Blockchain is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days, usually in articles about how this new technology is poised to revolutionize a particular industry. Well, here’s another one. Blockchain technology offers great potential to improve transparency, security, trust, convenience, and operations in the hospitality and travel industries, to the benefit of hotels and other companies as well as their consumers.
But what exactly is blockchain?
Without getting too technical, it’s basically a form of storing, protecting, and disseminating digital data that’s more secure and reliable than methods used thus far. It creates consecutive, time-stamped blocks of data that build off each other. Blocks can’t be altered—either by deliberate manipulation or by errors—because changes would disrupt the entire chain. And rather than storing data in one centralized, vulnerable location, data is kept with all parties involved; any alteration to the data must be made identically at all points.
Here’s a quick look at a few big ways blockchain technology will affect hotels.
Blockchain Makes Hotel Payments Simpler and More Secure
This technology underlies cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which are considerably more secure than traditional financial transactions. Hotels can accept cryptocurrency for faster, safer monetary exchanges between their systems and their guests, vendors and other parties. Along with protecting money, this better safeguards guests’ private information and builds trust. Even without involving cryptocurrency, blockchain can make standard credit card transactions more secure and more streamlined, especially internationally.
Blockchain Adds Transparency to Online Hotel Reviews
Today, 91 percent of consumers read online reviews, and 84 percent of people trust them as much as personal recommendations, as Inc. reports. But fake reviews are a plague on sites like Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor and others. These can create unrealistic expectations in guests and portray hotels and resorts in unfairly negative ways. Often, there’s no assurance that a reviewer even stayed at the hotel. But blockchain-based review sites are already changing this and greatly increasing transparency. Reviews are far more trustworthy, and hotels can be more confident and proactive about publicly making amends to guests who had disappointing experiences.
Blockchain Facilitates Cheaper Online Hotel Bookings
Online travel booking websites like Travelocity and Priceline have had an enormous effect on the way consumers make travel arrangements. While they ostensibly save travelers money—especially when they bundle multiple reservations—hotels and other companies in the travel and hospitality industries generally pay commissions that cause them to raise rates. Decentralized blockchain-based travel booking sites will eliminate middlemen and associated costs, directly connecting consumers to the best rates from the businesses they patronize. Also, cryptocurrency will eliminate transaction fees, which will slightly lower prices.
Don’t Lose Sight of the Most Traditional Ways to Improve Guest Experience
Blockchain has lots of promise for building your hotel brand, but there’s still no substitute for a trained and knowledgeable staff! Contact the experts at Gecko Hospitality for help recruiting top talent to deliver the best guest experiences at all times.