Episode 88: How Dtravel Is Innovating the Home-Sharing Economy With Luke Kim

Dtravel home-sharing economy platform host hosts and guests
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dtravel is a community-governed home-sharing platform where you can find and book accommodations. Compared to other home-sharing platforms, guests can expect lower fees, and hosts pay zero percent fees. Dtravel accepts a wide variety of payment options, including cryptocurrency. 

As the world’s first home sharing economy for the people, by the people, Dtravel is on a mission to decentralize the home-sharing economy and in today’s episode, Head of Marketing, Luke Kim joins us to share what makes the platform unique and how to get involved as either a guest or host. Whether you’re looking to list your home or stay in one, there’s room for everyone.

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Danielle Desir: Welcome to the Thought Card, a podcast about traveling money, we're planning saving and creativity leads to hoarding travel building wealth and paying off debt. We are the financial savvy travelers. D travel is a community governed home sharing platform where you can find and book accommodations Compared to other home sharing platforms, guests can expect lower fees and host pay 0% fees. They even accept a wide variety of payment options including Cryptocurrency. D Travel is on a mission to decentralize the home sharing economy and in today's episode head of marketing luke him joins us to share what makes the platform unique and how to get involved.

Luke Kim: Dtravel simply put is a home sharing platform that anybody can enjoy whether they are budget travelers or luxury travelers and the travel special because it takes the value of the sharing economy and puts that value to the hands of hosts and guests, the people who really create the travel industry and sustain the travel industry. So whereas we see right now cos in the sharing economy act as centralist corporations extracting value to give to shareholders extracting value to have swanky offices in S.F. and Market Street. We don't see that with the travel.

Danielle Desir: All right. So there's a lot to unpack here because especially when I first learned about your platform there were a lot of terms that you had used that I don't think that as a consumer of travel as someone who's a guest who's booking these trips are actually thinking about, so what are some of the major problems right now that you see in the home sharing economy and then we couldn't dive a little bit deeper.

Luke Kim: Well at the high level hosts who actually provide their properties, provide roofs over peoples heads tend to not have control over policies that affect them and their livelihoods, guests have their fair share of lows because they cannot depend upon a central party in order to determine disputes in order to help them do things in a way that makes them feel safe and satisfied for the future. People have an impression that central companies trusted brands tend to do things properly and well. But actually it's not true. In fact, I sit here in an Airbnb myself and just a couple of weeks ago I had two separate Airbnb s fall through on me and it's not like we're trying to bash the competition. I think Airbnb is a great company and they pioneered much of the home sharing industry as we know it today. But it's just a fact it's true that when you have a diverse, global industry, you need to be able to localize services. You need to be able to localize responses and be able to treat people based on the regulatory frameworks they live in and based on the market conditions, they live in differently. And so this democratization of decision making and ownership around home sharing that's simply not possible with existing models and we come in to bridge that gap. And one of the things I think that's really interesting that you mentioned in the intro of the episode I mentioned this is the fees part I've been using competitors like Airbnb for years and I have noticed something striking, especially during the pandemic. I've noticed the fees have become astronomical to the point where most of what I'm paying could go to fees and I think that is a pain point for guests as someone who's visiting these places.

Danielle Desir: So can we talk a bit about the fees and is it true that it's escalating over time?

Luke Kim: Yes. So in my experience fees never get lower, They get higher prices that we get lower, they get higher. So it's just how it is, it's the world we live in, but d travel, we've committed to giving hosts 0% fees because frankly speaking, if the supply side exists, that is the prerequisite to get the demand side to happen at all. So hosts are our highest priority demographic. We love holds for respect hosts And for the rest of us for the guests and whatnot, the fees should be just about 50% off compared to general market rates. So fees right there, you can see that these are lower and d travel. But the way we execute on this promises by creating a decentralized ecosystem and that's very important to talk about because if you don't have a centralized company to fund and to sustain if you don't have a centralized body to pay up big bonuses to ceos and whatnot, then you can actually automate much of the processes that we think about when we think Airbnb we can automate much of the agreements that need to be made between people, whether those agreements are dispute resolutions or home staying agreements. So we kind of rely on this new future of organizing ourselves in a way that is democratically oriented in a way that's decentralized and that actually should save costs.

