Blockchain in the Tourism Industry
Blockchain in the Tourism Industry
September 6, 2020
Blockchain in the Tourism Industry
Blockchain in the Tourism Industry
September 6, 2020

Tourism can be defined as traveling to a place that is different from your home city or country for various leisure or business purposes, and staying there for some considerable period of time at a length.

It becomes an activity that builds the base for the wide-scale consumption bringing far-reaching benefits. Tourism gains importance as an activity that has so much reaching positive impacts on industries, economy, society, and therefore for the whole growth, progress, and development of a country.

The definition of tourism also creates the foundation and the broad context of the tourism industry through which most of the advantages and benefits are received by the country as a whole. The best way to describe, structure, and define the tourism industry is to look at it through the definition and explanation of tourism.

In this article, let’s discuss how blockchain helps tourism sector!

Tourism and blockchain have the potential to become a powerful combination as the technology can bring safety and transparency to several critical touchpoints. In the case of a travel agency booking flights and hotels for a customer, it has to send the information to the different firms. Blockchain could make this operation more secure and transparent since the responsibility spreads throughout the whole network. The same will happen with foreign transactions, increasing the level of trust among all involved parties.

Blockchain may build this operation safer and additional clear since the responsibility gets unfold throughout the entire network. The same can happen with foreign transactions, increasing the level of trust among all the involved parties.

The blockchain is a principled digital ledger of transactions that can be automated to store not only financial dealings but everything which holds value.

It stores information across a series of computers on a P2P network. The data could be accessed in real-time which can be seen throughout networks and make it possible to view the history of the goods as well as its components.

Blockchain technology comes with plenty of distinctive characteristics and traits which may profit companies in some ways.

Some of these features include:

  • Improved security
  • Eradication of middleman or third party
  • Data integrity
  • Decentralized business models
  • Immutability and transparency

Blockchain Applications in the Tourism Industry

Image: AR Digital Media

Given all of blockchain technology’s characteristics and possibilities, some experts are pointing towards possible uses within the tourism industry.

Here are some of the most interesting:

  • Easy, safe, and traceable payments: When it comes to payments, the main advantage to point out is that payments with cryptocurrency will be much more secure and traceable. As we previously mentioned, all transactions carried out on the blockchain remain registered in the chain and cannot get modified. Not only that, as it’s a decentralized system, but they are also won’t be any intermediaries that can intervene or delay payment.
  • Hotel or Transportation Coordination and Management: Decentralized management systems could also result in significant savings for large firms as this could let them get rid of the middlemen. By that same token, information flows securely while being accessible at all times, reducing management times and providing universal access to information.
  • Business ratings: It’s increasingly common that we look at forums and read user reviews when we travel; however, we cannot always guarantee who wrote them or their accuracy. With blockchain, all the information that shows up in the network is public, dependable, and secure, achieving better transparency and increasing consumer trust.  
  • Baggage management: Blockchain could become very useful to track our baggage’s location once we say goodbye to it at the check-in counter. It changes hands throughout the trip, just like we do. It’s possible, with the help of technology like blockchain, to track between companies and know where our suitcase is at all times.
  • Rewards systems: Many travel firms create loyalty programs for their customers with the aim of turning them into repeat customers. Blockchain would facilitate these processes and allow customers to check their points and, for example, exchange them for the cryptocurrency. 
  • Tracking Luggage: Blockchain technology can be extremely helpful for tracking the changing destination of luggage, particularly when dealing with international travel. In many cases, a customer’s luggage shifts hands multiple times over the progression of their journey. Using blockchain for this purpose makes sharing tracking data between companies a lot easier.
  • Identification Services: Identification services are significantly important for the travel industry and blockchain could probably match the industry standard for storing this information. If used in the right way, the technology has the potential to reduce check-in times, or queues in airports, as a simple fingerprint or retina scan, can replace showing documents.
  • Customer Loyalty Schemes: Travel companies run customer loyalty plans, in order to further earn more customers and make the current customers happy. Blockchain can also help with these programs by simplifying the process, enabling customers to easily access information regarding their loyalty points, and allowing tokens to be distributed.
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Nathan Blecharczyk, the co-founder and CTO of Airbnb, was asked regarding his company’s interest in Blockchain. Best noted for its use within the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, blockchain is an encoded public ledger that maintains a continuously-growing list of data records that refer to previous items on this list. Many see it as a holy grail for the development of online trust.

Blecharczyk replied: 

“We’re looking for all different kinds of signals to tell us whether someone is reputable, and I could certainly see some of these more novel types of signals being plugged into our engine.”

