There’s no doubt that ‘blockchain’ is one of the buzzwords du jour - but how much of an impact will it have on travel trade communications?
Blockchain technology is still in its infancy and it may take 3 to 5 years for us to be able to see the full picture, but we’ve found a number of areas where we can see it potentially disrupting the industry.
1. Traveller Data & Profiling
We’re shifting away from the world of paper tickets and moving towards a world where biometrics and wearable tech are becoming the norm.
These mobile devices could include a ‘single traveller token’ with secured biometric data, which would allow data to travel with travellers and eliminate the need for constant ID verification.
Imagine a business travel experience like this: You arrive at the hotel and a friendly receptionist checks you in and gives you your key. You then receive a text message with your room number as you verify your identity as you walk to the room. You open the door smiling because you haven’t had to worry about fumbling around with lots of different tickets, pieces of paper and forms of ID!
With this shift, it’s easy to see how the passenger experience will become faster, frictionless and more enjoyable for business travellers.
2. Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are a huge marketing tool in the business travel sector - but for customers, keeping tabs on things can become difficult - especially when many different suppliers are used.
Instead of having to carry multiple memberships, blockchain technology could pave the way for integrated traveller loyalty programs where points can be redeemed across multiple suppliers, products and services.
Will businesses be keen to unite in this way to make their loyalty schemes more user-friendly for today’s customers - who value diversity and value for money over loyalty? That remains to be seen - but one startup company that our client Amadeus is watching closely is Loyyal, which is a mission to make it happen.
3. Avoiding PR Crises & Miscommunication
Blockchain technology also has some more practical applications that have the potential to help travel brands avoid PR crises and miscommunication.
For example, utilising blockchain technology during the booking process could potentially prevent overbooking situations, which has been known to lead to negative press for airlines.
Similarly, blockchain technology would allow ‘smart contracts’ to be made between suppliers and travellers. These contracts are digitally signed, electronic agreements between parties which are instant and leave little room for human error.
This would lead to increased transparency in communication between everyone involved, potentially leading to stronger, happier business relationships.
4. Early Adopter Brand Buzz
The simple fact that blockchain technology is still in the ‘new kid on the block’ (pardon the pun) is a bonus for companies in itself.
Travel brands that are bold enough to bet on the technology and communicate their journey with it are likely to gain kudos and column inches just for being early adopters.
In turn, a brand’s innovative use of blockchain technology is likely to enhance its value proposition within the marketplace and it could even become a USP.
If the technology is leveraged and executed well, it could surprise and delight travellers - potentially leading to greater market share as a result.
5. Greater Transparency in Advertising
One of the biggest issues travel marketers face at the moment lies in ad delivery verification. So what if ad-fraud and ad reporting errors could be eradicated with the help of blockchain technology?
Thanks to its decentralised nature, blockchain-based ad systems could detect if ads are being delivered and if they’re being delivered to the right people.
A player to keep an eye on in this space is MetaX’s ‘adChain’, which promises to provide ad buyers with a “scalable, trustworthy solution for tracking and verifying all advertising impressions”.
What’s your take? Will these potential applications of blockchain technology help or hinder the travel sector? Can you think of any other ways blockchain could impact travel trade communications? Tweet us @DMA_Partnersand let us know!