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A Booking DAO (Easy Version)

A booking platform managed by the users.
Focused on remote working and long term friendly accommodations.
The money goes directly to the Community which decides what to do with the money.
Usable from launch, by anyone, no crypto knowledge needed.

Update 1st of June 2021: the Booking DAO project has been put on hold.
After launch we tried to teach Short Term Rentals players how to use a wallet, get some crypto and be ready to operate in Web3.
While there was certainly more interest than in the past, the level of engagement is still not enough to reach the critical mass needed.
So, we’re too early, again.
We’ll give another shot in a year or two.
In general it will be interesting to watch who gets there first: the new generations or the old guard.

REQUEST FOR COMMENTS (RFC)

This article is a request for comments on an experimental booking platform.
It’s not a launch.

ARTICLE TARGET

The article is aimed at “no coiners” Property Managers and Hosts, meaning people who don’t own crypto yet.

WHY NOW

Several stars have aligned:
- Long term bookings are mainstream.
- Remote working is mainstream.
- Decentralized governance is here: the internet has found a way to manage funds (money) and decisions without a central authority. This means that when you send 100 € to the project, only the Community (including you) can move them.
- The blockchain is cheap and fast now.

Gradually, then suddenly.

WHAT THIS IS NOT

Yet another startup making the world a better place for investors.

WORDS AND THEIR MEANINGS

Owner: Airbnb host, manager, property manager. The person who welcomes the guest and takes care of cleaning, check-in and stuff. Lots of stuff.
Guest: the person who stays and put the money on the table. Also, the person who pays (sometimes unknowingly) the 15/20% commission to the OTAs.
Web3: The internet powered by the open blockchains. It’s what’s coming. We still live on Web2, the internet of the corporations.
OTA: Online Travel Agencies (Booking.com, Airbnb, VRBO and so on).
Fiat: USD, Euro and all the other non programmable currencies.

SO, LET’S GET TO IT

Here’s what we intend to solve:

1) I’M A GUEST AND I NEED:
- An easy way to book remote working friendly spaces (apartments, houses, rooms etc..): fast internet, office corner, long term allowed and so on.
- A way to book long term remote working friendly spaces: a place where I know I am going to be comfortable working, they accept long term bookings and understand my needs. I’m a fully fledged digital nomad or I simply work remotely and want to spend some time away. Anyway, I can’t work from the kitchen table and deal with slow internet.
- Low fees: I need to avoid the +10% Airbnb guest fee, or the Booking.com 15–20% commission (paid by the owner but ultimately paid by me) because they are too expensive, especially when I stay a few months.
- Real direct contact: I need to be able to speak to the owner on the phone/on video call and maybe even visit the place before booking. I am not staying two days, I am staying 3 months, so I really need to be sure (no censorship for my own protection, thanks).
- A booking platform where all the properties are vetted for my use case: I don’t need 1000 listings of which 900 do not fit my needs, I prefer 100 good ones to chose from.
- No crypto: I don’t know anything about crypto, so don’t drag me into this stuff.

2) I’M A HOST AND I NEED:
- Help with the transition from purely tourist hosting to the remote worker and longer term guests.
- To be able to talk to the guests directly on the phone/on video chat/in person before the bookings to better address their needs.
- Avoid 15/20% commissions which on long term bookings are a huge amount of money.
- No crypto: I don’t know anything about crypto, so don’t drag me into this stuff.

A POSSIBLE SOLUTION

- A Community owned booking platform.
- A subscription based model, with zero commissions on bookings.
- A collectively managed fund: The money from subscriptions goes to community managed smart contracts. There is no central authority managing money.
- All profit is distributed to the Community via a decentralized DAO mechanism. No one person can decide what to do with it.
- Each listing is approved by the Community, based on a pre-set list of parameters (e.g. minimum acceptable internet speed).
- Listings are not censored: they can show phone numbers, email, personal website, links to OTAs (Airbnb, Booking etc..) and so on.
- Direct payments between guest and owner (with an option to delegate the payment to the platform later via an escrow system).
- The decisions are taken by the community (e.g how much to charge for subscription per year) via a decentralized Governance vote.

WEAKNESSES

- No escrow for now. We are going back a few years, and give this responsibility to the owner. It’s just temporary, to keep things simple at the beginning as escrow means a central authority, money management, a point of failure and so on. We will need to work a on a decentralised approach for this. It’s doable today with smart contracts, but not with fiat money.
- No integrations yet: no iCal, channel managers and so on. There’s no direct bookings and penalizations. You can link to your own website, Airbnb or Booking, so prices and availbilties are visible there.
- Scams: A result of direct payments is that we have no control over the money. For this reason listings are vetted and invite only (also to be decided).
- Not completely decentralized. The booking platform itself is centralised because we want you to be able to use it without a learning curve.

THE TEAM

Project Managers

This project is initially managed by me, Luca De Giglio and Carmela Lerede.

