pictures partnered with Hooch to launch a marketing campaign surrounding its own drink it created—the Suburbicon martini. Paramount has hosted happy-hour style marketing events across New York and Los Angeles, utilizing the Hooch application. These days, it’s hard to gain new customer loyalty through traditional avenues of advertising and marketing; you have to think of new creative ways in which to attract the now tech-savvy consumer.
Regardless of where an individual is in the world, Hooch aims to provide lower rates and a seamless process in which an individual can plan, book, and spend—all from one location—their application.
When I asked Dai about the demographics of the application, he told me there were two criteria for the continued lifespan of the Hooch project:
- “A lot of great blockchain projects were very much on the ‘science-project’ level of thinking, and very theoretical. This is how I think about it—I want it to be something my mom can use where she doesn’t have to understand how to create a wallet or required to keep track of her key. I want to be able to get tokens, specifically our TAP Coin, along with blockchain technology into the hands of everyday consumers.”
- “Also, we are a venture-funded company, backed by really powerful, innovative names. We aren’t going to pre-announce our projects until the technology is ready.”
The idea is re-creating a rewards program, injected with blockchain technology and big names in the industry like Hyatt and Marriott, without having anyone company control the incentives. “Right now, we are targeting the hotel industry first,” said Dai, “but the hardest part in doing this is that it’s such a fragmented industry with many individualized programs.”
At the end of the day, Dai’s vision is having a universal rewards coin, with redemption capability and a wallet.
Streamlining Oligopoly and Replacing With 1:1 Relationships
Why wouldn’t we want these venues to be directly connected with the consumer? Hotel companies hate having to pay commission to companies like Expedia or other travel booking websites—they all want their own system to connect directly with their customers, not these third-party’s customers. According to Dai, these hotels spend a lot of money in attempts to drive consumers to their websites, making it difficult to compete on a centralized system like Google or other search placement services.
“It’s about establishing 1:1 relationships—the monopoly, or rather the oligopoly of these hotels in the industry is massive. They aren’t easily replaced, but attempting to disrupt this, makes it more streamless.”