Written by Jonny Fry
Writers linkdin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonnyfry/

The holiday industry employs more people than any other industry globally and, as reported in City.AM: “According to World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) data, the sector’s contribution to the global economy could reach up to $8.6 trillion in 2022”. So, with the summer holidays looming large, together with giving up our staycations and journeying off to far flung places around the world after over two years of pandemic lockdowns, you may not realise it but blockchain technology is changing the travel industry. 

As with many other sectors, the harnessing of blockchain technology is improving and transforming the holiday and travel industry. Blockchains are being used to build decentralised platforms which help solve some of the holiday industry’s challenges and provide alternative processes and procedures to using traditional travel agencies. As blockchain-powered platforms become more accepted and widely adopted, blockchains are set to alter the way holidays are booked and the way in which holiday rentals are managed. As with so many other industries, blockchain technology can bring greater transparency and security in the travel industry by storing data in a decentralised form. This means data is held using cryptographic security protocols and can enable those booking travel and/or those offering accommodation (as well as agents, airlines, car rental firms etc.) access to travel bookings and plans 24/7. This short YouTube offers an array of different ways blockchain technology can be used in this industry.  



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Source: YouTube

When booking a holiday, more often than not personal and confidential information about a traveller - such as passports details, credit card numbers, etc - are passed between various companies. Blockchain technology enables such data to be accessible more securely on a permissioned basis. Blockchains can utilise smart contracts to ensure payments are made using digital currencies in a fast, secure and most cost-effective manner in pre-agreed time, thereby improving the level of trust amongst the various parties.

Different ways blockchain technology is being used in the travel sector


Source: Researchgate

Uses of blockchain 

  • tracking luggage - over the course of the journey, travellers' luggage may change hands multiple times. Using a decentralised database makes sharing and tracking data between companies easier. Blockchain technology can bring transparency to track and trace the movement of luggage.

  • payments - there is a demand for new forms of payments and alternative ways to purchase travel. Being able to use cryptocurrencies is surely advantageous; they make simple, fast, secure and traceable payments possible. Also, they have lower processing fees than traditional currencies - especially for international payments. 

  • identification services - checking in at airports and ports consumes both time and energy. With the great advancement in technology over the last few years, it would be expected that such conventional but important processes to have improved - yet we still have to wait in-line to have our IDs checked and scanned. Identification services are fundamental for the travel industry, and a way to ensure it is problem-free is by adopting blockchains to store information. Blockchain technology can drastically reduce both check-in times and queues in airports (as well as those long delays when renting a car) by replacing the need to share paper-based documents such as ID cards, passports and driving licenses with something digital - such as fingerprint or retina scanning - whereby making it securer, easier and faster. 

  • improving loyalty schemes - to strengthen the interest and commitment of customers most travel companies run customer loyalty schemes. Blockchains can help to simplify loyalty programs, thereby allowing customers to access information more easily as regards their loyalty points. Tokens serve as rewards, given and distributed by the schemes, and blockchains can help in this process by helping to eliminate fraud in the processes.

Blockchain-enabled holiday rentals

There are various holiday rental booking sites using blockchain technology, such as  

LockChain, BeeToken/Beenest, Winding Tree, TUI Bed-Swap, Webjet, Sandblock and TravelChain. Companies such as LockTrip and Travala have also developed blockchain-powered booking platforms, allowing guests to book rooms directly from accommodation providers.

So, blockchain is a powerful, technological force that promises to change the travel industry’s status quo and the holiday experience. It has many use cases and advantages which make it easily accepted in the industry. However, its adoption and use are still in the early stages but, given the size of the industry and the number of people this sector employs, many more applications are unsurprisingly being trialled and developed.