Blockchains for ho­tel dis­tri­bu­tion

Travel Bulletin - - TECHNOLOGY -

We­b­jet last month an­nounced de­tails of a ma­jor project it has been un­der­tak­ing in part­ner­ship with Mi­crosoft, aimed at us­ing so-called blockchain tech­nol­ogy to solve what it called the ho­tel dis­tri­bu­tion in­dus­try’s “dirty lit­tle se­cret”. We­b­jet ceo John Gus­cic re­vealed that the sec­tor is ram­pant with in­ef­fi­cien­cies. Ac­cord­ing to a pre­sen­ta­tion he gave at an in­vestor con­fer­ence, about one in three book­ings are amended in some way, 10% re­quire some sort of man­ual in­ter­ven­tion, while one in 25 ex­pe­ri­ence “break­age” – where a ser­vice is pro­vided but never in­voiced. That amounts to mil­lions in lost rev­enue. The com­plex­ity comes be­cause in many in­stances there are up to five par­tic­i­pants in the sale, with a series of whole­salers con­tract­ing DMCS who in turn book the ac­tual ho­tel. Each par­tic­i­pant stores their book­ings in their own tech­nol­ogy plat­form, and there is no ‘sin­gle source of truth’ as to the sta­tus of a book­ing or its de­tails. This re­sults in high costs of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion – hordes of ac­counts re­ceiv­able staff - and fi­nan­cial losses due to dis­putes. The We­b­jet so­lu­tion aims to use blockchains – in­ter­net-based tech­nol­ogy which records trans­ac­tions in mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions au­to­mat­i­cally up­dated to pro­vide this sin­gle ref­er­ence point – to store ho­tel book­ings. A ‘Smart Con­tract’ matches up book­ings and stores them on the blockchain, in­stantly no­ti­fy­ing any dis­crep­an­cies so data mis­matches can be re­solved straight away, rather than months later when un­paid in­voices are be­ing chased. It’s a novel so­lu­tion, with We­b­jet cur­rently rolling it out in­ter­nally be­tween its Lots of Ho­tels and Sun­ho­tels oper­a­tions, and plan­ning to “in­vite se­lected ex­ter­nal par­ties to use the plat­form to demon­strate the ben­e­fits it de­liv­ers to the in­dus­try”.

© Ac­corho­tels

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