When examined more closely, the travel and transportation industries reveal themselves as complex webs of operations which have at their foundation the collaboration between multiple companies that strive to provide the best services and governmental agencies which validate identities when necessary. The tendency to over complicate certain procedures and business models with third-party interference has long hindered tourists, hoteliers, and shipping firms. Relatively recent advancements in technology have the potential to completely mitigate friction costs associated with third parties, by enabling a direct link between the service provider and end-user. As a technology, blockchain seems to fill a lot of the gaps present in the industry. Network distribution, data integrity, availability and immutability, cryptographically secured records, and transparency provided over a vast network that guarantees trust, opens a new window of opportunities while consolidating a new way of thinking about identity, privacy, and security.
IBM has hinted in its travel and transportation BCDB case study that its blockchain solution can have a beneficial impact on passenger satisfaction and comfort, and add a much-needed layer of efficiency to personnel. IBM also stresses the fact that through blockchain’s immutable, transparent ledger, the incidences of lost passenger baggage will be exponentially reduced, while shipping enterprises will benefit from streamlined cargo and asset tracking. With respect to this issue, Maersk is collaborating with IBM on a blockchain-based platform to enhance shipping and secure global trade. This initiative aims to enhance transparency, simplify operations and create a set of open standards for moving goods across borders and trading zones
Loyalty schemes have become a key marketing tool for hotels, airlines, credit card companies, and retailers to stimulate clients. The challenge for the traveller is often the complexity involved in redeeming loyalty points. Loyalty schemes can be easily implemented in a blockchain environment through an ERC-20 token creation smart contract, through which companies can create unique tokens and reward their clients based on the number of miles travelled.
Identification services are an integral part of the travel industry, and blockchain technology holds the potential to set a new standard when it comes to identity verification. Storing biometric information on a blockchain network can drastically reduce check-in times, and airport queues, eventually replacing old fashioned pen and paper documentation which is still subjected to manipulation and counterfeit attempts. The highly trustworthy and immutable nature of blockchain makes it an ideal storage medium for a digital identity composed of biometric information such as retina scans or fingerprints