Danielle Desir: Yes. Yes. And you accept other forms of currency which I still think is really new like we know Cryptocurrency exist out there but I've never seen home sharing platform that's like this is what we're doing and we're committing to that. And we even have our own token system which I'm sure we'll talk about a little bit later. So what was the decision to actually accept Cryptocurrency? And what has been the reaction from your guest and your host? Are they excited about being able to pay with this type of currency now, totally.

Luke Kim: So think of the Cryptocurrency, the token economy as simply a loyalty program. That's it. But it's a loyalty program that can be valuable in other ways besides just in the D travel network. So if you think about your hotel points or your airline miles, these are all credits that go up. It's a number on the screen and you can do stuff with that number. So very good. But for D travel we award instead trv L the travel token. It's not very credibly named but we think TrV L sounds good. So let's say as a digital nomad which hey look at my back, I am, I bought a property on D Travel, I get some T R. V. L. Then it turns out next time I book a place, if I book in T R. V. L, I could get massive discounts because I'm using the in network currency. It also turns out that T. R. V. L. Holding entitles me to certain benefits. So if there are exclusive perks and valued programs that we released to network members, then if you're a holder of T R. V. L, we automatically recognize that you're in the platform, you're in the community. So maybe you can win something. Maybe you can get a perk and T R V. L. Itself is a Cryptocurrency. So if you think about how cryptocurrencies work, if you think about maybe even for the layman, you heard things like those coin, baby does Bitcoin ethereum. Imagine that as the network grows in value, The token probably also grows in value. So it's in many ways a sensible thing to put into a home sharing economy, there's a lot more around our tokens but I'll kind of stop right there and transition to what we call N. F. T. S. So many of you will know what this is but you will soon and it's one of those things that seems like black magic now but it will become mainstream suit. So N. F. T. S. Are non fungible tokens which is an extremely nerd way of saying V. I. P. Member points V. I. P. Member cards. So instead of issuing to you the traveler a card that we sent by mail which is cumbersome and slightly done because we don't need it today this modern world we will send you a digital certificate. An irreplaceable irreplacable digital certificate that says you're a community member in V. I. P. Standing. This will allow you to participate in monthly drawings of amazing rewards like private yachts, private jets, maybe celebrity second homes. Imagine if you could stay in May with their second home and et cetera. And so what's interesting is this N. F. T. This VIP membership card for the lifetime of D. Travel. The plan is to add more and more benefits on top. So if you're a traveler and you hold one of these very exclusive V. I. P. Cards which are limited in number. Then it stands to reason that the amount of benefits that you get because you're holder increases over time as D. Travel makes partnerships with great organizations and brings in value and later on you might be able to offload this asset to someone else and make yourself a tidy profit. So that's the concept behind N. F. T. S. In general in the world of Cryptocurrency but in Dtravel there's a lot of utility value within the token it's really a utility value that we're talking about here, you know on twitter I see a lot of N. F. T. Conversations, I'm like what is that? Okay, skip. But look I think you did a really good job, you're like it's a VIP loyalty program which I think is super relatable and I understand the concept which I think is interesting. So what made you all decide to bring Cryptocurrency and this just new way of paying and exchanging value into this platform and what has been the reaction of the travel community to that? Well first off the team that is building D. Travel is the team that was behind travel dot com. And so all the audience members here can search travel dot com and they will find it's the leading Cryptocurrency based travel booking platform in the world. So it's a company that does tens of millions in revenue per year, it's been growing month on month for the last half for many months. So travel dot com is very special. You can book travel experiences, travel stays whatnot with Cryptocurrency and with normal money now travel dot com is the original inspiration and it's backed by Big Finance which is one of the world's largest Cryptocurrency exchanges but we decided okay if we're going to create a home sharing economy, a sharing economy is very different. two other kinds of economies and we cannot retrofit the stuff we did earlier into the vision we have for the future. So what we decided is we have to create a new organization, not only that, but a new type of organization. So if you imagine the founding of the United States or various other moments in history when people came together to write a constitution and decide how to rule themselves, that's exactly what's happening in D travel, we decided that hosts and guests need a way to be a part of a large ecosystem that they themselves control and benefit from. So one thing I did not share earlier is that if you're a T R V. L holder then you're considered a member of the organization at large, an online cooperative and therefore you get to participate in decision making. So imagine if hosts in a certain part of the world, an Airbnb could determine for themselves the right policies and the right responses when covid hits, imagine if people all around the world can make their own decisions aligned with the central value system and a central economy, but they do what's needed for them instead of being told by a central office summer in SAn Francisco. So T R V L is interesting in that way that allows hosts and guests to be part of the voting mechanism, part of the governing mechanism of this entire platform and therefore also I feel it's quite unlikely that they themselves would start to raise fees on themselves or they themselves and start to make policies that hurt themselves when you rely on people rule themselves, when you rely on democracy attends to work, but it's messy in the beginning.

