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The travel industry is constantly changing due to an increasingly connected world , the globalization of services and the ease with which people can travel. The Internet has been a major catalyst for travel, as services that used to take days and even weeks to meet demand have suddenly been able to do so in minutes. However, the early promise of online travel has been frustrated by various factors that limit the effectiveness of services.
The ease with which large online travel agencies (OTAs) and other intermediaries have settled around services such as hotel bookings, car rentals and thefts means that barriers to Entry are disproportionate. The result is a system that extracts value, adds costs and passes these consequences on to consumers with few alternatives. As the size of the travel market grows, finding a viable solution will help stakeholders maintain their success in the future.
Blockchain began to disrupt this status quo by injecting many of its inherent benefits into the conversation. Already, there are several companies in different sectors of the travel industry that show that the platforms do not need to extract value to be useful and profitable. These emerging solutions have created their own tokens, coins and, in some cases, introduced block chains to build systems that benefit every stakeholder in the equation.
An accommodating blockchain
The hotel industry has slowly been swallowed up in mammoths that are OTAs. While once they focused on travel almost exclusively, websites like Kayak and Orbitz have now absorbed these services and offer comprehensive travel planning. This convenience comes with heavy chains attached. On the one hand, OTAs tend to charge high fees and commissions to hotels seeking to appear on their sites – costs that are passed directly to consumers. In addition, they order a large part of the inventory of hotels and guest rooms.
Enter blockchain-based platforms like GOeureka. The company's platform seeks to decentralize and disintermediate the booking process for hotels with the decentralized blockchain registry and their own token. The goal of platforms like GOeureka is to create a more direct link between travelers and hotels, enabling P2P interaction that goes without commissions, fees and other costs associated with intermediaries and OTAs. By providing direct access, users can also access better prices, hotels can better manage their inventory while providing more transparent services to their customers.
Flying from the decentralized air
Air travel also did not reach the potential it displayed in the early days of the Internet. Despite the adoption of more modern technologies in their services, the reality is that air travel is still complicated and inconvenient for most people. Between lack of connection between air systems, long waits and delays without information and lack of precision in the measurement of departure and arrival times, the industry makes life extremely difficult for consumers .
Airlines do not share travel information with each other, and airports have to do with several disparate sets of data to display to travelers. These data gaps result in missed flights, unplanned delays, loss of baggage and other seemingly minor irritants that can result in multi-million dollar losses for businesses.
This complication helps to increase costs in all areas. provide accurate estimates, create unnecessary bottlenecks and increase prices for reasons that are not always transparent. In this sector, the biggest blockchain priority is the streamlining of the travel process. FlightChain, for example, is a platform developed by SITA and other air travel stakeholders to simplify the end-to-end process. The way this platform (and similar others) works is to unify flight information across the board. Instead of disparate sources and data entries, all the information would be placed in the distributed ledger, thus removing the troublesome data silos in the industry. This unification would mean more specific details, better planning and simplified travel for consumers.
We arrived, now what?
Another less discussed aspect of travel is what happens when travelers reach their destination. Even here, intermediaries and guardians have increased costs and complicated things for users. Companies like TripAdvisor and Yelp have proven to be unreliable at best as they can easily be used to distort public opinion. Consumers looking for local experiences and other fun activities may be disappointed at having to pay too much for false promises, or simply not knowing what to do.
Here, blockchain's ability to connect directly comes into play. With a company like Chozun, which offers events and recommendations for travelers using the blockchain, users can forgo the complex process of wading through criticisms and try to check them. Instead, they can instantly connect with people on platforms that allow service providers to monetize on their own terms, and travelers know they're getting what they pay for.
How to de-stratify the journey
The travel industry is increasingly defined by stratification in several ways. The number of steps required to plan a trip (dealing with airlines, booking hotels, finding activities, navigating airports) makes it inconvenient at best, and infuriating at worst. By implementing the blockchain, however, the industry can begin to remove unnecessary obstacles and strangulation points, streamlining the travel process and offering greater value to everyone involved from consumers to businesses themselves.
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