Carmela during the recording sessions for her Business School Property Management course

Carmela is a prominent Property Manager managing 40 high end apartments and villas who has already transitioned to long term remote working friendly bookings.
While last year most Property Managers had empty apartments, she did well.
How did she do it? She was part of Trips Community and was exposed to these ideas early on, since 2018

She is an acclaimed trainer of Property Managers in Italy.

She is also publishing a book on Remote Working Accommodations, which will be in Italian libraries in April 2021.

Approval Team
People will candidate themselves and will be voted in the team.

Marketing Team (a.k.a “The Trips Army”)
We have a 4000 member strong Community from all over the world and many are already spreading the word about Trips.
We pay them in Trips directly in our forum, come to see, it’s fascinating.
Some funds will also be spent for legacy marketing.

Who Decides (a.k.a Governance)

Picture this: all the subscription money paid by the Hosts goes in a big pot at the center of the room.
I can’t touch it, you can’t touch it, no one can.
Everyone sees it, they see how much there is and every transaction in and out.
It’s our common treasury.

Now I come and say: “hey guys, I want to spend $1000 in marketing”, and people vote. If there’s a majority, they get transferred to me.

Someone else comes and makes another proposal: “I am going to improve the design and need $1000 for this” and this gets voted too.

This is made possible by a token we created.
You don’t need to participate in the vote but if you’d like to, you’ll need to set up a wallet.
It’s not hard, and we’ll help.

This was about the money.
Here are some other decisions delegated to the token holders:

  • Yearly price of subscription to the platform. At the moment it seems we’ll charge 100 € a year. This is for one listing, we’ll define a price structure for those with more listings and a discount for early adopters.
Here’s the non-binding vote so far. The real vote will be done later and only Trips holders will be able to vote. After that every participant will be able to vote for a price change.

- Main parameters for listing approval (internet speed, review score in other platforms, minimum number of pictures, overall listing quality etc…)
- Approval process: to participate in the approval process, one must be elected by the Community. A part of the earnings goes to the Listing Approval process and the Approval Team will earn.

OLD STYLE STUFF

Some aspects of the project are centralised because of the lack of mass adoption in crypto and general Web3 infrastructure not being ready (high gas fees, speed and so on).

- Domain name: decentralized domain names (.eth/.crypto and so on), require plugins. We’ll research this as it would be great to have a community controlled domain name.
- Booking platform: legacy centralized server/db software. It’s usable by anyone, no crypto experience needed.

THE GOVERNANCE TOKEN

When you pay the subscription, you get some tokens.
You don’t want to be bothered with this stuff? Fine. Just wait for the requests.
You want to make the most of the chance and finally learn a little bit of crypto?
Great! We’ll help you, you’ll be able to vote too.

MONEY

We already have a platform and the expenses have so far been paid by Trips Community funds, Francesco and Claudio and this month, Carmela.
When we start getting subscription money, it will be exchanged into crypto and sent to the fund.
All expenses will be transparently published.
We’ll probably give a discount to those who pay directly in crypto so we skip the Fiat part.

THE BOOKING PLATFORM

We’ll start using a centralised software and eventually move to more decentralized solutions.
Why? Because decentralised software requires users to be onboarded in crypto and 99% of them are not ready.
Initially we will use the website Smart Working Spaces.

Where we already have onboarded 237 apartments in Italy.

This is something we started back in March last year to offer a solution during Covid19, we have subsequently closed the subscriptions as we could not follow it properly.
We plan to relaunch soon.

The platform is pretty basic and does not have all the features we need, especially integration with external calendars and prices, but it’s OK to start.
Contact us if you want an invite.

We may also collectively decide to change its name and domain.
“Smart Working” is widely used in Italy, but elsewhere “Remote Working” is more common.

“HOW WILL YOU GET CUSTOMERS?”

This is an experiment in a collectively managed booking platform and we have no central budget for it.
Ideally most of the money we collect with subscriptions goes into marketing.
We also count on a lot of word of mouth, due to the innovative nature of the project.
The fact that no company makes money out if this, is pretty interesting.

We think that there is a real incentive already for guests to seek out alternative booking methods.
Differently fom tourists, the OTAs are not the easiest way to book this kind of places: they are expensive and censored.
We have seen how, when possible, most guests do prefer to go direct.

DISCUSSION

Head over to Discord, where we created a whole section dedicated to the project.
Tell us what you think and start helping now!

>> ENTER DISCORD NOW <<

HERE’S SOME PLACES ALREADY ONLINE!

Cà Rossa suite&breakfast — Bergamo
Smart Working 5* guardanSmart Working 5* guardando la cupola di San Pietro — Romedo la cupola di San Pietro — Rome
Suite on the beach between Amalfi and Ravello
DESIGN LOFT + PRIVATE GARDEN — Florence
Smartworking vista Lago di Como

>> ENTER DISCORD NOW <<

Join the Trips Community!

Website| Newsletter | Youtube |Discord

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