Danielle Desir: Yes, Yes, Yes. Okay, I definitely can see that and I definitely understand that. And going back to the centralized and decentralized platform, one of the things that we've seen in other platforms that have been lost is the ability for piers for hosts to be able to communicate with other hosts and even some host to guest communications. So what will communication be like on the d platform travel platform?

Luke Kim: We really don't like how other platforms create walls between hosts and guests and usually these walls can be jumped very easily. So it's as if you're spending company time and money to artificially blocked conversation and really you can't. So the reason is clear if you allow hosts and guests to directly interact. So long as the middleman, meaning the home sharing platform isn't providing a lot of value, the natural next step is just cut out the middleman who needs them. Anyway, so most of my nomadic friends, most of my traveling friends, especially those on a budget, usually they'll go to an Airbnb and then negotiate directly with the host, get a lower rate and everyone's happy and then it's a long term stay. So from Dtravel side, what we're trying to do is provide the amount of value necessary to keep posts and yes engaged and interested to keep them wanting to go through D. Travel through each other and so it's an ambitious undertaking but completely possible at this point. And I think the level of innovation we've seen in travel, it's pretty rapid Airbnb definitely pioneered the home sharing model, but before then we had couchsurfing as well, we had a lot of different models, interesting things, but now it's time to sort of evolve it further and I'm kind of excited to see where that goes, although I have full faith it'll go successfully. So for me it's more like watching a train come to the station. I think sometimes people tend to see it as well, We're trying to see a dragon fall from the sky, but it's not that esoteric, it's not that mysterious, this democratization and gig economy sharing economy type vibe has been around for a while, we just need to implement. Yes, implementation is very important, so we covered a lot of things. We talked about the fees And how d travels able to lower the fees on both the host side, to the point where zero fees and for the guests we are thinking about 7.5% I saw was the number for that, which again, fees are a huge part of what we pay on other platforms so that's going to lower the cost also D. Travels ability that you can accept other forms of currency like Cryptocurrency and these travel tokens and N. F. T. S. But I thought you did a really great job of explaining because I'm a newbie at that so that's really great. And even prioritizing the interests of the community over shareholders right because when you are now a publicly traded company you are responsible to grow the company in a way that is beneficial to shareholders and not necessarily the interests of your users. So I think that is really important. The last thing I wanted to touch on is the trust between the host and the platform. We know that I've seen tons of headlines of how hosts are not happy and guests are also pretty not happy with some of the platforms out there. So how are you thinking about building this trust between all of these parties? Yeah. So happiness is very important to us. We want everyone to be happy. As you say a lot of hosts are unhappy right now that's a problem. That's why we exist. So first off we don't obstruct what you want to do and what might be beneficial for you if you want to talk to. Guess directly that's fine. If you want to list on other platforms that's fine. We don't see the world as a zero sum game. We just want to provide what's better and have faith that what's better will attract people who are both productive and prosperous. So that's the first thing we don't get in your way. The second thing is that we see the community of D. Travel As one and the same with the business of the travel. This is where we get into a bit of Blockchain territory, but in the world of Blockchain there's a concept called decentralized autonomous organizations. It is called the dow D A L. And so a decentralized autonomous organization is what you would imagine, decentralized meaning power to the people. Democratic, decentralized autonomous meaning. You don't need to construct processes that have people behind them in a way that incomers the whole network with paying these people and organizing these people autonomous means you can trust and automated processes and in code to create the outcomes that ordinarily you would rely on human beings for therefore you also cut a lot of costs and give people less fees. An organization decentralized autonomous organization. The organization part you can think of it this way. D travel is akin to a co op and the digital sphere. So with people that you don't know their names, you can never shake their hands, don't understand their language, you can be part of the same organization and you understand that you're part of the same economy and what each of you does. The policies each of you creates, the economic value, each of you creates that's going to grow the whole pie and affects everybody else in the ecosystem. So as such, you're part of the same team and so if I bring it down to a smaller, simpler level than let's say I'm hosting on D travel and as a host, you must have TRV all tokens. So here I am holding my TRV all tokens, I can participate with my local peers in crafting policies that are suitable for our regulatory jurisdiction