UK travel technology suppliers Dolphin Dynamics, Intuitive and Australia’s Tourism Technology have collaborated on a new blockchain enabled travel platform.

Travel Ledger, a distributed billing and settlement platform for the travel industry, is already in talks with a major OTA to join the pioneering project.

Dolphin Dynamics’ Roberto De Re has been working full-time on the project since last October having relinquished day-to-day duties at the technology firm he founded.

He will give a talk about the potential of blockchain technology in a seminar at the Travel Technology Europe Event on February 21-22 and will be available to delegates in the Café sponsored by Dolphin Dynamics.

The founding group of travel technology developers and travel companies will work on bringing the project to market before it is handed over to a not-for-profit organisation, the Travel Leger Alliance that will take over governance of the platform.

Da Re said: “The billing and settlement area in travel has been crying out for proper automation for years.

“We have such a good example with Iata’s Billing Settlement Plan, now blockchain, and smart contract technology presents a unique opportunity to create such a platform for non-air transactions in a cost-efficient way whilst putting the community itself in control.

“While similar schemes have been attempted before and there are niche examples of this working in some countries or verticals, the business model we propose can make this a truly global initiative, delivering huge benefits to all travel companies worldwide.”

To ensure that Travel Ledger is truly an industry initiative, both owned and run by the travel community, voting rights will be granted to the companies providing power to the network (the masternodes) and to the holders of the value token used on the platform.

Tourism Technology managing director Graeme Hunter said: “From an automation perspective, payment processing and reconciliation is quite outdated in our industry. This platform will bring long overdue efficiencies to all parties and will create the backbone to make further use of blockchain technology into the future.”

Paul Nixon, managing director of Intuitive added: “This project will deliver an immediate benefit to the implementing companies.

“Intuitive is delighted to be involved in an initiative that employs the innovative implementation of emerging technology to solve a long-standing industry problem that impacts the entire supply chain.”

The Travel Ledger platform will allow all billing records between buyers and sellers of travel products to be stored in a shared, decentralised and authenticated ledger, establishing a ‘single source of truth’ for all parties.

It will support settling or recording of payments in a secure and transparent manner. Travel companies using Travel Ledger will not have to change their existing processes.
The transaction on Travel Ledger will be completely invisible to the user and, depending on how automated their back office system is, it will further automate the travel purchasing and settlement process.

While the initial release will be focused on the delivery of the seller statement to the buyer, subsequent phases will focus on automating the payment aspect; acting as a gateway for bank payments, credit/debit cards and even cryptocurrencies, to offer companies a full range of ways to do business together, without having funds transition via any third party.

Once payments are integrated, sellers will be able to automatically process and reconcile all payments on the receiving end. The project is being built on the Ethereum platform which is currently considered the most mature and enterprise-ready smart contract platform.

The governing body, the Travel Ledger Alliance, will be composed of a small board of advisors and an operational body to manage the platform and the development team, plus a business development team promoting the API to travel technology companies around the world.

This simple API, combined with a financial reward, will incentivise travel technology companies to integrate with the platform and enable their customers to use it without needing to fund the integration helping to rapidly attain broad adoption across the industry.

A whitepaper and full details of the project are currently being shared only with the founders. A public version of the whitepaper will be published ahead of a token generation event.

Firms interested in the project or who want to become a part of the founding team can sign up to receive a newsletter on the Travel Ledger Alliance website