The world's largest tourism company is using blockchain to track internal contracts – and is striking a bullish note on the tech's long-term prospects in the travel industry.
TUI Group, based in Germany, owns more than 1,600 travel agencies worldwide, as well as airlines, cruise lines and other leisure business ventures. The firm – which boasts 20 million customers worldwide and reported more than $17 billion in revenue last year – is eyeing additional applications across its business lines as well.
In recent comments, according to travel tech website Tnooz, CEO Fritz Joussen talked about a TUI project called BedSwap, which uses blockchain tech as part of a system for maintaining real-time records of hotel inventories. He predicted the work could yield millions of euros in savings over the next several years.
In the long-term, TUI is eyeing a shift to a system where it manages all information about its properties across a distributed network. Speaking during a July interview with travel industry newspaper Skift, Joussen stated:
"It's cheaper, has a higher performance, and is accessible from everywhere – it's a pure cost equation".
He went as far as predicting that the tech would disrupt booking giants like Expedia, Airbnb and Booking.com, arguing that their "monopolistic structures" are reliant on heavy ad spending.
"Blockchain destroys this," he said.
Looking ahead, according to Tnooz, TUI is weighing whether it should spin off its blockchain projects into a separate entity, but as it stands the company hasn't made any decisions.
TUI plane image via Fasttailwind/Shutterstock.com