Revolutionizing the Travel and Hospitality Industry with Blockchain and NFTs
How to Leverage Blockchain Technology in the Travel and Hospitality Industries?
Metaverse and Web3 in Hospitality — Viewpoint by Simone Puorto
To understand how the Travel and Hospitality industry can benefit from blockchain, it is appropriate to focus on two fundamental points: immutability of the data written on the distributed ledger and programmability of the data itself. On a blockchain, the dispersion of the ledger is such as to guarantee to everybody, and in a transparent manner, the possibility of verifying the validity of a transaction from its origins and to ensure that once it has been approved in a blockchain, it can no longer be disallowed.
By 'transaction' I mean a complex concept that joins both the data (i.e., the information) and the rules that manage it; we call this conceptual set 'Smart Contract'. A Smart Contract is - thus - the 'translation' into computer code of a contract, which allows for the automatic verification of the occurrence of certain conditions and the automatic execution of actions when the conditions determined between the parties are reached and ascertained.
Disintermediation and decentralisation, together with the immutability of the data written on the distributed ledger and the distributed computational capacity, can thus benefit the Travel and Hospitality Industries in terms of, for example: efficiency in the management of supply chains, optimisation of processes (especially the more repetitive ones) to the benefit of the traveller, and the lowering of barriers to entry for small realities and operators who can promote valuable initiatives linked to their territories (e.g. wine, food, wine and culture initiatives).
The possibility offered by blockchain to support the creation and management of NFTs is a further opportunity for the travel and hospitality sector.
An NFT is a digital token that allows whoever owns it to claim the availability of an asset (tangible or intangible), while also being able to exploit the rights associated with it or related to it. To give a very simple example, let us think of a digital voucher that allows access to a particular site, or to take advantage of a preferential route, to unlock an experience and witness its authenticity. Despite being digital, our token is immune to the risk of replication, and thus cannot be cloned, thanks to the very blockchain on which it was minted or exchanged.
With NFTs, therefore, travel coupons can be tokenized, by giving them an outlet in secondary markets, characterised by the traveller's particular needs (last minute, last chance, best-fit-opportunity, ...). In addition (and here I raise my eyes a little, suggesting the exercise of 'lateral' thinking), the use of NFT can be extremely functional in supporting experiential tourism, enabling a sharing of the story of the journey, the places visited and the relationships with destinations and territories that can be put to value. The "tokenization of emotions" (to use a term I coined and explained in my last book "All about NFTs", Hoepli pubblisher), makes it possible to represent an authentic value, in a reputational key, that can be "spent", for example, for story-telling at the return of the trip or after the experience, to the benefit of the destination, the operator and the tourist.
Finally, NFT and blockchain can also find an important use in business travel by streamlining certain processes. I am thinking of the benefits that companies and employees could have in the booking and reporting of expenses, in compliance with company policies: notarisation of expenses/travel contracts, smart contracts for control and compliance with rules, the advantage offered to corporate payments where fungible tokens are used - a sort of branded currency that can be spent on the basis of established rules -, which are controlled at the very moment the expenditure takes place).