The next big thing: blockchain in the hospitality industry.
In the hospitality industry, customer service is critical. And that means customer data is vital. As the industry continues to embrace blockchain technology, it will increasingly be able to provide customized experiences and make connections with customers in ways that have never been possible before.
That’s because with blockchain, every single time a guest interacts with a hotel or an airline, their data gets updated in real-time. This makes it easier for companies to customize future interactions and provide better service—and that can mean everything from sending customers a coupon on their birthday to more accurately tailoring their interaction at point-of-sale.
Currently, most hotels and airlines create clients’ profiles by segmenting data into different categories (for instance, demographic information versus travel details). However, those segments are usually siloed into separate systems.
That makes it challenging to put together the correct information at the right time and ensure that customer data isn’t getting lost in translation as it gets passed around between different departments and systems within a company.
Further, blockchain technology in the hospitality industry makes it easy to easily access all of this information in one place at once—both within a company and across industries.
As you see, blockchain is a huge trend in hospitality. Many new startups are here just for that reason.
Airlines and Hotels are Using Blockchain to Verify Identity, Baggage, and Travel Documents
Verifying international travel documents has always been a challenge. With so many different ways of storing and protecting information, it’s hard to know if the information provided is authentic. Airlines and hotels are now turning to blockchain to ensure their data is accurate.
Blockchain enables these companies to verify travel documents in a way that provides immutability, transparency, and security. It also ensures data is stored on an open platform with permanent records that are easy to access.
Some companies have even taken this one step further by using artificial intelligence technology to help airlines and hotels automate their verification processes. This means they can check the authenticity of documents more quickly and efficiently than ever before.
The hospitality industry relies on trust and reliability. No one wants to be in a hotel with someone who isn’t who they say they are or have their luggage go missing—especially not when it’s the holidays!
That’s why blockchain technology is so attractive in the hospitality industry. By relying on a distributed network of computers that must all agree that something is accurate at the same time, blockchain can confirm identity, baggage information, and travel documents without needing to check every little piece of data constantly.
This means that you can get checked into your hotel much faster and fly without worrying about your bags getting lost.
Token Money Hotels
What’s the idea behind “token money hotels”? Well, they’re actual apartments, but they’re only available when you pay with cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin. The concept is slowly but surely breaking into the mainstream, with apartment-style hotels popping up in major cities like Paris and London. The prices are comparable to traditional hotels: A two-bedroom apartment in Paris costs about $150 per night.
Advocates of token money hotels say that it’s just another way for travelers to experience the city without going through the traditional hotel system. And in some ways, it does make sense: Airbnb has been around for years, so why couldn’t you stay at an end-to-end crypto-based hotel? For many nervous about using cryptocurrency beyond Bitcoin (the most common form of cryptocurrency), this idea could be a great way to dip their toes into the crypto waters.
Blockchain Booking and Reservation Systems
Blockchain booking and reservation systems are among the most exciting trends in the hospitality industry.
These systems can be used to create “smart contracts” that automate the transfer and disbursement of funds when a reservation is made and service is performed, which means they can reduce human error and the time it takes to process payments.
With blockchain-based booking systems, there’s no need for platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com to take a cut of each booking because the decentralized system distributes that cost across all users. In addition, the price is so low that it’s more cost-effective for businesses to build their booking systems than for them to list with expensive third-party aggregators like Expedia.
This also means that they have the potential to make it easier to track expenses, plan budgets, and optimize revenues. They can even help hotels manage their inventory, provide real-time customer service, and protect guest information. The possibilities are endless!
Connected rooms, smartphone-compatible rooms… Whatever you call them, guests are increasingly expecting to be able to manage more and more of their hotel stay from their mobile phones. Automated check-in/check-out, room service requests, and even ordering amenities for the room (like extra toilet paper or towels) is becoming a norm.
Some hotels are already using blockchain to personalize the guest experience by making room preferences—like in-room temperature or lighting—accessible anywhere. You could walk into your hotel room, and with a scan of your key card, your temperature and lighting preferences would be set automatically based on what you prefer.
This would also allow hotels to have better control over their resources. By integrating connected sensors with their blockchain system, hotels would be able to track important information about their rooms, like when the air conditioning or TV was used, to make sure everything is running correctly. In addition, this tracking could allow hotels to learn more about their guests’ habits and what aspects of the room they interact with the most to provide a better guest experience.
Companies like Marriott have already demonstrated the benefits of this approach: They’re seeing improvements in guest satisfaction and efficiencies that allow the front desk team to focus on the guests who need customized support.
New Blockchain-Backed Payment Systems Will Make it Easier for Travelers to Pay for Goods and Services
Over the past few years, a lot has changed in how we pay for things while traveling. A decade ago, you’d have to check with your bank to be sure you could use your debit card abroad. Today, travelers are more likely to use cashless payment systems like PayPal or Zelle.
