NFTs may be in a bear market right now, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t being used to great effect by existing projects. One such well-established Web3 organization is Travala.com , a crypto-powered travel agency that allows tourists to pay using their favorite cryptoasset if they so desire. In February 2022, Travala introduced the Travel Tiger Club , a collection of 1,000 utility NFTs on the Ethereum Blockchain. Judging by the reception the Travel Tigers have received thus far, the initiative has been a huge success and helped to further cement Travala.com’s already solid position in the market. Let’s take a closer look at this NFT success story and see what it looks like when the true potential of non-fungible tokens is unleashed!
“NFTs Don’t Have Any Utility!”
That’s what you hear all the time in the various echo chambers that constitute social media and traditional news outlets. And are they wrong? No, not completely. It would be dismissive and unfair to intimate that—after, all, not all NFT projects are equal. And in truth, many projects have zero utility and are just peddled by opportunists trying their luck to get rich. But we don’t focus on those or give them any credence because that’s not how NFTs should work anyway. However, just because some or even many NFT projects don’t have any utility doesn’t mean they all don’t.
What it really boils down to is why an NFT project is created in the first place. Do you just want to make generative art people can buy, sell and trade and have fun with? Then sure, that’s good as long as you clearly point that out. But in all honesty, most critics target the utility aspect, and that’s because many NFT projects aren’t created with utility in mind. This is why Travala.com’s Travel Tiger Club makes for a great case study since these NFTs were created as such. Imagine that—an intelligent design behind NFTs provides them with intrinsic, lasting value. Unthinkable? In this case: No, not at all!
Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright…
In articles like this, we here at MSQ.io generally prefer to go straight to the source for deeper insights and info you won’t get just by visiting existing sites. If you want to check out the Travel Tiger Club, you can see all the NFTs in their full glory on their official OpenSea page . To really get to the heart of the matter, I talked directly to Travala.com to find out the full story behind the Travel Tigers:
I know Travala well and follow you guys on Twitter . I think to start, what prompted the creation of the Travel Tiger Club? And what is it?
Our travel loyalty program, the Smart Program , has been in existence for several years now, rewarding members for traveling and using crypto. The program has evolved with the maturation of the industry, and as the NFT space exploded, we quickly realized that very few of these projects had actual utility—they were primarily fueled by speculation.
We knew there was much more that could be done with the tech, and with travel bouncing back strongly, we wanted to create an exclusive NFT-based membership that offered real benefits to travelers, while at the same time bringing them together from different countries and cultures in an online club where they could share travel (and crypto!) stories, tips, pictures and form genuine bonds.
And so the Travel Tiger Club launched in February 2022 with the creation of the Travel Tiger NFTs. The NFT itself serves as the key to unlocking the Smart Diamond membership, the highest tier of the Smart Program, when 2,500 AVA is locked in a user’s Travala.com account.
Smart Diamond members receive a range of unique benefits, including:
- Crypto loyalty rewards of up to 10% on every booking
- Ambassador Bonus travel credit rewards for completing marketing tasks
- Entry into once-in-a-lifetime random travel experience drops
- And more!
Winners of the travel experience drops have special metadata attached to their winning NFT, allowing the winners to choose between using the holiday prize for themselves or selling the NFT with the attached prize on the secondary market.
Both the NFT and AVA needed to obtain a Smart Diamond membership remain the property of the user, so the membership itself can also effectively be resold at any time if a user desires. We’re continually expanding the benefits for our Smart Diamond members to add even more value and get people traveling (and interacting with Web3 tech in the process) as much as possible.
Editor’s note: Travel Tiger Club members and Smart Diamond members are one and the same.
And what has the overall reception and uptake of the program been like so far? Have people responded well to the inclusion of NFTs?
It’s been extremely positive through and through. We’ve been a blockchain/crypto company since day one, so the majority of our users are crypto natives (over 70% of our bookings are paid in crypto) and we couldn’t have asked for a better response from the community.
