The travel industry is constantly changing. Over the past couple of decades, people have begun to value experience over luxury, especially as the price of travel and lodging rises. Travelers are more commonly choosing to hoof it with a backpack than check into a 5-star resort. Budget travel has also become a more prominent ideal, with people eagerly tapping into travel reward programs. Unfortunately though, when it comes to spending power, reward points often fall short of expectation.
The current travel reward system is vastly underutilized due to a lack of versatility. Points are largely earned by booking hotel rooms. Those points can typically only be spent by booking with the same hotel, if you get the chance to use them; points often expire before guests earn enough to be of any value. Furthermore, online travel agents (OTAs) hinder the relationship between hotels and their guests. OTAs, while a great research tool, store mass amounts of personal information on those who book with them. This information is later used to re-target advertising and draw the customer back to the OTA platform. This makes it harder for the hotel to understand their guest’s needs and habits. These common inefficiencies are what Trippki CEO, Ed Cunningham, set out to fix.
“Trippki is a hotel booking and rewards platform that creates a new, and better, the relationship between hotels and their guests,” says Cunningham. This innovative travel rewards program uses their own cryptocurrency, TRIP, to reward guests. Travelers can earn TRIP in a number of ways, from booking a room to posting on social media. This exponentially increases the number of ways travelers can earn TRIP.
Cunningham explains that Trippki is utilizing blockchain technology to, “create a more versatile travel rewards protocol that empowers guests to travel more often and establish mutually-beneficial relationships with hotels.” Blockchain technology enables information to be logged in an immutable ledger, allowing companies and individuals to keep track of important information. In this case, it is powering Trippki’s travel rewards platform.
Cunningham got his start in the travel industry 25 years ago in Zimbabwe. He specialized in operating safari tours in countries throughout southern Africa like Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Botswana. He eventually ended up in Uruguay, where he, “met an eclectic group of American ex-pats that were passionate about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.” Cunningham immediately saw the value in applying this new and exciting technology to the travel industry. With this new information he headed to London to build a team.
Trippki plans to disrupt the dated travel industry with their use of blockchain technology and their cryptocurrency, TRIP. Trippki has already begun negotiating partnerships with many popular hotel chains in southern Africa and the UK to participate on the platform. Cunningham plans to grow involvement, “through network effect at the customer level through referrals and affiliations together with the on-boarding hotels through our business development activities.”
Cunningham has been able to combine his expertise in the travel industry with his newfound faith in blockchain technology. His advice to entrepreneurs? “Don’t give up on your vision and surround yourself with like-minded successful people who add kudos to your project.”
Blockchain technology has disrupted a variety of industries so far, and travel could possibly be next on the list. Trippki’s versatile rewards program empowers travelers to travel more often while getting more bangs for their buck.