There’s been a lot of talk about how blockchain will completely revolutionize the way people use technology. But aside from cryptocurrency and the occasional buzz around smart contracts, blockchain’s effects haven’t really infiltrated mainstream society.
Today, we’re going to cover blockchain technology in a practical, very real way by looking at something that most of us do: travel.
Why Blockchain Is Important to the Travel Industry
Right now, most of us navigate the travel and hospitality industries by going through an intermediary. If you want to book a hotel room, where’s the first place you go? Probably to a website like Expedia or Travelocity. Companies like these let you book a hotel room, buy your plane ticket, and even hire a car from their easy-to-use website. Simple, isn’t it?
But what if there was a way to enjoy the same level of convenience without going through a middleman?
With blockchain, there is.
How Does This Revolutionize the Travel Industry?
A travel industry powered by blockchain is able to manage records in real-time. Bed inventory, airline tickets, and other important information is constantly updated and distributed across the blockchain network in seconds.
Best of all, those records are available to anyone, including customers. That means customers can view vacancies and prices in real-time, without going through travel agencies and dealing with inflated prices.
For example, when a top hotel in New York City has a vacancy, that information is immediately placed on the blockchain along with the room’s price. Prospective customers can view this information and decide whether they want to book a hotel room or not.
This benefits both the company and the customer. The company doesn’t have to worry about any middleman fees that may come with travel agencies, while the customer is able to book their room at market price. Everyone wins!
Other benefits include:
- Businesses can individually address the tens of millions of customers who travel each year without outsourcing their booking to travel agencies.
- Decentralization creates a fair, democratized market that more people can access. It also lowers startup fees for businesses entering the market, as they don’t have to work with intermediary companies.
- Blockchain technology is controlled by everyone who participates, not just shareholders and C-level executives.
- Blockchain data is nearly immutable. This makes blockchain-based transactions one of the most secure ways to do business.
Also, blockchain makes it easy to implement and track rewards and loyalty programs. Thanks to smart contracts, the whole process can be automated and monitored on an open network.
Taking the Travel Industry by Storm
Now that we’ve looked at what blockchain is capable of, let’s check out a couple of key players in the industry.
- TUI Group: TUI Group is the world’s largest tourism company. They’re based out of Germany and are currently exploring ways to integrate blockchain into their business model as a way to make tourism an easy option to everyone in the EU and abroad.
- Winding Tree: Winding Tree is currently working to create a decentralized ecosystem in travel and hospitality. Their goal is to build a platform that prioritizes security and accessibility in the industry.
Sounds exciting! Be sure to keep a watchful eye on these two companies, as well as any other tech-centered companies entering the travel industry. While it’s difficult to say when blockchain will become a quintessential part of travel and hospitality, there have been great strides in integrating the technology in practical, real-world applications.
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