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"Bitcoin doesn't exist, except in the virtual world, and can only be passed from one person to another electronically. [...] But in the past 12 months, the bitcoin zeitgeist has taken on a life of its own. The currency is discussed at investing conferences now. [...] For the Craigs, bitcoin represented a chance at adventure - and an underground movie career. [...] With help from [...] 9flats.com, an online rentals marketplace, they booked flights and hotels."
"German short-term holiday rental platforms 9flats and Wimdu and Switzerland-based HouseTrip have formed a network to lobby for their rights. In a media release, the network claims that as private rentals become a significant part of the tourism industry it’s important for the three companies to unite and communicate with one voice. [...] The companies used the announcement to highlight the benefits of staying with local hosts, including increased cultural exchange, a more authentic travel experience and more tourism in less central regions of cities."
"Start-ups like Berlin-based 9flats.com, a “share economy” platform, say that the Bitcoin concept is working in their favor. "The main advantage for our business is that we do not lose money on transaction fees because with Bitcoin there are none," said Alexander Lossenko, lead developer at 9flats.com. To avoid the risk of devaluation and strong fluctuation in Bitcoin prices, companies like 9flats.com often use services that convert bitcoins into euro or dollars instantly."
"Wherever you are in the world, hotel rooms tend to look pretty much the same. But travellers looking for a break from the monotony can now jump on the trend for unique rooms in buildings as diverse as a giant shoe, converted water tower - and even a former Boeing 747. Demand for 'boutique' and unusual homes and hotels has also soared as travellers look to get a unique experience for their money."
"In European cities [...], officials are worried that landlords will buy up buildings specifically to rent to tourists through these online sites, drying up the housing supply for residents and inflating rents, said Roman Bach, chief executive of 9flats, [...]. He said some cities present a “tough legal environment”, often made worse by a vocal hotel lobby. “They fear us,” he said. “I would welcome any initiative where we are subject to the same taxes, because that would make us a real partner to the city and we would be taken seriously.”"
"The Berlin-headquartered startup now accepts Bitcoin payment, alongside various credits cards and PayPal. [...] Uhrenbacher adds: “Nobody knows if Bitcoin is the new future currency or just a gigantic bubble. Nevertheless it is amazing how well the concept works in practice.”"
"If you are looking for something different, you may want to try websites involved in the "share economy" . These sites by-pass traditional hotels to provide unique and alternative holiday experiences - from staying in local people's houses to driving their cars. BBC Click's David Reid finds out more."
"Beyond bored of uninspired chain hotels with their yawnsome, identical, white walls? Us too. Well click this way, ladies. With everything from tree houses to luxury period apartments, or even a floating room (yup, seriously) – 9flats offers up anything but the mundane."
“North America, one of the world’s largest travel markets, is the most important market for 9flats outside of Europe,” Uhrenbacher said. “The integration of iStopOver will strongly contribute to our growth in this region and will both open a completely new geographic target audience for us and double our offerings at the same time.”
iStopOver’s existing customers will also get a boost from the deal – they’ll no longer have to pay booking fees, due to 9flats’s company policies.