Blockchain: more than just a buzz word

While blockchain technology is yet to be fully utilised within travel and aviation, we are constantly hearing that it is poised to revolutionise our industry. Blockchain is that buzz word that is constantly being thrown around but not really understood, until now.

A blockchain is a decentralised and distributed digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers, the result is more secure and intelligent system which has real world applications across almost every industry. Amadeus has done a great job breaking down what the technology is, and more importantly, the impact it could have on travel. To assist with understanding blockchain and its impact on the travel industry, Amadeus created the following short video:

In a White Paper, released by the travel technology provider, Amadeus aims to provide an overview of blockchain’s evolution, as well as its unique characteristics, and give the reader a deep dive into potential relevant applications in the travel industry. The paper explores the current fields being investigated and tested for use in the travel industry, including loyalty programmes, baggage tracking, travel value chain, and ID verification.

According to Amadeus, the impact could be as significant as the internet’s initial information exchange, which revolutionised so many aspects of our lives. The report stated: “This emerging technology holds tremendous promise to change the way we can ‘exchange value’ digitally. Just as the internet’s design has allowed us to exchange information very easily and quickly, so blockchain could open the door to a new iteration of computing that allows ‘value’, often financial, to be exchanged between businesses, governments and individuals”.

All over the world, and across every industry, there has been great investment in unlocking the power of blockchain. According to the specialist blockchain analyst firm Smith & Crown, so far in 2017 approximately USD1.8 billion has been invested in start-ups hoping to capitalise on the technology, and the travel industry is no exception. While there are no live systems in production today in the travel industry, there is the potential to improve a variety of important areas.

Amadeus Head of innovation & ventures Katherine Grass stated: “This paper is designed to help shine a light on the many different areas of the travel industry where blockchain is beginning to have an impact, in addition to providing a window into the wider development of the blockchain industry itself. We hope this paper contributes to a greater understanding of blockchain’s potential and helps inspire the industry-wide collaboration necessary to bring these business cases to life”.

Examples of blockchain’s potential in the travel industry:

  • Making loyalty schemes more user-friendly
  • Improving baggage tracking
  • Simplifying settlements in the travel value chain
  • Improving identity management in travel

To download a copy of the report, visit Amadeus’ research page here.