Webjet rolls out 'blockchain as a service' to hotel partners

Four aboard the Rezchain to reduce disputed bookings

Webjet has rolled out ‘blockchain as a service’ to four external partners, to help them reduce the financial losses and pain caused by disputed bookings.

Rezchain, which has been developed over the last two years with expertise from Microsoft, enables participating travel companies to more easily reconcile accounts payable and accounts receivable issues and cut the out-of-pocket costs that unreconciled data is likely to cause.

The company estimates between three and five per cent of bookings are disputed in some way, and can often take months to resolve. In many cases, bookings are not invoiced at all, meaning one party is out-of-pocket.

“Rezchain is the hotel distribution industry’s first functioning blockchain enabled technology platform where companies share data ‘on chain’ to address mismatched data in real time, eliminating disputes at invoice time,” Webjet explained.

Presenting Webjet’s half year results to analysts and media this morning, managing director John Guscic said Rezchain was a major competitive advantage and that no-one else in the sector was doing anything similar.

“Buoyed by the success that we’ve had with internal testing, we have demonstrated to a number of our largest partners what this can do. And we’re basically batting four for four,” Guscic said.

European travel agency Thomas Cook, China’s DidaTravel, Mitra Global in Indonesia, and pan-Asia hotel chain, Far East Hospitality are the first to sign Rezchain agreements.

“We went to a number of businesses we knew were craving for innovation...Assuming they see the same level of success that we have demonstrated so far, we will roll this out to a broader customer base at some point in FY19,” Guscic added.

Webjet is helping onboard the partners, so they can easily make an assessment of its benefits.

“It can be overwhelming for a travel company to consider adopting a new process that also requires the steep learning curve of a new technology” said Graham Anderson, Webjet’s head of technology.

“Rezchain offers a simple entry point to blockchain efficiencies and allows companies to choose when and if they want to be part of the underlying infrastructure.”

The company said it expected over time for larger organisations to start contributing computing power and running their own mining nodes.

“Rezchain requires no technical integration on the part of the participating company; a simple daily file is all that is necessary to begin matching data and solving booking issues” Guscic added.

“In a low margin, high transaction volume business, it is essential to find ways to be more efficient and eliminate administrative burdens that add no value. It was this fundamental principal has led to the development of Rezchain,” he said.

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