How Blockchain Technology is Disrupting the Travel Industry

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Blockchain and Travel Industry

The travel industry depends heavily on transactions that customers make while visiting.  Such a system to handle these types of transactions can greatly benefit from blockchain technology, and have been adopting it gradually. Although the structure hasn’t been that proper, blockchain technology has slowly been making its way into the travel industry’s payment and transactions sector.

The main benefits of blockchain technology include a high level of security and a high level of transparency. The distributed ledger can come in handy effortlessly for potential  customers to know about local hotel inventories and details of various travel locations included in the network. Automation of processes can be obtained with smart contracts in place. Transaction sharing notifies all the members escalating the privacy factor of the deal.

These days, many online booking applications will only show that there is only one room left in a hotel or one seat left on a plane, when the reality might be something different. Companies apply these kinds of marketing strategies to pressurize the customer/client to get commit to a purchase. With the implementation of blockchain technology, we can at least be confident about the actual number of seats left, as the record is displayed on a public distributed ledger which is validated by peer members adding trust to the record item.

TUI Group

TUI Group (TUIFF) is the world’s leading tourism group with 1600 travel agencies and leading online portals, 6 airlines with around 150 aircrafts, over 380 hotels, 16 cruise liners, and many incoming agencies in all major holiday destinations of the world. The company services around 20 million customers under one roof in 180 regions. TUI is listed on the London Stock Exchange in the FTSE 100 index, in the Quotation Board of the Open Market on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and regulated Market of the Hanover Stock Exchange.

Source: TUI presentation slide at the NOAH Conference in Berlin

The group has recently started managing its transactions on a private blockchain platform. The ledger is not yet public, but company officials believe it will likely become accessible to the public soon, as it will ease their work of addressing their 20 million customers individually. TUI currently manages its internal automated smart contracts, the company believes that very soon, blockchain technology will act as the basic foundation for the kinds of systems that require maintaining real-time record keeping which is currently heavily needed entity in the travel industry. For instance, hotels can post regarding their extra inventories on the ledger making it visible to everyone. This saves time, cost and improves accessibility. The project behind the tracking of the inventories of hotels of the company is “BedSwap“. This type of technology also eliminates the need for a third-party involvement for Information management. In this way, the customer can look for the price and have a talk directly with the hotelier.

Winding Tree

Source: Winding Tree

A company based in the Bay Area is building a decentralized travel distribution platform. This company is called, Winding Tree,  and they are developing public blockchain for the travel industry. The company makes no profit on transactions on its platform as it will be fully decentralized. Instead, it has plans to raise funds through an ICO (Initial Coin Offering). Tokens act as a fuel to the blockchain so must certainly help the Winding Tree. The company believes that the decentralized model is the only way to eliminate the risk of eventual monopolization of distribution. Other features of the blockchain built by Winding Tree include easy access to the platform via a set of APIs within minutes, “Lif” is the token provided by the company as the currency on the platform, it is neither an app nor an OTA rather facilitates new players to create sites and apps.

IATA

Source: IATA

IATA is another player in the blockchain travel space. Beginning in 2014, the company has been innovating ways to make its own financial systems more efficient favoring airlines to make faster transactions. The company is looking forward and under progress on the application of blockchain technology on Digital Identity Managment. IATA makes use of smart contracts to explicitly state guidelines, which are then activated by an event or other contractual terms. For example, when the plane lands it has to pay some fees to the airport depending on some terms which are decided by the airport. By enabling smart contract, the event producing the trigger can be the aircraft landing and with formula embedded, the smart contract can be established. The Blockchain in Aviation white paper of the company streamlines the results of IATA R&D activities on Blockchain vis-a-vis airlines and the wider value chain.

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