Hotels want to use NFT to trick travelers

Let’s run a small hypothetical situation. You are planning a vacation. You have been researching for months, you have booked airline tickets and you have a room. But a week before the trip, your child breaks his arm and now you can not go. You cancel your plane tickets and call the hotel and tell them you no longer need the room to book again.

“Oh, do not worry, these things happen,” the doorman tells you. “Just register your room in the NFT market.”

Eh, what? You are confused. You just want to cancel the reservation. “Oh, we do not make cancellations. We have created a secondary market to sell a non-exchangeable badge that allows another party to access your booking. “Everything is very simple,” says the doorman. What about a refund? “No refund required, another person can buy your booking from you, isn’t it great?”

It’s not great. It’s a nightmare. And it’s here. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, a number of hotels and resorts are partnering with cryptocurrency companies to convert hotel bookings into NFT. It would work by creating a bookmark associated with a booking, which could then be bought and sold through a platform like StubHub or other secondary ticketing.

This sounds interesting for about two seconds, until you think about it. In the name of technology and innovation, hotels have found a new way to shift the burden of cancellation to the consumer. Instead of simply returning a cancellation – which most hotels charge a fee if it happens within 24 hours of scheduled check-in – and re-booking a room, this NFT model would make the traveler a seller. Now it’s up to you to get rid of this room if you want to get your money back. And if you have to sell it at a loss, it’s too bad.

And that’s just assuming the system works the way it’s supposed to – which it almost certainly won’t, because every time a company creates something like that, someone finds a way to take advantage of it. It is not hard to imagine that this secondary market would simply create an incentive for scalpers to book rooms, especially for popular vacations, and resell them at a higher price.

This is exactly what happened in the sports and concert industry, where scalpers-powered robots collect tickets to popular events and sell them at a premium to the very people who prevented them from buying tickets. Ticket companies, including Ticketmaster and StubHub, have even been accused of colluding with scalpers to raise prices. It is not difficult to imagine hotels doing the same thing.

And that’s all before you think about the fact that NFTs are an environmental nightmare and cutting them out usually involves using an unreasonable amount of energy for something that just doesn’t need to exist. Converting hotel accommodation to NFT does not accomplish anything significant for anyone other than the hotel while maintaining its profits. Turns the prospect of booking or canceling into a nightmare dictated by scalpers and unreliable buyers. It is enough to make you never want to leave home.

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