Before you can understand the incredible ways through which blockchain technology is transforming the travel industry, you first need to understand what blockchain really is and how it functions. In as much as this technology sounds like a real bear, that’s not quite the case. Blockchain is literally a chain of blocks, -although not in that direct sense. This undeniably incredible and unique innovation has transformed many industries and not just the travel industry. This technology has been linked to smart contracts, financial services, video games, the supply chain, etc.
So, what is Blockchain Technology?
Blockchain is a decentralized, open, distributed ledger that is capable of recording transactions between two parties effectively and in an immutable way. Invented by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, the technology is commonly associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Blocks store information about, who is participating in each transaction, transactions such as date and time, and is able to distinguish each individual participating in any transaction. Also these blocks are permanent, meaning, even information can be added it cannot be tampered with or falsified in any way unless the person uses the consensus from the entire network without changing all subsequent blocks.
- Blockchain very secure
- The technology offers a unique level of transparency
- Information or any kind of data stored in a blockchain based platform can be easily traced
- The technology is highly efficient and very fast
- And it is not expensive, –an added advantage.
Talking of benefits, blockchain has really been an ‘it-game’ in the travel industry. It has offered great stability and the highest level of security. As we all know, in the travel industry information is quite often passed between companies. For instance, information such as customer details is passed by travel agents to flight companies or hotels. Blockchain has made these processes quite easy, fast and so transparent such that there are no doubts or trust issues between clients and travel agencies.
Financial transactions also play a major role in the travel industry, and with blockchain in the mix, the industry should experience very secure and flawless payments. Below are some of the various ways blockchain can be used in the travel industry;
- Tracking luggage movement in international airports
- Storing information linked to identification services
- Allowing travel companies to accept payments using digital coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, etc.
- Offering secure and traceable payments
Several blockchain-based platforms have erupted in the blockchain industry and are acting as proof that this technology is positively transforming the industry. Such platforms include;
- LockChain –a platform operating as a direct marketplace for hotels and hospitality companies that rents out properties.
- Winding Tree –a blockchain-based platform that basically deals with luggage tracking and booking elements.
- Accenture –a blockchain platform that collects and stores information from frequent travelers and customs agents so as to ease the clearance process and at the same time enable a free flow of data.
- ShoCard & SITA –a blockchain-based startup aiming to enable travel companies to quickly and easily verify customer identification.
- Trippiki –a loyalty reward programme that rewards customers with TRIP tokens.
- Sandblock –a platform that allows hotel and airline industries to use its blockchain to create their own loyalty tokens, which can be exchanged from crypto to fiat currency.
- Cool Cousin –a completely decentralized blockchain based ecosystem that offers guidance to tourists giving them a perfect travel experience.
- Webjet –a platform that uses blockchain’s immutable nature to prevent inaccurate or lost hotel bookings always experienced by travellers and travelling agencies.
The United States customs also intend to use blockchain for travel security measures. During the latest Travel Summit held in New York City at the JetBlue Technology Ventures, a number of airline and technology gurus met to discuss the future of blockchain as a solution in travel.
One of the hosts, a program manager at U.S. Customs and Border protection Sikina Hasham, clearly stated his belief that blockchain technology can safely share data across governments. Apparently, despite the fact that the idea sounds powerful, he also believes that ‘’ the blockchain space lacks serious standards to undergird and standardize communications between organizations.’’
According to his statement,
‘’Our primary goal is security, but also facilitating trade and travel. Blockchain is relatively new for us, we have trailed some blockchain technology in the trade space… in the travel space, we are still working on figuring out how industry stakeholders in the technology space will help us get a better sense of the uses of blockchain, privacy and decentralized information are some of the challenges we as a government organization have a legal obligation to protect.”
For a long time the travel agency has been eying blockchain’s potential and perhaps what the U.S. government needs is a little push. With blockchain, travelling can be made comfortable, enjoyable, and cost-effective.