or our regional specificities. Then I realized that the market is growing and more people are coming to D travel, which makes me happy and because more people are coming to D travel and wanting to host, the value of T R V L reflects that kind of interest because T R V L is somewhat like a taxi medallion in the sense that there's a limited supply and if you want to host, you got to have them. And as I move forward in this ecosystem, because I hold TrV l now I get the book, travel with massive discounts and I get to be in the running for great perks and benefits that even ask for. And then as the platform grows more and more I get to participate in these constitutional conventions and votes and proposals so that I determined for me and my friends how things run and if things go badly, which sometimes they do in the travel industry, then dispute resolution is potentially done in a way that's community oriented to, so instead of working with a bunch of different customer service reps and call centers where I don't even understand the way they're speaking english and witnessing multiple shift changes because their timeline in my timeline are different and being told one thing and given another and being frustrated and going through more customer service to resolve issues. Instead of that process, maybe I will have a jury of peers, a jury of hosts and guests in good standing who can review my case and determined based on their real experience, who deserves what and who did what wrong. And so I would trust honestly in a jury of peers in a decentralized system of justice, then I would in some centralized company system of justice because ultimately they don't care about me or you. They just want good pr so they'll do the minimum possible to give the minimum outcome for you to just be quiet and go away. And so all that being said, if let's say the jury system goes well and it turns out I did suffer some damages as a result of a bad guest. Then in that case, the travel has something called the protection pool. So with every transaction in the network, a small percentage goes into the protection pool and the protection pool basically guarantees up to $1 million dollars worth of damage restitution for you. So it's not as if there's a complicated process. It's not as if there's rocket science going on. If my peers say, oh yeah, luke, you should get money for what was done to you or what happened, then that approval is all we need, The money comes straight to me, that's one thing and the other thing is when bookings happen, there's a percentage of transaction fees that goes into what we call the Community Development Fund, the Community Treasury. And so imagine that every time you book transactions, you're not paying exorbitant esoteric weird fees to some central company, but rather you're making money for your community. So when the transaction fees come into D travel, that community Treasury is something that is utilized based on the vote of our community members. So if the host collectively say, yeah, probably is very important to hire lawyers to look over all of our regulatory stuff in this year. And it's probably important to hire cleaning services to help globally. All of us take care of quality standards. In that case you can use the Community Treasury to go out and seek people to provide set services and to compensate them. And you can even perhaps compensate the people in network the hosts and guests who would otherwise be volunteers. You can compensate those people in T. R. B. L, which is valuable for their time and effort in trying to organize this ecosystem. So in a way you have a system of bounties, if you're familiar with bounty hunters, well, let's say I'm a poor college students somewhere and I really want to go to hawaii, there's not many ways to make money, but what I can do is contribute my time. So because I speak korean and japanese, if the travel says we need translations of online materials and creative japanese, I can do those translations, then I get awarded. And in network T R B L tokens and using that, I can go out and book myself to stay without going too long, too far too deep. You can see how the ecosystem is all about playing ping pong between members of the community and the value is always in network. Yes, and I'm like okay, so I have a spare bedroom, Do I qualify to host on D Travel? Let's talk about that. If we are like, okay, this sounds really interesting. How do we get involved on both sides? The host side and actually booking to stay well, if you want to get involved as a host, you're listening to this podcast at a great time. I would encourage you to go to D travel dot com and register yourself to start hosting. And that's because the platform is launching in the next three months, so you'll want to be aware on the other hand, if you register early and you're one of the 1st 100,000 to register then you're entitled to quite a significant sum of T R. V. L. Rewards which will just be automatically dispersed to you upon platform launch. So I think as a host, it makes a lot of sense to come in early. We're particularly right now looking for hosts who are proven. So we're open to everybody but we're specifically going after those who are super host on Airbnb who have listings on other platforms with DVR video et cetera who have some level of experience and credibility because with the guests we need to establish a level of standard at a level of quality. So that's what we're thinking about right now. It's very simple and we'd love to get more hosts in so definitely go check the website.

