The Blockchain is one of six areas identified by Amadeus as a potential disruptor in the travel sector.
Its promise to change the way we can “exchange value” digitally is seen by the technology firm as a game changer in travel – and other industries.
In its new white paper called Blockchain: harnessing its potential in travel – revealed at its Innovation Launch event in London on Tuesday – Amadeus says that the blockchain could be used in identification verification, simplify international payments, amalgamate loyalty points and improve the tracking of luggage between airports.
Amadeus admits that the blockchain is “still in its early stages of development” but in a video introduction to the launch event compared its adoption to other huge disruptors like the iPhone and the internet itself.
“Just as the internet’s design has allowed us to exchange information very easily and quickly, so could the blockchain open the door to a new iteration of computing that allows ‘value’ to be exchanged between businesses, governments and individuals,” Amadeus says.
Katherine Grass, head of Amadeus Innovation and Ventures, said: “This paper is designed to help shine a light on the many different areas of the travel industry where blockchain is beginning to have an impact, in addition to providing a window into the wider development of the blockchain industry itself. We hope this paper contributes to a greater understanding of blockchain’s potential and helps inspire the industry-wide collaboration necessary to bring these business cases to life.”
On the eve of its 30th birthday, Amadeus also announced a new innovation approach and has identified six core themes which it believes have the most potential to transform the travel industry.
As well as blockchain, these include extended content, improved conversion, messaging platforms, operations and performance, and disruptive forces. The themes were selected based on insight gleaned from conversations with hundreds of start-ups and customers throughout the company.
A new Innovation Partnership Programme was also announced by the firm, which will support growth stage companies working across these six themes to help them pilot their ideas and, if successful, bring them to market faster.
“When it comes to innovation, focus matters. By concentrating our innovation activities on six themes we aim to deliver more value to both our customers and their travellers,” said Alex Luzarraga, vice president of corporate strategy, Amadeus.
“Through our new Innovation Partnership Programme we are bringing together people who think differently but who can act together with curiosity and conviction – this is key to unlocking the potential of new ideas. This is why this programme is founded on combining our internal expertise with the creativity of our external partners, to successfully apply our foresight into the trends shaping the future of travel.”
Amadeus has so far screened 1,350 start-ups, invested in nine of them and has more than 20 joint projects with others. It says the total value of the companies it has invested in is now $1 billion.
The latest company to be invested in by Amadeus is Avuxi, which maps out hotels based on the best-rated places to do other activities such as eat or drink in a bid to drive conversion.