I’ve previously explored a number of entrants to the travel booking space that leverage blockchain technologies. Since then, several other companies have entered this market.
My analysis suggests there are 5 key areas where blockchain can play a role in providing a competitive advantage for these companies.
All new entrants are leveraging Smart Contracts in some way, which is a great opportunity to really streamline peer to peer transactions and effectively cut out the middleman – which is the OTA. This really is a case of a technology that makes the payments process so much easier and faster. In fact, the Smart Trip Platform is based entirely on smart contracts.
Cryptotokens, or floating digital currencies are becoming commonplace in this space. Companies such as Travala, KeyoCoin and GOeureka are already using them to reward consumers for taking actions within their platforms. The general expectation is that as the consumer base grows, the more demand is created for the token and the higher the price will rise. This will benefit the consumer, but also benefit the business, because they are holding large reserves of their own cryptotokens.
The utility of these cryptotokens is generally superior to loyalty points – they are easily tradeable, shareable, don’t expire and can span borders, making them highly attractive in the travel space.
Right now, whenever you book via a traditional OTA, they own your data.
What blockchain will allow consumers to do is maintain ownership of their data, securely stored in a blockchain wallet. They can choose to share it with specific brands, for a reward, of course.
The misuse of data by companies and the protection of consumer data has certainly been underscored by the introduction of the GDPR in Europe.
Once data is stored securely and used effectively, hyper personalisation will follow. Because platforms such as KeyoCoin and Trippki are committed to giving hotels and other travel providers an opportunity to establish that direct relationship with the consumer, these merchants can now send offers direct.
The consumer can choose what to view, what offer to take advantage of, and what data to share, while being incentivised with a cryptotoken reward. No middlemen, no hassles, just direct and highly personalised marketing. This is what consumers want and it’s what these blockchain travel companies can deliver.
The last thing is security. Payment via cryptocurrencies, which all new platforms accept, means that consumers would no longer have to expose their credit card information to 3rd parties. For some context, there was $30b worth of credit card fraud worldwide in 2018, a staggering number indeed.
For merchants, cryptocurrency payments also hold the benefit of near real time settlement into the fiat currency of their country, meaning they can access revenue much quicker.
Max Savransky is Loyalty Director of Loyalty & Reward Co, a leading loyalty consulting firm based in Sydney. He has 10 years’ experience within the loyalty industry including roles at Mastercard Loyalty (Pinpoint), Silverneedle (Next & Sage Hotels) and Pureprofile. As Loyalty & CRM Manager at HOYTS, he launched the highly successful partnership with Qantas Frequent Flyer, including a world-first Qantas Points in-store redemption proposition. Max consults on program design, commercial modelling and lifecycle strategy, across both traditional and blockchain loyalty projects.
Max is an active cryptocurrency trader and a key contributor to www.blockchainloyalty.io, a global resource centre for everything blockchain loyalty.