Blockchain fever seems to have subsided somewhat in recent months, although big players across the travel industry are still experimenting with the technology.
I had a long chat with Travelport’s chief architect Mike Croucher on how the company wants to solve some of the most annoying issues in travel booking using blockchain. He also outlined the vision he has for where the technology will be used going forward, particularly for travelers themselves.
Check out the story below.
We also have the latest on how Amazon’s Alexa is coming to hotel rooms (good luck dealing with increased traveler spending through voice channels) and how Airbnb is partnering with global cities to become a more respectable alternative to hotels.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor
Airlines, Hotels, and Innovation
Interview: Travelport Looks to Solve Hotel Distribution Problems With Blockchain: Some think blockchain can help decentralize travel distribution, which has historically been dominated by a small handful of players. These entrenched companies, however, see blockchain as a technology that can help fix some of the inefficiencies in the travel distribution marketplace without fully disrupting the status quo.
Amazon Wades Into Travel as Hotels Turn to Alexa in Rooms: The next big questions hoteliers might soon be asking themselves: “Alexa, how do I make sure you recommend my hotels when they ask you where they want to stay?” Or, on the flip side: “Why did I invest so much into the modern-day version of the iPod docking station?”
American Airlines Isn’t Sure When It Will Fix Computer Issues at One of Its Regional Airlines: It’s never a good sign when an airline admits it has a technological issue and is not sure when it will fix it. The best advice is for travelers to avoid PSA Airlines. But most passengers book with American Airlines and have no idea what regional carrier is actually operating the flight. That’s a problem.
United Moves Up Its Plans for Premium Economy: Elite loyalty members of United’s MileagePlus program will be able to get free upgrades to international premium economy cabins this summer as the product fully rolls out.
The Future of Travel
How Nairobi-Based Ridesharing Service Little Competes With Uber in Africa: On the streets of Nairobi, homegrown ridesharing service Little is giving Uber a run for its money. And judging by the growth, innovative ideas are proving just as useful as deep pockets.
JetBlue’s Founder Is Raising Cash for a New U.S. Airline, Report Says: For most entrepreneurs, even otherwise successful ones, it’s a mistake to start an airline from scratch. The startup costs are immense, and most new airlines fail. But David Neeleman knows airlines, and he has started many of them, including JetBlue Airways and Azul. His track record suggests he might succeed where others would not.
Airbnb’s Partnership Strategy in Japan May Serve as Global Model: Airbnb’s moves in Japan are smart for its future growth. But again we can’t help but wonder: Why is the company so willing to fully comply with local laws in certain regions, like Japan, but so reluctant to do the same in others, like New York City?
Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.