When the Travel Tiger NFTs first became available, they sold out in under a week. We even had to dip into the NFTs that were originally planned to be reserved because the demand was so high.
We also knew from our community Telegram channel and social media that many of our users were already into NFTs, which further helped validate our decision to launch the Travel Tiger Club.
And who is the artist behind Travel Tigers? Can you tell me a little more about the NFTs themselves?
We worked closely with designers on the concept to create the artwork and traits of the Travel Tigers. The rationale behind choosing tigers as the NFT was inspired by their curiosity and nomadic lifestyles (and of course the alliteration with “Travala” and “travel”).
For generating the NFTs themselves, we used an algorithm to randomize traits and ensure the uniqueness of each piece. The traits vary in rarity and include different fur colors, outfits, eyes, facial expressions, earrings, necklaces and backgrounds.
So does every Travel Tiger come with features you can either redeem or resell? And I assume the higher the price, the greater the perks attached to the NFT?
The only difference between each of the Travel Tigers is their rarity traits. Each one can be used to access the Smart Diamond membership, which offers exactly the same benefits to all Diamond members, regardless of the Tiger NFT they connect to their Travala.com account.
What changes is if the NFT wins a travel experience drop, which we’ve been running each quarter. So far, this would be 5 NFTs: 1 who won the first Maldives giveaway, 1 who won the Singapore Grand Prix giveaway, and 3 who won the most recent Argentina giveaway.
The NFT metadata is updated and this generally attracts more attention/bidders for these particular NFTs on the secondary market, typically making them more valuable purely from a resale perspective (not the Diamond membership itself). Other than that the resale value is determined by the value users attribute to the rarity traits.
You mentioned that you’re constantly looking for ways to extend the benefits for Smart Diamond members. Do you have anything else planned for the Travel Tigers in particular?
We do yes, very very soon in fact. It’s all under wraps at this stage, but without saying too much, our focus is on continuing to increase the real-world utility, which in our case is getting our customers traveling more regularly, affordably and in greater style.
So overall would you say Travel Tigers has helped to lift Travala’s profile and add to your overall value proposition?
Absolutely—the Travel Tiger Club has garnered quite a bit of positive attention within both the crypto and traditional travel industries, which is what’s needed to help continue bridging the gap between travel and blockchain.
In the months immediately following the sale of the NFTs, we hit our highest and third-highest revenue months, and we already exceeded last year’s total revenue with several months to go in 2022. This of course isn’t solely down to the NFTs, but they have been an integral part of our strategy throughout the year and will continue to be key moving forward.
We believe the benefits of the Smart Diamond membership are extremely competitive when compared with the top travel loyalty programs available today, and with even more to come, the value proposition for booking with Travala.com has never been greater.
Editor’s Update - All Smart Diamond members now also receive an airport lounge pass membership with 4 free airport lounge passes per year thanks to Travala.com’s partner, Priority Pass !
So NFTs Do Have Utility After All
In the right hands, or perhaps with the right community behind them, NFTs truly have huge utility and are ideal for attaching benefits and keeping records of all the activity that concerns the NFT collection in question. I’ve known Travala.com for several years now, and I only know them as having huge integrity and transparency in their business practices. The Travel Tiger Club is further proof of this integrity and testament to their ability to use the latest Web3 tech to its fullest potential.
If you’ve ever wanted to travel but don’t feel like dealing with traditional travel agencies, then Travala.com is the answer. And if you can, pick yourself up a Travel Tiger NFT. Who knows? You could very well be the recipient of a dream holiday just for holding your own Travel Tiger NFT. And even then, with concierge services, access to metaverse events and the awesome loyalty program (yes, an actual loyalty program), Travel Tigers really provide end users with the coveted utility they desire and then some.
Travel Tiger Club is a huge NFT success story, and with such a professional, dedicated team behind it, I have no doubt that Travala.com will continue to innovate and find even more incredible ways to merge the world of travel with cutting-edge Web3 tech…