TUI Chief Executive, Friedrich Joussen is a firm believer that integrating blockchain in travel will transform the industry, potentially breaking the hold that Priceline, Expedia, and Airbnb have over the lodging and distribution ecosystem.
Joussen’s belief that blockchain technology can easily replace these businesses, was a key reason that the TUI moved themselves out of the role of intermediary, with the sale of ‘Hotelbeds’ in 2016 for $1.2 billion.
TUI Group, the world`s largest tourist company have transferred all of its contracts onto its ‘private’ blockchain and developed a system to manage their bedstock. In 2017, Joussen said:
“The next step is that the whole inventory will be on the blockchain.”
Since then they have developed ‘TUI Bed-Swap‘, using blockchain technology to allow empty rooms to be offered in different markets within seconds. With the ability to deliver to demand in this way, TUI expects it’s profits to continue to increase.
In a conference earlier this year, Joussen explained that their blockchain platform could be made public for direct access by agents and customers alike:
“If you want to address 20 million customers individually, you need the most modern IT technology. So, the blockchain is not in the internet, the blockchain is the next internet.”
Online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia and Airbnb, have been able to control and dictate their commission structure. With blockchain, anyone can view ‘real time’ availability of rooms or flights, therefore democratising the marketplace again.
Blockchain in travel, potentially means that hotels and airlines will regain the ability to decide whether to pay out a commission and, if so, how high it should be.