Webjet, the owner of B2B accommodation provider WebBeds, has unveiled Rezchain, a new technology that enables users to eliminate costly discrepancies that occur in up to five per cent of hotel booking transactions.
The technology, pioneered in collaboration with Microsoft, makes use of blockchain, which also underpins cryptocurrencies. Rezchain is touted to be the first application of blockchain to verifying hotel reservations.
Approximately one in every three hotel bookings are amended in some way after the reservation was first made and one in every 10 bookings experience some kind of manual intervention, according to Webjet. Discrepancies typically occur in price, duration, booking status, currency, board basis or room type because the amendments were not recorded on the booking systems of all the relevant parties, be it the hotel, travel agent, tour operator or other online intermediary.
Typically, discrepancies between accommodation trading platforms go unnoticed until after the travel is completed, resulting in costly, time consuming and embarrassing invoice disputes that cause hotels and travel companies to lose out on expected revenues, said the company in a statement.
Rezchain, like a combined virtual handshake and early warning system, enables any two parties to verify that their hotel reservation data matches across both booking systems and, conveniently, 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 only one party has the booking recorded. A simple daily CSV file is all that is necessary to begin matching data and resolving booking issues.
Webjet’s managing director John Guscic 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.”
WebBeds says it has been trialing Rezchain with all of its brands successfully 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, the cost of using it will be a few cents per transaction.