Blockchain technology represents the area where business ideas for small and medium-sized startups grow faster than anywhere else. Every year brings thousands of highly promising startup projects to the stage, which hail from various industries, including tourism.
A record 22.1 billion of venture capital has been invested in tech startups in the first quarter of 2018, with several budding travel-oriented projects on the list. This number has grown to 49% if to compare with equal timing last year, according to CB Insights.
As a huge steadily growing market, the capacity of which will reach 12.3 trillion dollars by the end of 2020. Tourism attracts more and more ICO projects, and the most remarkable of them are destined to face a wide recognition soon.
As a technology, blockchain has already found implementation in finance, medicine, banking, and healthcare. For now, its core will be empowering brands involved in tourism to grow their competitive advantages: eliminate intermediaries, reduce fraud, personify experience, and improve the quality of services.
1. Direct marketplace for home rentals
The Bee Token is the first decentralized network that enables finding temporary housing rental services directly without commissions or inflated prices.
Their Beenest platform is based on Ethereum protocols which connect the property owners and tourists who want to rent housing directly. The Bee Token protocol aims to eliminate the third-party commissions typically standing in between rent giver and housing seeker. Furthermore, if both tourists and apartment owners will have BEE tokens, neither of them will have to pay commissions to Beenest platform for transactions.
Since this project is based on a decentralized ledger, all operations will be completely transparent and available to platform users. The platform will also include the data considering participants: addresses/accounts and averaging reputation score including evaluation ratings for hosts and guests.
Recently, Beenest has prepared the protocols for automatic resolution of disputes as well as reputation rating management system for users. The first version based on Ethereum was launched in January 2018.
2. Tourism without intermediaries
Winding Tree is a decentralized network for service distribution inside the spectrum of various tourism services. Built on the basis of Ethereum, the project is aimed to increase the efficiency and convenience of the buyer-seller interaction utilizing smart contracts.
Similar to Beenest platform, Winding Tree project aims to eliminate intermediaries, by creating a platform for direct interaction between service providers (hotels, airlines, etc.), and service sellers (travel agencies).
Suppliers will be able to post information about their services without commissions, and buyers will be able to make purchases quickly and conveniently. In addition, the participants will be able to track the activities and the effectiveness of their partners inside the ecosystem. In the long run, such levels of transparency should create conditions for perfect competition, while significantly increasing the efficiency and quality of services.
Winding Tree is designed as a public initiative project. It does not plan to charge for services, however, it only asks for a small commission to in order to maintain the computing network.
3. Individual experience for every traveler
Inside the focus of MeetnGreetMe project are travelers and their personal journey experiences. The creators plan to increase the convenience and simplify travel services delivery. Introducing the global platform where every traveler can receive concierge services tailored to their needs and budget.
The fundamental idea behind the project is to create a community that will unite global travelers and locals within a single ecosystem. The trusted relationships between different parties and effective reward system for certain actions will be guaranteed by smart contracts.
MeetnGreetMe is already working as a service platform that connects people from more than 200 cities across the world. The theory is that local communities can provide travelers with more diverse and immersive experiences than traditional tours. This way has been proven to be right.
In order to elevate the existing project on the brand-new level of quality, and ensure the safety of operations it will be merged with blockchain. The interactions, calculations, and transactions within the ecosystem will be performed using the WelcomeСoin (WEL) utility token, that is supported by the real services delivered on MeetnGreetMe.
4. Universal traveler’s currency
Travelflex plans to offer users a comprehensive solution that increases convenience of travelling and reduces the costs associated with transactions during journeys. The service, however, will be available for any payments, not only travel-related.
Travelflex application is a social application with an extensive built-in functionality that helps solve typical traveler’s problems. It enables transactions with lower commissions, ensures safe storage of funds, and convenient communication via social networks.
The traveler’s currency will be based on DAG algorithm, which according to the creators, will process up to 1400 transactions per second, which is much faster than, for instance, PayPal (193 transactions) or Bitcoin and Ether — (2 and 20 transactions per second) transactions.
Currently, Travelflex connects new partners among banks, hotels, and airlines. This is the main priority for the next two years of project development. The reputable names on the list of collaborators, however, can be already found on their website, which features
Agoda, Booking.com, British AirWays, Emirates, Hilton, and other renown service providers.
5. Trust between service providers
Performance marketing is an effective mechanism that enables tour brands to measure KPI of their ad campaigns, defines the cost of each call, orders, and the final costs of attracting the customer. As a rule, the big data for such analysis they gather with the data platforms. The integration of such with programmatic ad platforms provide an opportunity to serve highly targeted individualized advertising.
It was revealed, however, that programmatic advertising still has many loopholes for scammers and is plagued with uneven money distribution among parties as each programmatic chain participant defines commissions individually.
Since Blockchain is known for its transparency and fraud-resistance, many startups build their projects on utility tokens for internal transactions. This helped to completely remove intermediaries, which many of those are regularly represented on TechCrunch Startup Alley.
The other initiatives include programmatic blockchain-based ad platforms, that have already gained adoption among many publishers and advertisers. Technically, they work like programmatic ad platforms, but the transactions in it are arranged into the public ledger blocks that form the incorruptible chain. This way, supply and demand partners defend themselves from fraud, cut intermediaries such as traffic quality arbitrators, and audit all commissions and operations without having to bother their partners.
To sum up
The travel industry has been stagnant for many years, that’s why it has accumulated way too many issues related to service monopolization and insufficient transparency. A couple of big industry players oftentimes control access to the best flights, hotels, and tour offerings, but with blockchain-based innovations coming to the scene in 2018, the situation is bound to change.
Blockchain technology is transparent and secure by design. This will help to decentralize services and remove budget-consuming intermediaries, thereby naturally reducing the cost of services, and increasing their quality.