Being a successful graduate of Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU), Maria has acquired competencies in economic and social studies. Given Maria’s previous research working experience, and desire to explore what's really shaping the future, the main research focus is placed on FinTech and Blockchain Technology.
Blockchain technology may have the potential to take over mainstream travelling websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and AirBnB.
Websites like TripAdvisor and AirBnB have completely changed the way we travel. We went from having no option but to stay in stuffy, overpriced hotels, to being able to stay in what is essentially a ‘home away from home’ for a fraction of the price.
Similarly, instead of relying on tour guides to tell us what we should do and what we should visit in each country we stay in, we now have the possibility to make our own itineraries based on unbiased reviews from thousands of other travelers from around the world.
Now the times have radically changed again, as blockchain technology could be about to make such mainstream websites as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and AirBnB completely redundant.
The Rise of Blockchain Technology
For its time, AirBnB was revolutionary. Of course, while most people loved it, many of its rivals called on it, stating that it was breaking laws.
We can draw many parallels between this and the people, who are complaining about the issues that come with decentralization. However, despite the criticism from large organizations that are highly likely to lose out as a result of the innovation introduced by the blockchain, it’s becoming increasingly clear that blockchain technology is here to stay.
Combining Blockchain and Tourism
Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries. In 2016, its market value made over $2.6 trillion – and it is projected to grow with each passing year. By 2027, the travel industry is projected to be worth app. $3.5 trillion.
The growth of the industry can largely be attributed to millennials – the largest living generation – who are known for their increased spending power and decreased desire to purchase physical products in favor of spending a greater percentage of their salary on experiences instead.
That said, over 80% of millennials have reported that they want to experience the places they visit like a local, as opposed to a tourist, and at that time AirBnB was a great start towards meeting this need. However, it is clear that there is still a kind of gap in the market for similar services.
A Friend in Every City in the World…
Of course, the most valuable and reliable source of information about a particular location is a friend, who lives there: a friend knows you, knows your taste, and knows whether you would like a particular location.
Of course, most of us don’t have a reliable friend in every single destination we choose to visit, but the new blockchain startup, Cool Cousin, has something to offer.
Cool Cousin has been specially designed to directly connect travelers with like-minded locals, who they refer to as ‘cousins’. The platform allows users to search through a list of locals – or ‘cousins’ – in the location they’re planning to visit, and reach out to them for help and advice. Cousins will then provide personalized advice to users to help them out on their trip.
The application has proved to be very popular with users thus far, and has been crowned by the National Geographic, New York, LA Times, The Guardian, and USA Today as a “must have app for travelers”.
A Decentralized Travel Agency That Enables Personal Connection
Despite fears that the industry is dying, and websites like TripAdvisor would make travel agents redundant, this has not been the case. In fact, the number of millennials making use of travel agents to book their holidays is on the rise. It is predicted that one-third of millennials are active users of travel agents and intend to use one in the next two years. This number is up 19 points from 2011, and 12 points from 2014. More than anything, it proves that with their growing paying power and desire for time saving, they are willing to pay an expert for easily digestible and trustworthy information concerning their trip.
Platforms like Cool Cousin will provide many of the benefits that a tourist gets while using a travel agent. Most importantly, it will allow tourists to access sought-for reliable information while bringing together users from all over the world by this encouraging authentic connections.
There are few things that are more reassuring than knowing that no matter where you travel, there will always be someone trustworthy by to give you a helping hand when you need it.