Danielle Desir: Excellent. Excellent. And is it possible to host like a room are you looking for like an entire house? Is there a type of accommodation that you're looking for? Oh imagine that whatever Airbnb allows, we would allow the same people have different budgets, people have different preferences so as long as there's a standard of safety and hygiene and communication beyond that we kind of let the community decide what to list and what's the book? Yes yes yes. One clarifying question for you. So as a guest coming and booking a stay on D. Travel, I can still pay with my US dollars, how does the T. R. V. L. Coins come into it? Like where would I see that as a guest? Well as a guest when you check out to book of property, it will simply ask you how would you like to pay so you could pay and your paper currency, your local currency or you can choose to pay in some kind of Cryptocurrency so if you look at travel dot com, the company that we sort of spun out from, you'll see that Travel dot com accepts the whole array of different group of currencies and so that's it. So is there a way to transfer I guess I'm still new to crypto. So can I transfer my us dollars to the T. R. V. L. Coins? Like is there an exchange that happens somewhere? So if you go on to Cryptocurrency exchanges then you can acquire T. R. B. L. Not right now but after TrV L launches which is happening sometime in the next three months. So if you're somebody who wants to own T. R. V. L. Then you can go out and get yourself some. That's no problem.

Danielle Desir: Okay that makes sense to me. I'm just like oh yeah what are you trying to do? Are you trying to be an investor? What you want? T. R. V. L. I'll send you T. R. V. L. I do have jewish coid my golden handcuffs. I do have a jewish quit. Does coin, wow. I want to tell the audience here for a second dose coin has no utility value. Does coin has no use case those coin is a meme and it's high P. And it makes people happy but the moment people realize this has no internal value, it's kind of like vapour vapor with a good package you know it's like a balloon that you can just pop. But the balloon is really big right now. I mean T. R. V. L. Has an actual economy behind it. We have executives or former Airbnb, we have all the right conditions for a real company. So I think if you're gonna do Cryptocurrency, yeah, you go go after, go after the ones with real teams, real products, those corn. Oh man. And there's many does. No baby DOGE. Yes. Yes. Now there's baby does too. It's crazy for me. I got swept up in this Youtuber who became a millionaire off of like one transaction and that. So any of those and you've got to distinguish who the influencers are that are of integrity and who the influencers are that just get paid to show random things Because influencers get paid a lot of money to just talk about things and then they get some minor stake in the company or they end up with some tokens as a reward. All they want to do is just talk it all up until the graph moves upwards and then they want to dump on retail investors. And so Cryptocurrency is a great industry, in my opinion, it's going to change the world, but there's a lot of sleaziness involved. So you got to look at the right kinds of cryptocurrencies.

