Travel industry making big splash into crypto

Robert Hoogendoorn
Aug 20 · 2 min read

Crypto and blockchain are making big moves into the travel industry. The CEO of Booking.com believes that the growth of crypto in the travel industry will mainly be something the European and Asian markets, which rely less on credit cards compared with the U.S. market. But IBM has other plans, as its blockchain arm is launching a pilot for a blockchain-powered travel platform.

Without mentioning any specific cryptocurrencies Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking.com, stated in an interview with Skift.com that additional payment systems to the platform need to be seamless. Fogel believes that blockchain-based currencies are here to stay and will push away our traditional money system.

IBM wants to use blockchain to create more trust between parties involved in the travel business. Their system should tell all parties who is getting which share. By using a distributed ledger, agencies and hotels can have continuously accurate views of bookings and commission status. IBM Services, Travelport, and BCD Travel are now working together to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) to streamline the commission process between BCD and three high profile hotel chains. The names of these chains have not been made public.

Booking.com was already on-board with Facebook’s Libra stablecoin, and it’s likely not the last crypto project for the booking platform. Booking.com and Hotels.com are already included in the Lolli reward program. Through Lolli online shoppers can get a small percentage of their money back in Bitcoin. Booking isn’t the only one keeping their eyes on cryptocurrencies. Earlier this year the biggest UK business travel company announced it would allow clients to pay using bitcoin.

Booking.com needs to keep innovating itself. The company is the biggest online hotel booking platform in the world, but blockchain-powered alternatives try to gain an organizational advantage over the booking behemoth. Travala and Locktrip are cutting out middlemen, saving money on hotel bookings by using automated systems and smart contracts. Locktrip recently also announced that they are combining flight tickets and hotel bookings into their platform. Other companies, like Accenture, are involved in creation digital travel identification systems, and creating communication systems that would reduce lines and waiting times at airports.


Originally published at NEDEROB.

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