Blockchain Cases for Adoption

Image: The Financial Express
  • Inventory Management for Greater Visibility: Poor visibility on the inventory typically results in overbooking, cancellations, and refunds. In a blockchain, each confirmed booking, be it a direct sale or a booking made by an agent, will be added as a transaction block. All participants can so have a unified read of the remaining inventory. It also can facilitate airlines and hotels to monitor the fill rate. Switzerland-based travel platform Winding Tree is developing a fully public, blockchain-powered marketplace for travel inventory (hotel rooms, flights, and even experiences). This will modify suppliers to list their inventories and agents to book through it. The TUI Group is already using smart contracts on its private blockchain to manage bed inventories across its partners’ property management systems.
  • Seamless Transactions and Settlement: The sheer volume of transactions in the travel industry leads to data discrepancies and costs companies billions of dollars. When all transactions are shared simultaneously across the distributed ledger, the reconciliation time for each transaction will reduce significantly. Transactions on blockchains will be governed by smart contracts that encode the rules of the commercial relationship between participants. Digitally shared contracts increase trust in the ecosystem and significantly reduce the time and costs involved in executing them. For instance, the Winding Tree public blockchain incorporates a collection of smart contracts on Ethereum (one of the two largest public blockchain networks, the other being Bitcoin) with a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) governance platform.
  • Frequent Flyer Program Management: Blockchain will remodel the loyalty membership expertise for businesses furthermore as customers. On a distributed blockchain ledger, loyalty rewards offered by travel companies can be tokenized and redeemed immediately. In a vast blockchain that includes almost all travel players, customers’ redemption options will multiply exponentially, including the option to transfer tokens to friends or convert them to cryptocurrencies. Loyyal, a technology startup, has launched a blockchain-based universal loyalty and rewards platform. This will create it easier for firms to manage loyalty liabilities whereas giving multi-brand rewards programs furthermore as tailored redemption choices.
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Companies using blockchain in tourism

  • Winding Tree: Winding Tree is developing a decentralized trip reservation platform. The company seeks to eliminate external middlemen with the help of blockchain technology and significantly reduce the price by up to 20%.
  • ShoCard and SITA: ShoCard and SITA have proposed revolutionizing the travel industry through identity management. While the project is currently in the early stages, the hope is that the platform eases the identification of individuals in hotels or airport checkpoints.
  • Trippki: This project aims to create a loyalty program using blockchain. Trippki lets customers and companies in the tourism industry get directly in contact with each other. They assign customers tokens for staying, for example, in a specific hotel and they get registered in the blockchain, never expiring and redeemable at any time. 
  • Cool Cousin: Identifying a region’s highlights and potential attractions is a big part of the planning process for travelers. Major names like Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor offer some guidance but are hurt by issues stemming from their lack of transparency and profit-oriented models. Launched in 2016 in Tel Aviv and today used by over 500,000 travelers worldwide, Cool Cousin – with its curated travel experience – seeks to provide a better alternative for tourists. The company’s blockchain-based scheme incentivizes native guides to decriminalize their native information to supply an additional responsible and authentic tour chance for the application’s users.
  • Webjet: Inaccurate or lost hotel bookings add considerable stress and anxiety to a travel experience. Furthermore, customers usually have to take on fees across several layers of the supply chain while providers consistently extract value. Webjet is an outstanding on-line agency, has built a new model designed to avoid these irritating booking experiences. The system enhances the customer experience by recording all entries on the blockchain’s immutable ledger, which reduces the likelihood of mistaken or lost bookings and reduces the layers between sellers and consumers. Moreover, the technology’s improved security features provide better protection for the ecosystem. Apart from building bigger provide chain efficiencies and reducing prices for hotels, travelers ultimately benefit from lower-cost booking alongside transparency and greater accountability.
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Blockchain in the Tourism Industry
Image: Towards Data Science
  • Sandblock: In the hyper-competitive travel and tourism industry, loyalty rewards have gone through several iterations, but only the most recent offers a real departure thanks to blockchain. Many frequent travelers belong to airline and hotel loyalty programs. However, defrayment points and miles typically means that jumping through multiple hoops to redeem rewards. Furthermore, despite high rates of participation in loyalty programs, many customers report a willingness to accept better deals from competing carriers and service providers if the price is right. Sandblock is looking to radically change the loyalty landscape with its blockchain-based platform. The company’s system allows travel suppliers to form their own loyalty tokens, which can be exchanged not just for brand-specific rewards, but be used like real coins and even exchanged for fiat.
  • Travelchain: Data has become a prized commodity in today’s economy, offering businesses numerous insights and advantages when used appropriately. Travelers generate massive amounts of data that are highly valuable to service providers, though that information is generally restricted to gatekeepers such as Expedia and Orbitz, which offer a faster booking process at a price. The result is an ecosystem that raises the costs for travelers and adds to the informational asymmetry for travel service providers.

Conclusion

We can define the tourism industry as the consumption or use of all services and products by travelers throughout their tourism-oriented travel trip. This is the demand aspect definition of the tourism industry.

Thus, what the tourists spend on the consumption of these services and products becomes the revenues of the tourism industry.

Cover Image: India City Blog


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Ishita Bora

Ishita Bora is a Senior Content Creator at Digital Notice Media Labs with an experience of 1 year. She has completed her Master's Degree in Language and Linguistics in 2019 from Gauhati University, India. Her interest lies in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency space, as she loves writing about blockchain and other blockchain-related articles. Currently, she is working on blockchain-based news, reviews, featured articles, and guides.
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