Like it or not, bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) is growing increasingly ubiquitous by the day, despite being a limited commodity. Of course, bitcoin has its limitations — namely that not all merchants accept it. But one hotel chain is looking to change that.
Paying for lodging with bitcoin
The Kessler Collection, which owns eight distinct luxury properties throughout the U.S., has just announced that it will begin accepting bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency as payment from guests. All Kessler hotels will take bitcoin as payment, and guests will simply follow the instructions contained in their invoices to transfer funds from their BitPay wallets.
Kessler representatives say this change will make it easier for global travelers to pay for lodging. For one thing, they won’t have to take time out of their travels to exchange currency. Secondly, they won’t have exchange rates to worry about. And finally, they won’t have to face what could be large credit card charges for swiping their cards internationally.
Of course, this isn’t the first instance of the travel industry embracing bitcoin. Airlines and travel agencies have been accepting bitcoin since as early as 2013. But Kessler is the first luxury U.S. hotel group to make bitcoin an accepted form of payment, which could give it an edge over other hotels, especially as far as international travel goes.
Will more hotels adopt bitcoin payment policies?
While U.S. hotels have mostly yet to adopt bitcoin as a payment method, a number of international hotels already accept it. Although being open to bitcoin could help hotels drum up more business (something many U.S. hotels need given the damage the pandemic has caused), it could also lead to complications.
For one thing, tax reporting could become a nightmare once hotels introduce bitcoin into the mix. Bitcoin is generally considered property rather than currency from a tax perspective. That alone could cause a headache for hotels from a reporting standpoint.
Also, the value of bitcoin can fluctuate, making it more difficult for hotels to manage their cash flow if they start accepting a lot of it. Granted, so can the value of a dollar or any other national currency, but bitcoin tends to be a lot more volatile.
As such, it’s hard to say whether bitcoin will become a widely accepted payment method as far as the greater hotel industry goes. While it may be advantageous to hotels that rely on international travelers to start taking bitcoin payments, those that cater more to U.S. travelers may not need to take that step. The extent to which regulators come down on bitcoin will also most likely play a role in hotels’ decisions.
In time, bitcoin may become a mainstay for the hospitality industry, but for now, it’ll likely be smaller boutique hotels that agree to accept it. Hotels that trade publicly may have more hurdles to jump on the road to accepting bitcoin, so there could be a lag among larger chains that are ultimately accountable to shareholders.