Blockchain’s travel potential
Amadeus has highlighted so-called “blockchain” technology as one of the potential disruptors of the global travel sector, last month releasing a new paper on the internet-based value exchange system. Dubbed “Blockchain: harnessing its potential in travel,” the document features an overview of the technology along with contributions from blockchain startups Civic and Loyyal. It identifies four potential travel industry opportunities for blockchain, which has “tremendous promise to change the way we can ‘exchange value’ digitally,” Amadeus said.
Possible applications include simplified and more secure passenger identification, improved baggage tracking, more user-friendly loyalty schemes, and simplified payments between travel agencies and airlines. Blockchain’s key uses thus far have been based around internet currencies such as Bitcoin, but Amadeus notes that the same principles could apply to exchanges of travel information, loyalty points or baggage tracking details.
“This paper is designed to help shine a light on the many different areas of the travel industry where blockchain is beginning to have an impact, in addition to providing a window into the wider development of the blockchain industry itself,” said Amadeus head of innovation & ventures, Katherine Grass. “We hope this paper contributes to a greater understanding of blockchain’s potential, and helps inspire the industry-wide collaboration necessary to bring these business cases to life”. The paper is available online at www.amadeus.com/blockchain-whitepaper.
Webjet is another player which has recognised the possibilities afforded by Blockchain, with the company announcing a pilot scheme in partnership with Microsoft to develop an innovative travel industry payments system. Launched twelve months ago, Webjet noted that its Blockchain project had the potential to revolutionise the $100 billion wholesale hotel room sector which in some cases sees five or more transactions taking place through the distribution chain for each booking — creating significant leakage.