Blockchain is developing as a strong technical force that has the potential to disrupt the status quo in the tourism business. Indeed, it is already being hailed as a game-changer in a variety of businesses. Keep in mind that blockchain is a form of database that is often utilized in the cryptocurrency industry, in which data is saved in blocks and then linked together.
Blockchain-based services are already pinpointing big pain spots in a highly fragmented industry: travel and tourism. It should come as no surprise that this industry is divided into sections. Consider airfare, hotels, and vehicle rentals, among other things. So, how might blockchain assist? These services may help the business by addressing common issues and expediting procedures, all while creating a more egalitarian environment free of gatekeepers.
However, the effect of the technology is more than speculative, with multiple enterprises upsetting various nodes in the industry’s supply chain. The five firms listed below are enhancing important areas of the travel ecosystem and cementing blockchain’s role in the industry.
- Winding Tree strives to link tourists with service providers while keeping fees and expenditures to a minimum for both parties.
- Webjet is an online travel service that monitors and warns passengers, hotels, and travel agencies about booking errors.
- The Known Traveler Digital Identity System is a joint platform developed by Accenture and the World Economic Forum that collects and hosts information from frequent international travelers.
- TravelChain allows users to collect and monetize travel data, and receive tokens as compensation for sharing with travel service providers.
1. Winding Tree: Displacing Online Booking Hubs
Expedia and Priceline, two major travel service aggregators, dominate flight reservations. However, this comes at a high cost to both passengers and airlines. Booking via these websites sometimes entails exorbitant fees and surcharges, which are made feasible by their largely uncontested role as gatekeepers. Winding Tree, a blockchain-based company, seeks to overthrow these entrenched titans by challenging their position as industry intermediaries.
Winding Tree is a Swiss-based private enterprise. It was founded in 2017 and serves several aspects of the travel and tourist business, including hotels and flights. 1 “Blockchain technology enables a fair and competitive travel distribution business,” according to the startup. 2
With the LF token, the startup hopes to link passengers directly with service providers including as flights, hotels, and tour operators. The goal is to keep rates low for tourists while keeping expenses low for service providers. Winding Tree’s platform cryptocurrency is 3 LF. 4
Every player in the travel and tourist business benefits from the company’s intelligent usage of smart contracts and the ERC827 protocol. Because Winding Tree is a non-profit organization, there are no intermediaries that add additional costs to the booking process. 5
2. Webjet: Adding Assurances and Avoiding Inaccuracies
Incorrect or misplaced hotel reservations add significant stress and worry to a trip experience. When this occurs, consumers are frequently forced to pay fees at several levels of the supply chain, while suppliers constantly extract value.
Webjet has created a new model based on blockchain’s immutable distributed ledger technology in order to prevent these inconvenient booking experiences. The firm was started in 1998 and is a well-known online travel agency located in Australia. 6 Webjet claims to be the top online agency in Australia and New Zealand, as well as a pioneer in online tools and technology. 7
Webjet’s blockchain technology was formally introduced in 2019. The solution improves the customer experience by documenting all transactions on the blockchain’s immutable ledger, reducing the possibility of incorrect or missing reservations and removing the layers between vendors and customers. This is accomplished by finding real-time data issues that may arise between customers, agents, and hotels and providing notifications to all parties. 8
The upgraded security features of the technology secure the ecosystem better. Aside from increasing supply chain efficiency and lowering hotel prices, guests eventually benefit from lower-cost reservations as well as more transparency and responsibility.
Blockchain technology relies heavily on decentralization. Control is transferred from a centralized organization to a broader network.
3. Sandblock: Improving Loyalty’s Fungibility
In the competitive travel and tourist sector, loyalty awards have gone through various revisions. Many frequent flyers are members of airline and hotel loyalty programs. Spending points and miles often requires you to jump through many hoops in order to obtain incentives. 9 Despite high loyalty program participation rates, many consumers show a propensity to accept better offers from other carriers and service providers if the price is right.
Sandblock is one of the industry’s most recent newcomers. Sandblock was founded in 2017 in France. 1011 With its blockchain-based platform, it intends to revolutionize the loyalty landscape by enabling travel providers to develop their own loyalty tokens that can be traded for brand-specific benefits. Furthermore, they may be used as actual currency and swapped for fiat money. 12
Users may also use their tokens to receive incentives from companies other than the one that gave them to them, and they can earn more by participating in the community. 13 Businesses benefit from greater data and openness, as well as an ecosystem that generates value via better targeting and happier customers.
4. Accenture: Striving Towards Shorter Lines
Spending hours in airport lines is one of the most inconvenient aspects of touring the world, not just for tourists but also for airlines and airport personnel. Congestion may lengthen the time spent in security, customs, and passport control queues. Security concerns are frequently cited as justifications for more rules and supervision, all of which add to frequent passengers’ woes.
Accenture (ACN) created the Known Traveler Digital Identity System to address these issues and speed up the security procedure. To assist disrupt the global travel business, the consultancy company collaborated with the World Economic Forum (WEF). 14
This blockchain is intended to capture and store identifying information from regular international passengers, allowing for a more fluid flow of data between tourists and customs officers in order to expedite the clearing process. 15
Because of distributed ledger technology, passengers may acquire control over their digital identities while also improving security. Airports and airlines benefit from faster processing and improved security, which helps minimize lines while reducing one of the most common passenger complaints. 15
5. TravelChain: Making the Most of Data
In today’s market, data is a valuable commodity. When implemented correctly, it provides organizations with insights and benefits. Travelers’ data, which is very valuable to service companies, is often confined to gatekeepers such as Expedia and Orbitz. These firms charge a fee for a speedier booking procedure. This increases expenses and exacerbates information asymmetry for service providers.
TravelChain is a new entrant looking to disrupt the industry with an open-source blockchain. The Russian firm intends to eliminate supply chain middlemen. Users may gather and monetize their trip data, keeping it private from prying eyes and receive tokens in exchange for sharing it with travel service providers. 16 These tokens may then be exchanged for goods or cash. 17
Participating organizations may have access to more detailed information about passengers, which they can then use to target promotions more precisely. Apart from customizing marketing, these organizations may provide tailored tours and promotions depending on a traveler’s interests, thereby completing the ecosystem loop and providing benefit to all stakeholders. 17
The Bottom Line
Traveling should be convenient, affordable, and, most importantly, pleasant. While surcharges, booking anomalies, negative reviews, and lengthy lineups are all symptoms of today’s travel climate, blockchain is upending the status quo with a slew of new services aimed to modernize and simplify the travel experience.
Travelers and service providers may develop more mutually rewarding connections that lead to improved overall value when more fair ecosystems are built to decrease the presence of middlemen.
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