Using Blockchain to Promote Trust in the Hospitality Industry

With data collection at the heart of AI innovation, the hospitality industry needs to remain compliant with increased regulatory scrutiny and engage with customers regarding any data concerns they may have.

Many hospitality organisations already have several processes in place to deal with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into effect in May 2018. GDPR has impacted the collection and processing of European citizens’ personal data globally; yet, the increased use of AI adds a further level of complexity that needs careful management going forward.

Blockchain is one technology that is emerging in a way not only to help take the complexity out of AI data use, but also to promote greater trust. Essentially, blockchain is a public digital ledger of transactions. The transactions or ‘blocks’ are held in a database and information cannot be altered, which makes it secure. While information is accessible, it is not stored in one place which means it is less vulnerable to cyber-attack. The information is also time-stamped, so it is both traceable and transparent.

So far, blockchain is being explored by the hospitality industry for a wide range of uses. Secure payment is probably the most practical use for such technology but, increasingly, blockchain can be used for a number of different hospitality industry needs, four of which are highlighted below:

As a shared digital database for ID and security purposes

Systems such as ShoCard/SITA allow customers’ ID details to be stored on the blockchain, in a decentralised, standardised format, enabling travel and hospitality companies to retrieve and verify a customer’s identity at any time, from anywhere.

The storage of digital tokens linked to loyalty programmes

Blockchain-based technology, such as that offered by Trippki, provides a direct connection between hotels and customers. Customers are rewarded with tokens for staying at a hotel, or using hotel amenities. The tokens are then recorded in the ledger and can be used to book future stays or can be exchanged for cash without an expiration date.

Centralised baggage tracking data

We all know how frustrating it is to lose your luggage and then to go through numerous third party agents to try and track where it is. Using an open source blockchain booking and baggage system, companies, like Winding Tree, are providing greater transparency and traceability when it comes to baggage tracking services.

Maximising inventory

Technology offered by the likes of TUI Bed-Swap use blockchain to assess demand and move inventories between different points of sale in real-time, allowing users to flex selling margins based on demand. Additionally, companies such as LockChain offer a decentralised booking engine allowing hotels and other hospitality companies to rent out their vacant property. Operating as an all-in-one platform, it allows both property management and payment to occur in one place.

Technology such as blockchain is set to play an essential role in the ability to offer better targeted guest services. Its efficient use will, however, be reliant on specific expertise and knowledge. As a counsel to hospitality players, Mazars is able to assist in:

– the implementation of strategies that incorporate cutting edge technology,

– the development of  strong security walls to protect data,

– the creation of specific user experience consent frameworks that comply with data protection principles,

–  and digitisation programmes to ensure hotels remain compliant and on track.

 

To learn more, please download our Mazars 2018 Global study on AI in the hospitality industry “Artificial Intelligence: A Game Changer in the Hospitality Industry”

ANTON LISSORGUES