A new dawn for the Global Hotel Industry — Hotel bookings on the BlockChain
This is a global ‘call-out’ to all in the Hotel Industry. Your industry, the concept of providing shelter, food and a safe place to rest, is perhaps the oldest industry in the World. It appears to me, an observer of the industry’s services model, the industry has changed over the past two decades, seeing the introduction of aggregating web service providers offering an aggregation model of convenience, competition, cost and mutual verification. As the industry continues to grow, the Hotelier, the bastion of rest, recuperation and safe harbor has seen a deterioration of their direct customer relationship. With the loss of direct control of the customer relationship, the hotel industry seems set to continue to be treated as the ‘recalcitrant child’ in the room by the inter-mediating and controlling online travel agent (OTA) services. There is a lot to be said for a direct customer relationship, and if that most valuable relationship is lost, more to be done to re-establish and retain the relationship if lost.
The problem — inter-mediating middlemen who have lost their way
Approximately two decades ago, the travel, hotel and leisure industry saw the emergence of a number of early platform architectures promising to aggregate a disjointed industry online offering around a single ‘Platform as a Service’ (PaaS), online travel agency, for the benefit and ease of the global customer. Initially, the new OTA aggregation platforms had a positive effect for customers, seeing an increase in competition for the customer’s business resulting in hoteliers and others in the leisure industries engage in price discounts and service level upgrades, in an endeavor to increase their market share. I believe this was the certainly the case at the emergence of the aggregating OTA industry, seeing customers win for price, choice and service level support. So what’s to complain about?
I believe most market incentivised ‘benevolent behaviour’ does not continue past the point, where the organisation concerned, has taught the market, new user market behaviour and has won the desired level of market share. The OTA industry has by stealth and subterfuge, subjugated the hotel booking industry. This customer focused business initially, morphed into something less desirable, over time. The change I speak of is illustrated in the high levels of commission and fees now charged by the collective OTA’s. These fees may be levied against the Hotelier however these exorbitant charges must be passed on to the consumer, in higher room prices or lower service levels. As the Hotelier is concerned with providing the guest an excellent valued experience, this is not a position most Hoteliers appreciate being held to. This may have gone by unnoticed, by most of us, but it has been noticed by a few, and of those few, fewer less will do something positive to change the industry in favour of the customer and the direct service provider, in this case the Hotelier.
The BlockChain and development of a ‘smart contract’ as an instrument of control, like a private key, allows for the writing of a contract where, upon a definable outcome, customers, community and platform share the value appreciation of the business. Having the contract written, stored and executed to the BlockChain means a perennial record that cannot be changed, distorted, ameliorated or destroyed. This level of unambiguous transparency is a defining feature of the BlockChain architecture and is definitive of the desire, intent and goal of the Coze team, that is to say, to put the control and value back with the Hoteliers over the detached OTA’s, as a fairer distribution of growing value within the Hotel Booking space for the Hotelier, customer and community participants.
Not all platforms are created equal
Just like everything else, the platform economics space is evolving, maturing, and becoming wider in scope. This maturation does not detract from how disruptive the architecture can be, in fact, greater scope defines more varied possibilities today, visa vis what was possible, yesterday. I am a firm believer great disruption never occurs as a result of a single technology acting alone. True disruption is always a convergence of technological know-how and process and change to dominant business model, manifested in an act or acts of speciation, of the ‘unique units of familiarity’ into something new, exciting, disruptive, and disrespectful of the incumbents. Let me add some colour, contrast and content in respect of this very strong assertion!
FaceBook (FB), a well-known social platform, offered a platform architecture, in the sense that it aggregated content from us all, and using a set of digital tools, produced a framework for sharing our collective life stories. Facebook understood the value of content (data) and our collective need, as human beings, to be more and more interactive in our online communication. The FB framework acted as a social networking meeting-place, where user owned and created content was uploaded against an account profile. This content was given away by us all for free, and, via the use of clever algorithms, enabled the building of an interactive storyboard or our lives, and arguably our futures.
Facebook cleverly leveraged what interests all of us the most, ourselves, to create a hydra-headed platform built around our personal data of wants, desires, dreams, habits, likes, dislikes, prejudices and fears. Although FaceBook disrupted many traditional industry gatekeepers and certainly redefined the nature and value of the ‘user’ account they did not act in favour of us all.
