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Webjet launches Blockchain to eliminate errors

The concept of Blockchain involves binary data captured inside each block.

Online hotel and travel retailer Webjet has introduced Blockchain technology on its hotel booking software in an effort to eliminate mistakes or omitted information and to ensure all parties involved in a booking are communicating effectively.

The technology, known as ‘Rezchain’, acts as an early warning system whereby information contained within a booking is matched across the systems of all parties involved in a booking and alerts generated if any discrepancies or mismatches are found. Rezchain can link to booking systems operated by hotels, travel agents, tour operators and any other online intermediary involved.

Drawing on automatically-generated daily updates, Rezchain draws on data across all linked booking systems to highlight and potential issues based on agreed matching criteria. If correcting action is found from one party only, the system notifies all parties that the booking is currently incomplete.

Blockchain is a secure series of time-stamped records on data managed by, but not owned by, any one party operating in a peer-to-peer network. Related transactions are bundled together into ‘blocks’, secured and bound to the one immediately preceding it, meaning data can be recorded in order that it is received. Changes can only be made if 51% of parties involved approves of said change, making a process nearly impossible to corrupt. The cost of operating Blockchain usually ends up being a few cents per transaction.

Webjet Managing Director, John Guscic, said the settlement process between suppliers can be a time-consuming and costly process.

“With multiple IT systems speaking different languages, mistakes are probable, and the default position is often to write off debts when the situation is not clear. For years, the industry considered it a cost of doing business. But, with Rezchain, it doesn’t have to be that way any longer.”

The move comes in response to data showing 5% or one in every three hotel bookings are amended in some way after the initial transaction. Further, one in 10 bookings features some kind of manual intervention, such as information being provided to a third party or supplier involved in facilitating the booking.

According to the data, discrepancies are generally found in matters involving price, duration, booking status, currency, board basis or room type due to any amendments made not being accurately recorded by all parties involved. Data often manually includes bedding requests, medical information, information on special occasions or other advisories.

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