Excerpt from Reuters
Blockchain technology has the potential to shake up the travel industry by giving airlines and hotels a way to bypass controlling intermediaries like Expedia (EXPE.O) or Amadeus (AMA.MC) and gain better access to customer data.
Major players including Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and citizenM hotels are partnering with startups and talking to large corporate clients about whether they can do group bookings via blockchain instead of using middlemen, who charge up to 25 percent of ticket or room prices in fees.
Blockchain, which functions as an online record-keeping system maintained by a group of peers rather than a central agency or authority, also offers new business opportunities in tracking bags and flight delays.
Because transaction data is openly available and not controlled by any one party, blockchain offers an opportunity to build new platforms that can connect travel providers and customers more directly and replace decades-old technology.
"We see a lot of business potential from the very nature of blockchain being decentralized by construction, removing the middleman by design. That looks very fruitful potentially," Xavier Lagardere, head of distribution at Lufthansa Group Hub Airlines told Reuters.
The travel industry joins financial, mining, energy trading firms and others in looking at the potential for blockchain technology when it comes to simplifying processes, cutting out middlemen or tracking goods.
One travel blockchain company that has partnered with major players including Lufthansa, Air New Zealand (AIR.NZ) and Netherlands-based citizenM hotels, is Swiss non-profit Winding Tree, whose distribution platform is so far targeting companies rather than consumers.
It allows airlines and hotels to publish available inventory to customers without needing systems that aggregate data on flights and rooms, and could therefore allow them to avoid the fees they currently pay for the use of such systems.
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