Placing the customer relationship back with the service provider
Over the past 2 decades, the OTA’s have become intermediary to booking accommodation. With this digital aggregation OTA’s have collectively wrestled the direct customer relationship from the service provider, to reside with them. They are not charged with providing the customer experience. Their role has been to aggregate the individual accommodation offers into an easy to navigate online platform. Today, user habit and customer behaviour is firmly entrenched in favour of the popular OTA’s and they are now able to collect larger service fees and charges for acting as consort between customer and hotel, for the booking process only. Until today the OTA’s have been able to redefine the greater booking industry in the image of themselves. When this occurs customer behaviour is extrapolated outside typical models and means of customer price surveillance as fees and charges are levied on the customer beyond their locus of knowledge or control.
As a consumer of travel services, I have directly experienced this ambiguous disenfranchising customer experience. I required a change to a booking last minute, when I sort some flexibility by my service provider I was told, nothing could be done as my booking was through the sinecure OTA and not with the actual provider of the service. No doubt many of us have experienced this frustration at the loss of management and control over of my own service experience. This also appeared embarrassing for the Hotelier, wanting to acquiesce with his guest’s simple request and not having the flexibility or the margin to do so! So what about intermediation? Intermediation allows for business to concentrate on their core competencies and competitive advantages and allows others, 3rd parties to develop, with a collaborative business intent to providing a better way to offer that part of the value proposition and customer on-ramping. The architecture of intermediation is not broken but it appears to me the OTA’s model of that intermediation is outdated, protectionist, siloed and closed. Today, with thanks to Satoshi Nakamoto and his revolutionary distributed ledger technology, things can be done in a more transparent, fair, democratised, and inclusive matter where all that participate in the new business model can share in the value, opportunity and sense of community around platform where hidden fees and charges have no place to hide.
The growing value of data — incentivising the direct customer relationship
The Facebook comment above was made as an example of an aggregating platform not sharing the value of content with those that helped create the value proposition. FaceBook is a company understanding, enlarging and digitizing the value of the social network for the value of their own monetizing strategy. The World now is a little different from the founding days of FaceBook. New start-ups are born of open source software, communities of volunteers who share in the nuance value proposition by mechanisms other than traditional salary payments. Business focus is around horizontal landscapes of opportunity, rather than vertical silos of protection. Collaboration is favoured over gated competition for a non-zero sum game result. Consistent with this ethos the Coze Team are committed to collaboration, community and democratisation seeing a generous incentives scheme institutionalized within the platform and ecosystem environment. Rewards, in the form of Coze utility tokens will be paid for agreed and acknowledged participation in community and promotional activities, service use and support, development, testing, feedback and other valuable content.
Almost without argument, data and its inherent value, is set to soar. The Coze value proposition gives the direct customer relationship back with the service provider, the Hotelier, away from the intermediary, OTA. Via the Coze platform architecture the customer is placed, face to face with the hotel service provider. This nexus of customer and service provider enables a closer relationship where trust and loyalty is value just as much as price. Via the Coze unique utility token (SVN) the Hotel industry shares value with the hotel customer and community in a direct symbiotic relationship, without leakage from the intermediator. This is a relationship definitive of a democratisation of the Hotel Booking industry ‘Platform as a Service’ and why the Coze offer will resonate with all who learn of it, use it, participate and partake in its value.
The Team at Coze are determined to see a restoration of traditional relationships between service and service provider. An environment where excellence in service rewards the service provider and loyalty is rewarded with service upgrades, discounts and other advantages by the service provider directly. A rewriting of the relationship where the two parties to the relationship are the parties charged with further incentivising the relationship in an open transparent and empowering manner.
The Coze token is decentralised, censorship resistant, borderless and neutral. The tokenisation of the Hotel booking industry is perhaps a harbinger, the first step towards and a greater push towards sensible decentralisation of leisure, both personal and business orientated.This seems like the sensible first step to re-right a past wrong. A wrong where an intermediary has become familiar with the status quo and now hides behind a centralised, closed and protected architecture, a cloister of secrete fees and charges, changing the experience for both the Hotelier and the customer alike.
As Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave this life transforming gift to mankind and suffered great torture for his act of support for mankind; I invite you all to have a look at the Coze ICO offer here and see how the Coze team are set to revolutionize the hotel booking industry for the benefit of industry and customer alike. Much more to come, please stayed tuned!
I am an experienced Senior Manager, Innovator and SaaS Entrepreneur, a BlockChain technology evangelist and enthusiast. I am proudly an SaaS/BlockChain adviser and contributor to the Coze Team. Please see my LinkedIn Profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-reid-03503012