Travelport and IBM test blockchain to improve distribution and settlement for tours and activities
Travelport will apply blockchain to specific areas, including large hotels and cruise ports in tourist destinations.
Following a successful proof of concept study done in partnership with IBM, Travelport is developing a private blockchain to simplify, expedite and validate the distribution and settlement of tours and activities.
Within the next six months, Travelport chief architect Mike Croucher says it will launch a minimum viable product, possibly with a focus on tours and activities provided in cruise ports or through large hotels in a tourist destination.
Croucher says as travelers’ interest in unique experiences has grown in recent years, it has become clear that traditional distribution channels do not suit this sector, which has a high percentage of small, independent suppliers.
“The cost for us to put content onto our system takes quite a lot of work - the expense of surfacing it and then the expense of settlement, managing contracts. What we saw with the opportunity of blockchain is, could this actually solve this long-tail content in a different way?”
And on the other side of the equation, he says, is the need to help travelers discover and trust experiences from small, local suppliers.
To ensure that the experiences available through this blockchain are trustworthy – that they actually exist and are of suitable quality – Travelport will require every piece of content, every walking tour or fishing expedition for example, be endorsed by a person or entity in the local market.
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