Cheaper, better, faster travel: difficulties and advantages of implementing blockchain technology in travel industry. What changes should we wait for?
New generation blockchain technologies seem to be a modern trend affecting practically all business spheres. But in spite of blockchain’s growing popularity, travel industry is still staying rigid to all these innovations.
For the past few years a number of travel startups were trying to enter world’s travel market, but with a few leading players controlling all the inventory (flights, hotel rooms, car rentals etc.) it’s hard to break through. A few big companies trying to monopolize travel market innovate very slowly and lock down their partners and customers.
With the startup Winding Tree emerging on the market, everything can change. While the majority of other ongoing startups are lacking, such as Webjet and S7 private versions of Ethereum, Winding Tree seems to be really perspective.
The point is that Winding Tree for now is the only open source, public blockchain project in Travel industry. In the words of its founders, Winding Tree is a “blockchain-powered B2B marketplace for travel inventory (air travel, hotel rooms, car rentals, tours and activities etc).” The main purpose of the project is to exclude all the rent-seeking intermediaries from today’s closed ecosystem of travel industry and to design an open decentralized platform, where suppliers can take control over their own inventory and list it without overpaying.
Winding Tree is not an app, it can be defined as a “set of APIs.” It doesn’t have any user’s interface at all, it is more like a basic infrastructure allowing travel companies to build their own decentralized applications and even new protocols on top of them.
Suppliers can list their inventory on a platform creating a big database for agents to choose and book whatever they want. The absence of intermediaries facilitates the direct collaboration between the parties. At the same time, basic travel and hospitality date exchange standards like NDC, OTA and HTNG will be supported too. So, a supplier having a solution built on any of these standards can simply point to Winding Tree’s API endpoints instead of existing infrastructure’s.
Winding Tree has its own currency with scarce supply, Lif, which will be used for all types of transactions. Before listing inventory on a platform, a supplier has to pay the miner’s fee in Lif. Agencies or self-travellers in their turn will spend Lif to book any type of inventory. The Líf token pre-sale is scheduled to take place on September 18th, but travel companies may already pre-purchase tokens with a bonus.
Being a non-profit incorporation, Winding Tree is aimed to support community projects like open source databases, APIs and protocols. Primarily, the platform is expected to be used by travel companies’ developers to build their own solutions on top of it and to submit their own ideas of how the platform can be improved. Winding Tree’s total transparency allows anyone to study the code and propose changes.
According to the experts interested in Winding Tree startup development, the possibility of success is very high. With the implementing of blockchain technologies, a lot of problems existing today in travel industry can be solved: overbooking and fraud can be prevented, all cost can be lowered, transactions can become more transparent and competition between travel companies can turn to fair collaboration.