Global bed bank Webjet has unveiled new blockchain technology developed with Microsoft that will help clients verify hotel reservations more effectively.
The listed Australian B2B supplier says discrepancies occur in 5% of hotel booking transactions meaning agents have to divert substantial resources to bookings reconciliation.
It’s distributed leger solution, Rezchain, is claimed to be the first application of blockchain to verifying hotel reservations.
Webjet’s B2B accommodation wholesaling division, WebBeds has been trialing Rezchain it with all of its existing clients for several months.
It is now being made available to any business in the travel industry that transacts over the internet via an XML interface.
After an introductory 30-day free trial, Webjet said the cost of using it will be just a few cents per transaction.
John Guscic, managing director of Webjet, said: “Settlement between hotel suppliers and travel partners can be a complex, time consuming and ultimately 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.”
Webjet estimates that one in three hotel bookings are amended in some way after the original booking is made and one in 10 involve some kind of manual intervention.
Discrepancies often occur in price, duration, booking status, currency, board basis or room type because amendments are not recorded on the booking systems of all relevant parties.
These discrepancies usually go unnoticed until after travel is completed leading to costly and time-consuming invoice disputes.
Webjet described Rezchain as being like a combined “virtual handshake” and “early warning system”.
It enables any two parties to verify that their hotel reservation data matches across both booking systems with no sophisticated IT integration is needed.
Rezchain receives a daily update of all bookings made or modified between two Rezchain connected parties.
It then uses smart contracts and blockchain technology to highlight issues in data submitted, based on agreed matching criteria.
When there is a discrepancy or mismatch, an email alert is triggered to tell both parties that they should take action to correct the records on one side or the other.
If data is received for a new booking from only one party, Rezchain records that as an “incomplete” booking and notifies both sides that one party has the booking recorded and the other side does not.
The system uses a simple CSV file to begin matching data and resolving booking issues.
Webjet said it decided to use blockchain because of its independence, robustness and security.