This month’s Blockchain Loyalty News video focuses on blockchain loyalty company KeyoCoin.
After reading the supporting article to this video, KeyoCoin CEO Matt Baer reached out to us, to see if there was any additional insider information we’d like to know before the video went live.
Matt happily filled in all our KeyoCoin knowledge gaps, which helps to confirm our view that the KeyoCoin concept is absolutely worth 5 stars and we can’t wait to see it come to life. I’ve included all of Matt’s interesting answers below:
How was the KeyoCoin concept born?
The concept for KeyoCoin was born around the start of 2017. Our CTO Matias and I had been working on plans to develop a new kind of travel app for some time. In particular one that would create a more rewarding direct relationship between travelers and the millions of hotels, hostels, restaurants, and local experiences that are so lovingly brought into the world by their founders, yet are so hard to come across where travelers are most likely to look for them: on their mobile.
At the time we were looking for a way to turn the revenue model of the big online travel agents (OTAs) on its head. Of course the added visibility that OTAs bring travel businesses can be valuable, but 10-30% commission is a bitter pill to swallow, especially when most of the money ends up simply fueling a marketing arms race between the big online brands.
It was around this time that blockchain’s true capabilities were coming into sharper focus, and we realized three important things:
- Firstly, that a properly designed rewards platform had the potential to incentivize revenue-generating consumer actions for all the businesses that used it.
- Secondly, that those actions could do more than just drive sales for participating businesses, but also grow awareness of our marketplace organically, and therefore cost-effectively.
- And thirdly, we realized that rewards points were in essence already a form of digital currency, albeit a centralized one, and so presented an absolutely perfect use case for a cryptocurrencies. What’s more by decentralizing the unit of value, we could do away with all the redemption restrictions of centralized programs.
We had found a way to use blockchain technology to create the infrastructure we needed to establish the world’s first universal travel rewards platform.
This ‘universality’ was important. It meant we could give millions of independent travel businesses (hitherto locked out of loyalty because their customers were so transient) the ability to run their own rewards program for the first time. It also meant we could do away with all of the frustrating redemption limitations that consumers told us they couldn’t stand about traditional loyalty programs.
How will you engage the critical mass of members needed to positively influence the price of KeyoCoin?
KeyoCoin’s target audience can be found at the meeting point of two large and rapidly growing demographics. On the one hand, we have the 1.23 billion people that travel around the world each year, collectively contributing over $8.27 trillion USD to the global economy.
On the other side, we have the crypto community, which is also growing at a remarkable rate. The world’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase and Binance, have over 20 million customers between them; and every one of those customers has a vested interest in seeing blockchain technology realize its full potential.
Our ambition is to make travel and crypto more accessible and more rewarding for anyone and everyone, which is one of the reasons we’ve designed a cryptocurrency that doesn’t require purchase to participate, but our early adopters are more likely to be regular business or leisure travelers that are already invested in cryptocurrencies. We’re giving this community an exciting new gamified world to explore, in an app that rewards them for their adventures, and nudges them towards behaviors that benefit our growing community of travel merchants.
From day one, we’ve been very adamant to grow our community of partners and customers organically, using the product’s inbuilt incentive framework to drive word of mouth and social media sharing, so we’re not spending huge amounts on marketing, or trying to compete with the OTAs on above the line advertising.
To this end, we’ve recruited a stellar advisory team to help us generate organic growth with novel acquisition strategies. These include Rick Savage, Head of Social Media at Apple; Tamara Camp, VP & Global CEM of Growth & Loyalty Programs at Western Union, and former Vice President at Live Nation; Layla Revis, VP Marketing Innovation and Head of Global Social Media at Oracle; and Marat Gaziev, Head of SEO for IGN and other Ziff Davis properties.
We’ve also had advisory support from Federico PIstono, the Head of Blockchain for Hyperloop and early Ethereum investor, who is not only advising the team on technical infrastructure, but also in reaching early adopters in the crypto industry.
Which countries will KeyoCoin be expanding into next?
To be clear, KeyoCoin’s rewards platform won’t be live until the token launches in 2019, but that hasn’t stopped us launching a beta version of the marketplace, with many of the core features already baked into it. As it stands there are 107 cities around the world that already have travel challenges, while 62 cities across seven countries have experiences that travelers can book through the app today.
By the time the KeyoCoin rewards token launches in 2019, we plan to have a live and kicking marketplace in more than 110 of the world’s most popular cities for leisure and business travel.
When will the KeyoPass Concierge be launched and what will it feature?
It’s live right now on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. As it stands users can download the app to discover and book local experiences, complete fun travel challenges, and read expert recommendations from famous chefs, concierges, and travel bloggers.
How many hotels do you plan to have signed up by the end of the year?
Based on the partnerships we currently have in place we expect to have several thousand properties live in our marketplace, if not by the end of 2018, then in the first quarter of 2019. We’re in a position where hotels are keen to get up on the platform in the coming six weeks, but there is a degree of curation that needs to happen before we can fully release hotel bookings to the marketplace.
Stacey Lyons is the Marketing Director at Loyalty & Reward Co, a leading loyalty management consulting agency based in Sydney. Stacey has years of experience within loyalty, marketing and eCommerce across multiple channels and business models. Most recently, Stacey has been managing the investor, member and retailer communications for blockchain loyalty company EZToken Rewards.