Travolution Summit 2023: 'Blockchain will simplify travel as Tesla did the car'

Travolution Summit 2023: 'Blockchain will simplify travel as Tesla did the car'

Chain4Travel head of business development, Anke Hsu, presented its vision for a decentralised community network of travel companies that will revolutionise how travel products are distributed and sold

Blockchain will simplify the travel industry’s complex web of fragmented technologies in much the same way as Tesla has simplified the motor vehicle, the Travolution Summit was told.

Anke Hsu, head of business development at Chain4Travel, said one connection to a single network can supply retailers with all the product and content they need while verifying each transaction.

Chain4Travel is building the Camino blockchain network specifically for the travel industry and aims to launch its main net within weeks following the successful introduction of a test net last year.

Hsu said blockchain has the potential to do away with the many product APIs and aggregators travel firms have to integrate with which add costs to the distribution and retail of travel products.

And she said it will support new business models like C2C where consumers can trade products stored on the network as immutable digital assets, opening new revenue opportunities to suppliers.

“Today we talk about B2B, and we know and B2C, but now we can talk about C2C and secondary markets.

“Customers that cannot travel can sell their trip to another customer or even back to the original company. With smart contracts you can define the conditions about how that can be sold.

“This is possible now with the enablement of blockchain and digital assets that are protected.

“Web 3.0 is all about read, write and own and blockchain is the enabling technology because for the first time you can actually protect digital assets with a smart contract.

“In the travel industry we have a lot of data. Every trip is a digital asset until departure. For us it’s very important that we can protect those digital assets.

“Why is that important? We can trade. And we can actually decide whether we want to share anything of our identity.

“What was missing in Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 is the ownership of our contributions. The big platforms [like Twitter, Google and Facebook] they make the money with our data.”

Hus added: “In tourism everything is on a leash, we have a lot of APIs a lot of data going to different pools, to different distribution systems a lot of ways to connect, a lot of aggregators.

“Mostly aggregators don’t have all the content you want to have. It’s impossible to sell, for example, small ancillaries because it’s too complex to connect.  

“With blockchain it could be very different. You have, in the network, the possibility to connect with your offers.

“Imagine a lake where you throw your offers in and everybody can fish for the offers they want as a tour operator with just one connection to the network. Sell to may or buy to many.”

Chain4Travel has won the support of 120 travel companies including major players like Lufthansa, Tui and Der Touristik.

But Hsu said the concept is to give sector players of all sizes equal say on how the network develops and the transactions it validates.  

“We have designed the blockchain so the smaller and medium sized companies have the same voice, the same vote on decisions as the big companies. Unique for the whole industry,” she said.

Hsu added: “It’s not another app, it’s an endeavour to actually move away from the legacy systems we have and establish a joint shared infrastructure where every travel company can take part in.”

With blockchain and smart contracts travel will be able to react instantly to disruption with any delay sparking the terms in a smart contract and initiating a rebooking.

It will also mean compensation for delays can be paid directly and instantly to the customer improving service and satisfaction levels.