Our focus is travel. The operation of travel websites is primarily centralized. A travel booking website such as Expedia is indeed centralized. After exploring some basics of these types of platforms, the focus will move toward how blockchains can be used for decentralization of travel type platforms.
Blockchains Help to Decentralize Travel Booking
An operation like Expedia streamlined the travel booking process and tightened up the entire process compared to how travel was booked before website platforms such as Expedia existed. Travel agents, which were middlemen, played a major role prior to website booking platforms.
Still, the end user, the consumer, was dealing with a middleman for big hotels. That middleman was no longer the travel agent, it was now the booking engine.
Then came Airbnb. Airbnb really shook things up. Big hotel operations were now not a part or in control of the travel booking process. Previously, big hotels drove travel bookings and tasks (like booking stays) were assigned to middlemen which added much to the expense of travel.
Airbnb cut out the middlemen and made finding a place to stay for the night or longer much more affordable and much easier. Suddenly, there was a more direct peer to peer option to rent a room while you traveled.
Even though Airbnb cut out most of the middlemen in the travel booking sector, their operation was not decentralized. Yes, they were able to offer travelers accommodations at lower rates than any other source. This was brand new and people liked saving money.
However, Airbnb themselves are a middleman. Their vendors have to pay a hefty booking fee. We’re talking booking fees of up to 12% for “guest services”. There are also other fees and service fees involve. Vendors raise their fees to offset these fees and the consumers end up having to pay more.
With blockchains, there is no need for a middleman. They are fast and efficient. The middleman jobs that people are doing can be performed by blockchains.
Smart contracts come into play. They help to produce a system where middlemen and middlemen fees are not needed. Digital identities can be created and used. Digital identities are used to track and record loyalty points within the blockchain. Transaction payments are streamlined and accomplished thanks to global ledgers.
Thanks to all this, no more middleman fees. So, the Airbnb 12% guest service fee is now gone along with other fees and service fees. The consumer saves money.
How is this Accomplished?
What makes this possible is the platform. Blockchains, smart contracts, and the rest enable the project platform. A company creates the project platform where both renters and vendors can directly connect. This means lower prices for the consumer because, once again, there’s no middleman.
Having a variety of ways the consumer can pay creates awareness for the project platform. Project tokens can be used. Popular cryptocurrencies can be used to make payment. These are just two examples. There are more.
Concierge .io is a project platform that is already doing this. This platform utilizes p2p (peer to peer) interactions between vendors and renters.
The consumer has their ideal place in mind. Within the platform, they can tell the vendor who has the listing their wants and needs. With Concierge, whats called the NEO Platform is used. Smart contracts named NEO Contracts are created which make sure that all parties involved get the best deal possible. The smart contract locks in the cryptocurrency payment and once all the obligations are met and complete, payment is released.
What Exactly is NEO and Why are We Talking About it?
NEO is a blockchain. Ethereum is a blockchain. NEO is a BaaS. It is a Blockchain as a service. So, platforms can build their products on either of these blockchains. The reason for mentioning them is because they are both popular and they are competitors.
They may use different programming languages but they are both blockchains as a service token competitors.
Wrapping it Up
Using travel as our focus simply helped to illustrate how decentralization thanks to blockchains, platforms, smart contracts, and cryptocurrencies can create more efficient offerings of products and services at a savings to the consumer.