The potential of blockchain technology has inspired hype and buzz for years. However, we are really starting to see implementation in various sectors. Use cases have been extremely beneficial in industries such as banking, healthcare, and security. One such industry where the technology is gaining prevalence is travel and hospitality. Although we have not seen any full-blown disruption there just yet, this could be on the horizon. Technically, these can be considered two separate industries, but for practical purposes can be grouped together.
Advantages of Blockchain
Blockchain is essentially a publicly available ledger, or list of digital archives, where individual records are stored namelessly and permanently. The individual records, or “blocks,” are crypted while uploading, so once the information has been logged in the blockchain, it is permanent and cannot be altered or erased. That is also what makes it so unique as all the data available on blockchain is decentralized and is shared through a peer-to-peer network.
Below are some of the key advantages of blockchain:
- Transparency – All the individual pieces of data come together to form a digital ledger. Since the data is hosted on a peer-to-peer network, this ledger is accessible to everyone. Essentially, everyone on the network can always access all data.
- Security – A blockchain can potentially be one of the most secure and protected forms of data storage. All the data on the network is not only encrypted but is also linked to the previous transaction on the ledger. Additionally, the data is stored across various devices on the network, protecting it from hackers.
- Cost-effective – Blockchain will help you reduce your business cost by a fraction on many fronts. Firstly, you no longer need third parties to manage transactions and keep records. Also, you will be able to track your functioning in a more meticulous manner that will reduce discrepancies.
- Efficient – Since all the data is available on one ledger, the amount of clutter and unnecessary documents and files are reduced substantially. At the same time, it is also easier to track your data when you need it instead of going through stacks of files.
Blockchain in the Travel Industry
Below are the ways in which blockchain is being implemented in the travel industry:
- Payments – Certainly one of the most prominent uses of blockchain is in digital payments, and the same goes for the travel industry. The payments are secured and trackable through the blockchain network and at the same time very convenient. This can be done through a mode of cryptocurrency or even through a streamlined bank payment method that is an upgrade from the traditional approach.
- Security – This is a very important and sensitive aspect of travel, and blockchain is making an impact here as well. The blockchain can store data and ID information of every passenger and identify potential threats. Used properly, this technology has the potential to drastically decrease check-in times and queues in airports, as a simple retina scan or fingerprint can be used instead of documents.
- Tracking luggage – Every so often, passenger luggage does end up getting misplaced or sent to an incorrect location. Such problems and other such logistical challenges can be managed thanks to the blockchain technology. The decentralized nature of the database can help companies share the information to the benefit of everyone involved, especially in flights where luggage changes hands several times.
- Loyalty program – Loyalty programs are very important for many frequent travelers and help the companies generate a significant amount of revenue. With the help of blockchain, these programs can be made better by simplifying the process of earning and redeeming reward points. The access and distribution of reward points can also be simplified thanks to this technology, as they can be made available anytime and anywhere.
Current Examples of Blockchain in the Travel Industry
Although blockchain does have unlimited potential for future technologies, it is already being implemented in many businesses today:
- LockChain – This is a marketplace that allows individuals and businesses to rent out their spaces and property. Thanks to the decentralized nature that eliminates the middlemen, there is no commission fee charged. This is a business that can potentially disrupt the industry and challenge companies like Airbnb, Booking.com, etc.
- TUI – Tourism company TUI can maintain and manage inventory through the use of blockchain. TUI is one of the few mainstream tourism companies to fully commit to the tech and is now seeing the benefits.
- Trippki – As mentioned earlier, loyalty programs are the cornerstone of any good hospitality company. Trippki offer TRIP tokens to users and is now being powered by blockchain technology. Once again, since there is no third party involved, there is a direct connection between the company and its consumers.
- ShoCard – One of the uses of blockchain is in the identity management space, which is where ShoCard has been implemented. Customer ID details can be uploaded and then shared or retrieved at any time to verify their identity. This not only helps with security but is also very convenient and efficient.
Though these are just a few examples of blockchain’s potential, there is so much more to come. Since it is a recent technological advancement, we have only been able to scratch the tip of this potential iceberg. According to some forecasts, the global blockchain market is expected to be worth US$20 billion by 2024. With new industries and new use cases coming up every day, it won’t be long before most of the consumer base starts interacting with this technology on their travels and beyond.
Author’s note: Harsh Arora is a proud father of four rescue dogs and a leopard gecko. Besides being a full-time dog father, he is a freelance content writer/blogger and a massage expert who is skilled in using the best massage gun.