What really is this blockchain technology?
Blockchain is a technology which stores transactions that a particular network produces. It is expressly given the “(block)(chain)” because, it stores transactions in a chain of blocks, which is encrypted. This type of process ensures that the data stored on the blockchain is secure, transparent, traceable and unchangeable.
Advantages and applications of blockchain that could benefit the tourism industry
The blockchain technology uses cryptography techniques to secure the transactions inside a block. Hence, it assures data safety.
The blockchain algorithm is designed such that nobody can modify the content inside the blocks.
There is no single entity that has the power to control the blockchain network completely. Blockchain is a distributed ledger, where the transactions are distributed throughout the nodes in the network.
These are contracts that get handled by the blockchain technology, which enable processes without the need of middlemen (such as banks, notaries or other entities). This reduces cost as well as the processing time.
A single digital identity
Many companies are working on projects based on digital identification to retrieve individuals’ data all in one place. For example, Alastria is a project where the system simplifies the tourism operations and tasks to be completed and has information available about an individual in one place.
Cryptocurrencies are virtual coins that can be exchanged just like any traditional currency without the control of government or financial institutions. And, all these exchanges are recorded in the blockchain network. Hence, maintaining transparency.
Blockchain in the Tourism Industry
Imagine going to the airport and directly boarding a flight without having to line up or verify your passport details. With the booming blockchain technology, these dream scenarios may not be surprising if it comes to reality in the future.
As discussed, blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrency and smart cards, can bring a massive impact on the industries across the board. Companies with a structure requiring access to trustworthy data can leverage the capability of blockchain.
The travel and tourism industry is an excellent example for the same, as airlines and hotels are practically databases in themselves. They store secure customers’ data such as passport, credit card information, and other identification details.
The combination of blockchain and Tourism can turn out to be seamlessly advantageous, as this technology can offer more security and transparency to critical touchpoints. For example, let’s consider the case of a travel agency. For booking flights or hotels for a customer, the agency has to send the information to different firms, which is inaccessible to the customer. However, with the implementation of blockchain, this operation would become more secure and transparent, as the customers can track the complete process. Hence, this increases the trust among the involved parties.
Real-life examples of blockchain in the tourism industry
The Winding tree is a non-profit platform that aims to create an open-source blockchain, which supports a decentralised travel industry. In crux, it wants firms like Expedia, Airbnb, and Priceline out of the picture, meaning it does not want the customers to pay them for their travel arrangements.
The only fees levied on the winding tree platform are the transaction costs to execute contracts, which fund miners. And, this fee is nowhere comparable to the fees charged by the third-party travel agencies.
Pedro Anderson, the Founder of Winding Tree, told that:
“Today’s travel distribution architecture is extremely inefficient, but the suppliers and intermediaries are able to offset all costs on the consumer. Blockchain allows these unnecessary costs to be eliminated entirely. With true transparency and competition, blockchain makes travel cheaper for travellers and more profitable for suppliers. It’s a win-win scenario.”
ShoCard and SITA
ShoCard and SITA have intended to revolutionise the tourism industry through identity management. Though the project is still in its early stages, it aims to ease the identification process in airport checkouts and hotels.
This project aspires to create loyalty programmes using blockchain.
Loyalty programmes in the travel industry suffer quite a lot of problems. The two major issues being its scale and its flexibility. The rewards are not linked to many hotels and destinations, and there is no flexibility in how a customer wants to redeem their rewards. So, Trippki is looking to change these things by bringing in blockchain into the tourism industry.
The Trippki community, as experts in the tourism (hotel) industry, were thoroughly familiar with the negative impacts being created by the booking platform and the shortcomings of guest programmes. As this community was a big-time follower of blockchain and crypto, they were aware of the power of blockchain and the functionality of utility tokens which fuels the rewards programme.
The working was simple. Every guest gets a wallet, who is rewarded with the TRIP token as soon they check out from the hotel. Also, these tokens do not have an expiry date and are redeemable at any time.
Above are some of the real-life examples where blockchain has its footprint in the tourism industry as well. However, there are many more applications of this technology in the tourism industry.
Achievable blockchain applications in the tourism industry
Given all the features of blockchain, we can point out some applications of this technology in the tourism industry.
Convenient, safe and traceable payments
Making payments with cryptocurrency will be much secure and safe than the traditional currency. Also, as it’s decentralised, there won’t be any intermediary who can intervene and delay the payment.
Moreover, if travelling abroad, we no longer need to exchange currency currencies as cryptocurrencies are universally the same.
Whenever we plan a trip, we tend to read its reviews. However, we cannot assure if the review was legit or fake. This can be misleading to the customers. With blockchain, all the information that is displayed on the network is public, dependable, and fully transparent. Therefore, it increases the customer’s trust.
With the implementation of blockchain technology in the tourism industry, we can track our exact baggage location once we say cheerio to the luggage at the check-in counter.
The capabilities of blockchain are countless, and the travel industry is just the beginning of its ability. All great things take time. Same is the case with blockchain as well. Changes will take time, but the wait will be worth it because this technology has the potential to rule the future world.