The platform will allow corporations and institutions such as airlines and hotels to publish the inventory available to their clients. Additionally, it will lower the current costs that represent the processes of this industry.
The United Arab Emirates national secondary airline, Etihad Airways, which handles travel routes to the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Australia and America, partnered with the Swiss-based Winding Tree open-source travel platform to implement blockchain technology in the services it offers.
The information was confirmed in local news. About this matter, Tristan Thomas, Director of Innovation at Etihad, commented: “Winding Tree is obviously our distribution (platform) and that’s an opportunity for us to disrupt a traditionally market dominated by major distribution systems (…) Very few have chosen to disrupt the distribution world and that’s because those are major players with very significant margins that have acted to keep that kind of a closed shop”.
In addition to Etihad, whose main base is the Abu Dhabi International Airport, other major airlines that are implementing blockchain technology are Air Canada, Lufthansa and Air France. Those companies are interested in developing new services with Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
Swiss port service companies and hotels such as citizenM Hotel, Nordic Choice and Airport Hotel Basel have also joined the blockchain world to offer a different service to their users and to know more about how to take advantage of this new technologies.
Technologies Currently Used
One of the technologies that are currently being used by different entities in the travel sector are the Global Distribution Systems (GDS), which allow data about flights and room reservations to be collected for travel agents or those who book corporate trips, without resorting to intermediaries.
GDS works as a real-time inventory technology that allows users to store the most important data that companies in the travel sector need to manage to provide a different service to their customers.
Some of the best known global distribution systems are Amadeus and Saber. GDS is a computerized network system managed by a company that allows transactions between service providers belonging to the travel industry to be executed.
Currently, this system is mainly used by hotels, airlines, car rental companies and travel agencies, as well as websites such as Booking or Expedia.
An Alternative to GDS
However, blockchain technology could also transform this field and also take over the execution of these processes quickly and safely, since one of the main features of blockchain technology is to store information unalterable and that all parties involved in the process (especially the authorized ones) can have access to that data.
In this sense, the blockchain-based Winding Tree platform will allow corporations and institutions such as airlines and hotels to publish the inventory available to their customers, without using GDS systems.
Pedro Anderson, Winding Tree Operations Director, clarified that the new platform is not aimed at retail consumers, due to the characteristics of the platform. However, “the fact that intermediary rates are ultimately omitted means lower costs”, said the executive. This in another benefit of using blockchain technology in the new travel industry.
By María Rodríguez