Blockchain and the Future of Online Distribution.
Author: André Baljeu | Founder techtalk.travel
Blockchain and AI have been frequently used buzzwords in our circles this year. Yet for a lot of us there is still fog hanging over their practicality, and to what extent the hospitality and travel industries will apply these technologies.
I think it is fair to say that Blockchain will have the ability to decentralise our industry, eventually removing the middle man out of the equation when it comes to online distribution. Potentially saving hotels on those ever rising commissions, now up to 25%.
Marriott have made it clear they're negotiating their commission rates. Great for Marriott, they can use their global muscle to influence that conversation. Will the trickle down effect of this have an impact on the smaller groups and independents once the dust has settled?
With Blockchain, hotels and airlines are seeing the potential financial benefits, some acting now, others opting to sit a little longer to wait and see. No doubt the early adopters will pave the way in their respective sectors. I think we all should be interested in how the global tech players and hotel brands apply Blockchain into their environments and to what extent.
The global tech companies and hotel brands could definitely set the foundation as to how Blockchain will be applied, especially in online distribution. If the smaller hotel groups and independents don't get a seat at the table and have a say to its adoption, they may find themselves in a position that does not suit them. Similar to their current dynamic with the major OTAs.
Our colleagues on the travel side of the industry, Swiss Air, Lufthansa and Air New Zealand are implementing Blockchain technology into their ecosystems. Partnering with the folks at Winding Tree, who's initial approach seems to be focussing on the company, as opposed to the consumer.
On the hotel side companies like Citizen M and Choice Hotels are seen to be taking the lead. I've read that together with Winding Tree, Citizen M are testing this technology in support of their Group Bookings.
There is also AQUA, a team looking to use Blockchain and Machine Learning as a possible disrupter in the hotel space. Their approach seems to be helping hotels increase revenues via personalised offerings to guests, whilst increasing operational efficiency.
What our peers think.
In our interview with Rajesh Vohra we raise the possibility of how Blockchain could potentially be the distribution network / system of the future. i.e. The next GDS of our industry. To some, it is a bold statement saying the industry will no longer use the current GDS platforms we have used for the last 40+ years.
The distribution landscape in five years from now may very well show a re-aligned playing field after the adoption of Blockchain. I'm looking forward to seeing how that unfolds and how all hotels, most likely led by the chains, will implement Blockchain to streamline their distributions channels financially and operationally.
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