How is Blockchain Technology Transforming the Travel Industry?

How is Blockchain Technology Transforming the Travel Industry?

Two of the topics that I tend to write about are food and travel – especially how they are enhanced by tech.

With blockchain technology becoming more prevalent in all industries (not just finance!), I wanted to explore some of the ways that the food and travel industries are using blockchain to enhance customer experience.

Blockchain will revolutionize many parts of our daily life. Below, I’ll talk about some of the ways blockchain will transform the way we travel.

What the heck is blockchain?

To understand how blockchain can transform the travel industry, first we have to understand how blockchain works so let me give a brief primer below.

Simply put, blockchain is technology that stores a record of transactions (like a public ledger) on a network. Data on this public ledger is encrypted and then stored in “blocks” of data. Each block has data that references the previous block, forming a “chain”. Hence, the term “blockchain.”

What makes blockchain unique and different from current transactions is that the data is 1) encrypted and references the previous block making it very difficult to hack, and 2) decentralized, which means that data isn’t held in one place (like with a single bank or a single airline) but are distributed in “nodes” that are part of a network.

A node can be any type of device but usually a computer, laptop or server. Each node has the same copy of all the information. For a new block to get added to the chain, all node members in the network have to confirm it. This process ensures that the blockchain’s data is secure, traceable, unchangeable, and transparent.

Imagine what the travel industry can do with data that is secure, traceable, unchangeable, and transparent? So many things!

Real World Examples of Blockchain Technology in the Travel Industry

  • Identity Verification
  • Reservations
  • Digital Payments
  • Travel ratings

Identity Verification

Blockchain could become the industry standard for storing identity information. This could help with identity theft and identity verification as well as speeding up check-in times at airports. You can do a simple retina or fingerprint scan instead of showing passports and visas.

For example, Accenture has recently partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to launch the Known Traveler Digital Identity System. This blockchain collects and hosts data from frequent international travelers to streamline their next customs declaration and clearance experience.


One way blockchain can completely change the way we book travel is to take out the middleman when making travel reservations. Currently, service aggregators like Expedia dominate airfare bookings and this comes at a cost. Booking through aggregators means hefty fees and surcharges for both travelers and the airlines.

Blockchain applications can directly connect travelers with service providers like airlines, hotels and tour operators. For example, Winding Tree, a Swiss company founded in 2017, uses smart contracts and tokens to cut out the middleman and is able to deliver better savings for travelers and operators.

Secure Digital Payments

Traveling involves many payment touchpoints like airfare, hotel, car rental, restaurants, etc. Using cryptocurrency can help facilitate and speed up payments with a single, transparent system that bypasses gatekeepers and expensive third parties. It’s also a safer form of payment.

Travel Ratings / Reviews

The majority of travelers read forums and user reviews before and during travel but how can we be sure that the people who wrote the reviews are legitimate? With blockchain, the reviewer information that shows up in the network is public and secure thereby providing better transparency and trust.


These are just four examples where blockchain can revolutionize the travel industry and there are so many other ways where the technology can be applied.

While there are still many challenges to overcome with using blockchain, including regulation and the cost of building out the integrations, early adopters will better know how to navigate the system and thrive.

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