Danielle Desir: Yes. And now I'm afraid to sell because I don't want to lose everything. I'm already like 50% down. So there we are. We're stuck. Yeah. I mean at the level of popularity and magnetic recognition that we have today, maybe those coins will once more. Yes, yes. Let's hope let's hope so. I don't lose my shirt there. Thank you so much luke. Thank you for stopping by and sharing all about Dtravel as well as even deep diving into Cryptocurrency, we never talked about that on the show and like I said, I do see some things on twitter. I'm just like, I wish someone would explain to me but I really love the marriage between all the assets that you're bringing together things that are pain points for both hosts and guests and I cannot wait for launch. So we'll make sure in the show notes to have the links to get started if you're interested in hosting and being one of the 100,000 at launch and john's but luke. Anything else you'd like to share and how can we connect with you as well.

Luke Kim: So I'm available everywhere. You can find me on instagram linkedin, twitter, telegram et cetera. If you message me, I will definitely respond. People don't believe this, I will now the genesis team of D travel, that's what we call it in Blockchain terms. The founding team genesis team, it sounds cooler. So as we generate D travel we rely upon people's feedback to make sure we're stepping in the right direction. So don't think of us as some black box. Don't think of us as a group just trying to create a token.

Danielle Desir: Alright financial savvy travelers that is your call to action, reach out to Luke, get involved, make sure you head over to the show notes and click the link and learn more about the travel. We can't wait to have you guys back. I would love to hear if there's a launch and things are going, Have you guys back and share with us, your insights and what you see changing in the travel industry. So thanks again luke. Thank you. I hope you enjoyed this episode. But don't forget there's way more where that came from when you become a supporter of the show, you'll get bonus episodes, additional tips on affording travel real time updates as well as strategies for building wealth and creating multiple income strings Head over to thought car dot com forged slash join to support. Also be sure to follow me on instagram. I'm at the Danielle Dozier, slide in my DMS and share with me your thoughts about this episode. What did you enjoy? What stood out to you? Let me know I'd absolutely love to connect with you outside of the podcast. See you in the next one

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In this episode, learn about:

  • The major problems with the home-sharing economy
  • The differences between centralized and decentralized booking platforms
  • Why hosts have lost trust in home-sharing platforms
  • What makes it unique
  • How TRVL tokens work
  • The benefits of joining as a host and guest

What are some of the major problems with the home-sharing economy right now?

  • High fees, approximately 20%
  • Not accepting other currency forms
  • Prioritizing shareholder interest over community

What’s the difference between centralized and decentralized booking platforms?

  • Loss of peer-to-peer and host-guest communications
  • Lack of trust between hosts and platforms

What makes Dtravel unique?

  • Prioritizes community over shareholder interests
  • Decision making by community members
  • Guests can pay in traditional currencies as well as major cryptocurrencies
  • Guests pay lower fees thus reducing the total price of accommodations
  • Hosts pay no fees to list their properties

How do Dtravel TRVL tokens work?

  • TRVL is the native token of the Dtravel network.
  • It can be used for booking stays, governing the platform through community voting, paying hosts, and accessing the loyalty program.

Connect with Dtravel:

Website: https://www.dtravel.com

Medium: Dtravel Community

Twitter: @DtravelDAO

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