Chinese vacation property platform Cozystay told Cryptovest on Thursday, it is developing a blockchain platform to increase bookings and improve customer services.
The platform aims to reach one million listings by the end of this year by partnering with Singapore-based Share Everything Lab Pte. Ltd. (SEL) to develop the blockchain aspect of its platform. It now has more than 60,000 users, 200,000 listings worldwide and offices in Vancouver, Canada and Beijing, China.
Cheng added, “The booking protocol being developed by SEL will ensure security and transparency for hosts and guests because each user is verified by trusted members of the Cozystay community,” added Cheng.
The company noted there is an overarching trend of declining trust in institutions but a growing trust in individuals. It cited studies by Pew and Ipsos showing that trust in institutions such as charities, governments, banks, and the media have an at an all-time low.
“The vacation rental industry is plagued by a number of issues, from the pressure on hosts to provide instant booking before verifying guests, to double-booking rentals, security concerns, uncertainty around the legitimacy of reviews and delays or large fees on payment,” said Galen Cheng, founder and CEO of Cozystay.
He said that despite the growing popularity of vacation rental platforms like AirBnB for connecting individuals, such platforms are criticized for their lack of transparency and centralized control.
Using blockchain addresses several challenges faced by the industry because the technology encourages decentralization of the processes. Cozystay said blockchain ensures that all hosts, individuals, and even reviewed are verified by users under its “Know-Your-Member” validation process.
This process requires users to provide key information, like government-issued identification cards. The information provided by new applicants is also validated through a phone or video call with peer-reviewed, trusted members of the community.
“Sometimes, the best thing a company can do is get out of the way of its customers. Providing a mechanism of trust allows the community to develop in a positive way,” added Cheng. “Many of the most popular vacation rental platforms on the market pressure their hosts to provide instant booking, which does not require approval from the host. This clearly can cause a plethora of issues, and mounting anxiety for hosts who may not be sure that their guest will be clean, safe and respectful.”