And yet, for all that progress, travel remains one of the most cash-intensive services on earth. In recent years, several companies have partnered up with blockchain developers like Ripple and Stellar to create payment systems that make it easier for travelers to pay for goods and services worldwide.
In short: No matter where you’re traveling, you’ll soon be able to use blockchain payments just as quickly as you would with your credit card back home.
Blockchain is Also Improving the Security of Online Payments
A significant area of improvement that blockchain technology is bringing to the hospitality industry is security.
Blockchain technologies are now being used to prevent fraud, and they’re helping to streamline and secure online payments.
Before blockchain, making a payment online was a painstakingly slow one. Credit card information was sent from servers worldwide before arriving at the destination server, which then verified that the payment was valid using a third-party verification system.
This process was slow; it opened up transactions to security flaws. Blockchain has helped make this process much faster, and it’s also improved the overall security of online credit card transactions by eliminating mediators who could access sensitive financial data.
Blockchain Will Improve Airline Check-In and the Boarding Process
It’s no secret that flying is a hassle. From the crowded airports to the long lines at security to the sheer exhaustion of air travel, your journey can quickly devolve into a nightmare before you even board. But this could all change with blockchain technology. Here are three ways blockchain will improve your next flight:
- Blockchain will remove friction from airline check-in and the boarding process.
- Blockchain can help prevent overbooking, which is common on airlines.
- Blockchain can make it easier for airlines to track and manage lost luggage.
More Airlines Will Soon Use Blockchain to Distribute Frequent Flier Miles
Both Lufthansa and Swiss Air announced integrating blockchain technology into their frequent flier programs. This means that airlines can distribute miles based on how much money a customer has spent with an airline. This might seem pretty straightforward, but the current system is, in fact, quite complicated—so complicated, in fact, that many airlines are losing millions of dollars per year.
The current system for distributing miles was first developed in the 1980s by American Airlines. Since then, it has grown to include dozens of global partners, each with its rules and regulations regarding how miles are distributed. The system is so complex that many airlines have resorted to giving up on it altogether.
So what can blockchain do? Blockchain-based systems are transparent, automated, and secure—three qualities that are ideal for keeping track of miles earned by frequent fliers.
Blockchain also reduces the possibility of fraud. Because there is no central authority governing the blockchain network, consumers can see exactly where their data is headed at all times (and even view the transaction history).
Blockchain Could Be Used to Move Money Quickly Between Airlines and Hotels, Eliminating the Need for Corporate Travel Agencies
Typically, when a company books a flight or hotel stay for an employee, the transaction goes through a corporate travel agency. The travel agency cuts the money before sending it to the airline and hotel. With blockchain, hotels and airlines could skip this step and transact directly.
Blockchain would also make booking faster, asking employees to complete fewer steps when booking their business travel. That could save companies time and money because they wouldn’t have to spend as much on travel agencies.
Hoteliers Will Have More Data About Their Customers
The hospitality industry, in general, relies on a lot of third-party vendors and partners, but blockchain technology could change that. By making it possible for hoteliers to collect all of their customer data in one place, they’ll have more information about customers’ booking patterns and preferences and be able to use this information to create better experiences for them.
Blockchain Helps Vendors Deliver a More Personalized Experience to Hotel Guests
Hotels are already taking advantage of blockchain’s ability to facilitate data sharing between different platforms, departments, and even properties. The result? Guests get access to information on their mobile devices in real-time—they can see up-to-date reviews and ratings, notifications about events happening nearby, or offers for local attractions. That information can be delivered in several ways: through a mobile app, via email or text message, or even printed out and left at the front desk or in the room itself.
Hotels can also use information like this to encourage repeat business by offering incentives like loyalty points or discounts on future stays.
But delivering personalized experiences isn’t just about providing information; it’s also about anticipating what your guests need during their stay. Blockchain makes this possible because it allows hotels access to vast amounts of information about each guest without storing all that data themselves (which would be costly).
In addition, they can use these insights to offer more targeted services such as concierge recommendations based on past preferences or call-ahead services like pre-ordering meals.
Blockchain Will Improve Hotel Security
In hospitality, this could be used to create an identity verification system that would provide hotel guests with greater security.
The blockchain system would store an encrypted record of each person’s identity on the blockchain. When booking a room, the guest would submit their identity to the hotel and the previously encrypted record of their identity. The hotel could then check their passport or driver’s license against that record, ensuring that the person checking in is who they say they are.
This will help keep hotels safe and secure for everyone—staff and guests alike.
Everything from financial transactions to entertainment could benefit from blockchain technology as hotels attempt to remove intermediaries and upend traditional hospitality models. These changes don’t have to be limited to hotels either—tourism companies are constantly updating their services and tools to market better to consumers, so there’s no telling what transformative changes blockchain could bring about for tourism companies.