The UTU-Travala partnership illustrates how operators within the hard-hit travel sector are working to improve the customer experience as a means of sustaining themselves throughout and beyond the current Covid-19 crisis.
UTU Protocol, a decentralized, AI-powered trust protocol, has confirmed that it will partner with Travala, a leading blockchain-based travel booking platform. The partnership will ensure that users booking travel or accommodation via Travala can rely on verified, trusted reviews. Furthermore, Travala will also become integrated into UTU’s subsidiary network of mobility apps, including MARAMOJA, a taxi app with tens of thousands of users across Africa. Holders of the UTU token can now also spend them within the Travala platform.
Trust within the online travel booking sector has been a long-standing problem. Websites such as TripAdvisor have spawned an entire industry of fake reviews. In 2018, travel association ABTA found that only two in five prospective travelers trusted in review sites for information.
UTU Protocol was born out of a recognition that for any marketplace to operate successfully, establishing trust is a prerequisite. The company came to this realization when launching MARAMOJA, an Uber-like taxi service in Africa. It went on to develop UTU as an AI-powered, trusted recommendation service based on social relationships. Users can stake UTU tokens to make meaningful endorsements of individuals and users they trust.
Therefore, the application of UTU has obvious benefits in the travel and hotel sector, an industry that relies heavily on recommendations but is also plagued by fake reviews.
Travala was started in 2017 with the ambition of decentralizing travel and has grown to offer over three million travel products globally, including hotels, flights, tours, and activities. Users can pay in 30 leading cryptocurrencies, which now also includes the UTU token. Users of Travala will now be able to see personalized recommendations based on legitimate reviews.
Travel Sector Turning to Blockchain
The UTU-Travala partnership illustrates how operators within the hard-hit travel sector are working to improve the customer experience as a means of sustaining themselves throughout and beyond the current Covid-19 crisis. Recently, it also emerged that the southern Chinese island province of Hainan is considering implementing a blockchain-based rewards program to help stimulate tourism in the region. By storing reward points on the blockchain, the tourism board can offer travelers multiple redemption options, increasing flexibility and the overall value of the accrued benefits.
Blockchain technology could even help restart the global travel industry following the events of 2020. Estonia is widely considered to be one of the world’s most digital-forward nations, and Bloomberg recently reported that the World Health Organization is working with innovators in the country to issue blockchain-based digital vaccination certificates. Although a vaccine has yet to be released, it’s thought that one could be ready by the end of 2020. The ability to certify immunity for those who’ve received the vaccine will be an essential step in restoring trust in the safety of global air travel.
Estonian enterprise blockchain firm Guardtime is leading a pilot in issuing blockchain-based immunity passports. Guardtime has previously worked with the Estonian platform on several e-government initiatives. However, the most critical challenge with the Covid-19 vaccine project is in building a platform that could scale to global demand by potentially billions of people.
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