Today Winding Tree announced the successful pilot of a live booking for Hobo Hotel Stockholm, part of the Nordic Choice Hotels group. The startup claims this is the first hotel booking on a public blockchain, in this case Ethereum.
“We’re really excited to be the first hotel to jump onto the blockchain bandwagon, showing real customer use of decentralized technology,” says Christian Lunden, Director of Future Business at Nordic Choice Hotels. “The ability to make reservations on a public blockchain is a huge achievement, and we’re looking forward to continuing to educating the industry about the importance of incorporating blockchain technology into the space.”
Winding Tree’s goal has always been to leverage public blockchains and to date has signed deals with numerous high profile airlines including Air Canada, Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and subsidiary Eurowings, Swiss Air, Swissport, Brussels Airlines, Austrian Airlines, and Air New Zealand. The airlines were not involved in the pilot hotel transaction.
The organization aims to cut out intermediaries and the associated costs to create a decentralized marketplace. Without mentioning names, it asserts that there are efforts by industry middlemen to create private blockchains to maintain their control and cost layers. In previous statements, it has pointed to Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport as having a combined 99% market share in non-direct airline ticket sales. Travelport is working on a blockchain with help from IBM. ARC which processes payments for many U.S. agencies is also involved in multiple blockchain initiatives.
The platform allows hotels or travel providers to accept fiat, credit card or the Ether or Lif cryptocurrencies. In February 2018 Winding Tree raised just over $14 million in an ICO.
“We’re not just giving customers the option to pay with Bitcoin and saying this is ‘distribution on the blockchain.’ We’re providing a platform that allows the travel industry to create real change within an industry traditionally closed that relies on systems established nearly 30 years ago,” says Pedro Anderson, Co-Founder and COO of Winding Tree.
“The core of the platform is open source and distributed, which creates endless possibilities for real customer use, including lower costs, security, connectivity, and unlimited innovation opportunities.”