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Australian Travel Firm Trials Blockchain Bookings with Partner Microsoft

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By Samburaj Das for CryptocoinsNews

Australian hotel and online travel firm Webjet has built a blockchain proof-of-concept (PoC) with tech giant Microsoft as its partner, the company revealed. Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform was used to host the blockchain to put it through the tests.

The proof-of-concept solution is primarily aimed at its business-to-business division, according to the Australian Financial Review, with the aim to curb booking errors that routinely occur during any part of a booking transaction where travel agents, hotels and customers are involved.

A single hotel stay could typically, involve five or more transactions in the distribution chain, Webjet managing director John Guscic revealed, adding. “between five and 10 percent of bookins can be impacted (due to discrepencies) or, in other words, up to 10 billion dollars’ worth of transactions.”

Having completed testing the blockchain proof-of-concept over a 6-month-period with Microsoft, Guscic revealed:

Blockchain eliminates transaction errors by having an indisputable record of truth. As we’ve tested the technology, we quickly realized it had to the potential to improve processes with the rest of our travel partners who face similar complexities.

During its testing, Webjet reportedly developed a smart-contract solution over its blockchain, simulating a hotel booking transaction between two parties. This information would be seen as an indisputable record with a permanent footprint in the blockchain, with any edits or changes to a booking logged – also permanently – on the ledger.

The blockchain PoC was plenty successful, leading to Guscic stating:

We realized facilitating bookings in the travel industry through blockchain could become an additional business we could enter in the future, and the same technology could help solve problems outside the travel industry.

The testing process also proved that the blockchain PoC resulted in curbing data inaccuracies, streamlining the payment process and enhancing data security – specifically through individual notes and a “read/write-once database”.

Blockchain Rollout

The travel booking firm will implement the blockchain solution with select hotels brands trialing the platform for bookings, initially. The second phase will see the same brands trial the innovation for its automated processing and features before a wider rollout will see other relevant parties to use the platform.

A notable takeaway from the blockchain endeavor is the realization of the booking-specific blockchain PoC to have an impact in industries beyond the travel space. Microsoft agrees with partner Webjet, as Azure tech chief Mark Russinovich stating:

By working with Webjet to use our digital platform, together we have created an innovative blockchain solution in Australia that has the potential to not only transform the travel industry but many other industries as well.

First appeared at CCN

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