Travel is big business.contributed nearly $6 trillion Impact on global GDP in 2021. Despite the unprecedented shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel has now returned in a big way, especially this December holiday season. A “travel rebound” is in full swing despite rising costs and logistical issues due to shortages. We humans just can’t move around.
Travel is also a highly complex industry that relies on complex networks of information exchange (e.g. customer data, inventory management, etc.) combined with the logistics of physically moving parts. A true fusion of bits and atoms.
From the early days of commercial aviation to the birth of online ticketing in the 1990s, the travel industry has flourished over the past decade, with continuous cycles of technological advancement and innovation occurring time and time again.
While most innovations have been incremental, at some point our travel evolution took a fundamental leap.Back in 2014, Expedia temporarily accept bitcoin Used for hotel bookings, but was quickly abandoned, presumably due to lack of commercial adoption and extreme price volatility of BTC at the time. Although considered niche and fringe at the time, this still shows a hunger and hunger for technological advancement.
Despite advances in technology, there are still countless problems in the “travel stack”. Reliance on intermediaries, siled data, lack of transparency and systemic rigidity are all recurring pain points in the travel industry.
Although it is an interconnected and networked industry, it is also highly concentrated. Few entities control most of this category. Expedia Group, Booking Holdings, and AirBnB dominate online booking market expected to reach $691 billion by 2026. Meanwhile, Amadeus, Saber and TravelPort control most of the inventory allocation. Ultimately, this means increased costs for both travelers and businesses, as these largely unchallenged gatekeepers enjoy high fees and control over information.
Tourism is an industry ripe for disruption, and there are many problems and properties that can be addressed by Web3.
Since the ledgers in which different companies communicate information to each other are particularly heavy, there is obvious potential for immediate blockchain use cases. For example, since a customer’s luggage changes hands multiple times on each journey, a decentralized open-source database could make it easier to track between companies and entities. And consider identification services, which are an important part of the information flow in the travel industry. A global blockchain standard could be used to store this data to drastically improve things like check-in, airport queues, and even make us re-evaluate the very concept of physical passports.
At its core, the opportunity for decentralized and open-source ledgers could ultimately reduce reliance on existing travel-related intermediaries and existing strongholds holding siled data, reducing costs that could ultimately be passed on to travelers.
But Web3 is also much more than blockchains and ledgers. Things get really interesting when we consider the consumer-facing potential of Web3, especially around the concepts of decentralized ownership, identity, and governance.
Imagine you are planning your next trip and looking for places to visit. This is an important (and often stressful) aspect of the traveler experience. You might be running some Google searches and reading some reviews on TripAdvisor. How do you know those reviews aren’t fake? Have these people actually been there? Why would they even bother to post a comment? Authenticity issues are pervasive when we try to distinguish authenticity from unauthenticity.
What if we could prove that every comment or post was made by an undeniable person who claimed to be at the time? An immutable “proof of travel” that can be linked to a composable identity that transcends multiple platforms and services. An identity with on-chain credentials builds a durable reputation, making it an asset in itself.
What if we could ensure that all contributions were rewarded in proportion to the value they provided, rather than just getting a few likes and upvotes for your submitted comments? In Web2, almost all the financial value goes to the platform. At the same time, real value is created by network participants, such as submitted reviews and high-quality content. In Web3, contributors can participate and benefit from the overall success of the platform, which in turn increases the odds of high-quality and authentic contributions. It is possible to create an autonomous ecosystem partially owned and directly managed by community members, benefiting from the growth of the network in which they participate.
Explaining Web3 Investors Chris Dixon Author of a16z Crypto: Imagine if Uber offered tokens to its ecosystem of drivers and riders, the community would be directly incentivized by the success of the entire network, rather than a select few (early investors, shareholders) Web2 model. You’ve probably seen how this idea can be applied to several elements of travel.
Finally, now that you’ve booked your itinerary, what if you actually own your ticket, which you can easily resell for extra flexibility? You will have complete control to manage and dispose of your tickets and any other travel assets freely and seamlessly. Travel is one of the largest industries without a secondary market, resulting in an often inflexible travel experience. Instead, an NFT ticket can be programmed not only to allow you to benefit from reselling it, but also to allow the airline to charge a percentage of the proceeds defined in the smart contract in this case. win-win situation.
Web3 has the potential to solve countless problems. Keep in mind, though, that the handful of established players currently dominating the industry may feel little incentive to disrupt themselves.A more plausible scenario might be to consider smaller and nimble start-ups with a strong incentive to challenge the status quo to become leaders in the classic space innovator’s dilemma Trendy, before the incumbent notices.
We may be in a new radical phase of travel innovation. A new wave of opportunities to create blockchain-based travel distribution and retail infrastructure. Our assumptions will be challenged and we may be forced to rethink many areas of travel. Use cases may not seem obvious at first. In fact, the concept of the metaverse seems to be the complete antithesis of travel, as it challenges the value of the physical over the digital. We’ll likely see a bunch of false starts and hear a lot of noise until the true value of Web3 in travel is realized and very obvious in hindsight.