How Blockchains Are Disrupting Online Travel Agency Models

Take the shift

Innovation continues to drive the travel industry forward. By bringing blockchain technology to the hotel booking space, a recently launched startup is adding a new dimension to the booking process and changing the way the hospitality and events industries interact with their customers.

As travelers become more comfortable with cryptocurrencies and wallets, the online travel agency (OTA) model is ripe for disruption by blockchain technologies. Ready or not, here are hotel reservations that can be bought and traded like Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). digitizes hotel reservations and event tickets into collectible NFTs. Customers can earn rewards based on their actions, which are easy to track using blockchain technology, and can sell or trade their reservations in a secondary market, like StubHub functions as a digital venue for primary ticket buyers to sell or trade their baseballs. Broadway tickets.

“By creating liquidity around bookings, hotels and travelers can have more flexibility and a better travel experience,” said Eduardo Ibanez, Chief Data Scientist at “With NFTs representing hotel stays or event tickets, allows travelers to display where they’ve been, where they’ve been and where they’re going – and allows them to trade those bookings in an open marketplace. We are developing a similar solution for flight reservations, but at launch we are focusing on hotels and events.

What does it mean if your hotel reservation is an NFT?

As soon as a hotel is booked, the traveler receives an NFT, which acts as a unique reservation that can be sold or traded securely and seamlessly up to 24 hours before check-in. Passengers can pay using their credit card or cryptocurrency. As soon as the payment is processed, the system mints the NFT and passengers can see it in their wallet – and then they can use it, sell it, trade it, or show it in their wallet.

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Blockchain excels at authentication – verifying who bought it and when – enabling two people to easily, cheaply and securely exchange tokens representing reservations.

“The option to make reservations tradable on secondary markets is attractive to many travelers, especially if their plans change frequently,” Ibanez said. “The hotels also benefit from having a secondary market.”

Benefits to hotels offers hotels a more seamless way to manage revenue and solve the problem of high cancellation rates by creating tradable bookings on secondary markets without losing value instead of canceling when travelers’ plans change.

“It’s good if a hotel has a cancellation policy where they can cancel 24 hours in advance so they don’t have to worry about having to vacate the room to let someone else in,” Ibanez said.

The platform will help hotels reduce customer acquisition costs. For example, large hotels can pre-sell their inventory a year in advance so they can maintain their occupancy and reduce risk.

“The faster they can sell, the better,” Ibanez said. “We are simultaneously solving a problem for travelers and hotels by creating value from bookings, which are currently passive assets.”

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Finally, hotels can set the rules of their NFT so that the hotel receives a royalty payment every time a reservation token is traded. “We’re not there yet, but it’s possible because with blockchain their royalty share can be programmatically coded into an NFT.”

Loyalty play

In addition to partnerships with hotels, works closely with event and experience providers so they can package hotel reservations with event tickets and offer unique rewards to travelers.

“We’re going to allow passengers to award loyalty points based on various interactions within the network,” Ibanez said. “A traveler who has booked 10 times at a certain hotel can be called the ‘community manager’ of that hotel or destination and they will get extra points on every subsequent booking if they provide information about that place. With our decentralized travel platform, every traveler can monetize their strengths, be it the best hotel reviewer or the best tour guide. We value their interactions.

In a future iteration of the platform, passengers will be able to locate and unlock rewards located at certain longitudes and latitudes in the real world via augmented reality. An attempt to gamify the reward earning and redemption process, these so-called “quests” might involve visiting a certain statue in Rome to unlock an event or hotel discount, or a whiskey bar crawl curated by local experts in Kentucky.

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Looking forward

While Ibanez is concerned that illiquidity in other NFT markets may affect sales volume,, which runs on blockchain but is not exclusively tied to cryptocurrencies, is not adversely affected by the recent volatility in the crypto market. .

“Our technology stack is built, we have access to millions of rooms of hotel inventory, and we’re establishing some great partnerships,” Ibanez said. “We’ll grow as fast as we can acquire customers.”

In terms of marketing, that means focusing on attracting younger, more affluent travelers who like to go to events — and then focusing on nearby hotels that are popular with those travelers.

“For some passengers, our NFTs will represent their reservation record, while for others they are collectibles. There’s something to be said for flexing and sharing where you’ve been and what you’ve experienced. Your NFT will prove, for example, that you were at the Super Bowl and stayed at the same hotel as Rihanna.

If the platform takes off like Ibanez believes, those who enjoy bragging about their travel experiences on Instagram will need to up their game.

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This content was created in collaboration with, Skift’s branded content studio and SkiftX.


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