Blockchain technology is set to revolutionize every aspect of our lives, from the way we take care of our finances to the way we engage with our favorite artists and musicians. And travel is no exception. Now that blockchain is in the spotlight, the travel and hospitality industry is looking into different ways to leverage this technology.
The potential of blockchain in the travel industry
Blockchain’s peer-to-peer nature and its security, immutability, and traceability features make the technology an attractive alternative to level up the travel experience of passengers. It can bring safety and transparency to several critical touchpoints and optimize processes and supply chains.
Here’s what you can expect for your future trips:
1. Seamless baggage management
Misplacing a suitcase is probably the number one nightmare of the average traveler. The mere thought of having to deal with the airline for days to trace and get back all your stuff —if you’re lucky— is quite irritating.
Each airline has its own system to track suitcases, but a decentralized database could help companies share tracking data more easily, allowing them —and maybe even passengers!— to know where suitcases are at all times, especially during international flights or connection flights where luggage changes hands several times. This would significantly improve the passenger experience and streamline tracking processes for companies, freeing up their valuable time so they can focus on other aspects of their customers’ journey.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and IBM teamed up with other major players in the industry to develop an end‑to‑end baggage tracking solution. They tested it and concluded that a blockchain-powered platform can be a cost-effective way for travel stakeholders to share data in real time.
2. Secure and transparent payments
The applications of blockchain when it comes to payments in the travel and hospitality industry could range from easier and more secure transactions to the use of cryptocurrency.
A blockchain-based solution translates into more secure and traceable payments, given that all transactions are registered as blocks in the chain and cannot be modified or tampered with. This, combined with the decentralized nature of this technology, would rid travelers of the major companies that dominate airfare and hotel bookings.
Winding Tree, for example, is a company based in Switzerland that uses “blockchain technology to enable a fair and competitive travel distribution market.” The company’s decentralized travel marketplace connects passengers directly with providers, optimizing processes and enabling greater customer knowledge and trust.
Also, cryptocurrencies can bring great value to the table in terms of exchange rates abroad. Making payments with crypto through the blockchain can make a huge difference when it comes to transactions in foreign countries, freeing travelers from significant delays and the volatility of foreign currencies.
3. Loyalty programs
The use of blockchain technology could greatly benefit customer loyalty programs as well. Imagine how fast reward points could be accredited to your account once you make a payment at a hotel or travel agency. There would be no need to wait for days to see and use your new points. You can enjoy them while you’re on your vacation!
Loyyal, founded in 2014, is one of the earliest developers of blockchain-based loyalty and rewards solutions. The company has developed a platform that uses blockchain and smart contract technology to “offer brands an innovative way to unlock the billions of dollars in value held captive in legacy loyalty programs today.” Thanks to the platform, companies can scale their loyalty and rewards programs and expand their network of partners, all while providing a more seamless and pleasant experience to customers.
Change is afoot
If used correctly, blockchain technology can be an absolute game-changer for the travel and hospitality industry. Traveling should be cost-effective and enjoyable, and blockchain-powered solutions with decentralization and security at their core can provide both travelers and companies with the modern and seamless experience they are expecting.
So, pack your bags and step into the future of travel with blockchain!