A blockchain-based travel booking site has teamed up with a leading online travel agency in a deal that could bring its consumer-focused hotel and airfare reservation marketplace before a global audience.
Australia-based Webjet has invested $4.1 million into LockTrip with a view toward integrating the consumer travel site and its LOC blockchain into the Webjet OTA platform — an industry leader in its home country and New Zealand.
In addition, Webjet will explore migrating its own enterprise blockchain project, the Rezchain booking verification system, onto LockTrip’s decentralized, proof-of-stake Hydra Chain. That would be a big step towards LockTrip’s ultimate goal for the blockchain, which is tokenizing the hotel and broader travel industry supplier marketplace.
At the same time, it would supercharge the Hydra transactional economy as the bookings of thousands of travel agencies worldwide would be funneled through this blockchain — making Hydra one of the most-adopted networks worldwide.
As part of the deal, Webjet managing director John Guscic and corporate development director Lynne Oldfield will join the board of LockTrip. In addition to the $4.1 million investment, the deal could expand to a second round, consisting of an additional $4.2 million investment that would give Webjet a 51% stake in LockTrip — albeit one with several protective measures built into it to strengthen the LOC economy at the heart of the LockTrip travel marketplace.
If the two-year integration of LockTrip into Webjet is successful, “the LOC economy would be supercharged by the existing business of a global superbrand that has millions of active users,” said LockTrip CEO Nikola Alexandrov. “This makes the deal unprecedented in the blockchain space.”
The perfect marriage
While the investment of up to $8.3 million was a big factor for LockTrip, the deal was the culmination of a two-year process in which the blockchain firm was focused mainly on how the partnership would accelerate its “mission of decentralizing the travel industry.”
That began when Webjet first contacted LockTrip in 2019, while working on Rezchain.
“From the initial conversation, we were impressed with the way the founders approached solving the well-known challenges of a public blockchain, and felt they had a game changing opportunity to utilize the fundamental features of blockchain to improve the hotel distribution landscape,” Guscic said. “Having identified the exciting potential that LockTrip and Hydra could offer, we began to explore a deeper relationship, which has resulted in today’s announcement.”
For LockTrip, the deal brings with it a partner that has a strong belief in the ability of blockchain technology to reshape the travel booking industry, as well as very strong knowledge of and experience with the many different levels and verticals of the travel business — and industry-wide reach, influence and brand recognition.
More insights from LockTrip here
A strong, distributed travel database
Although Webjet is best known for its consumer booking site, its largest division is its WebBeds room wholesaling division, the world’s second-largest buyer and reseller of room inventory to travel agencies and OTAs. That makes the addition of Hydra, which provides real-world businesses a feature optimized blockchain platform, a very good fit.
While Rezchain is up and running, Hydra’s ability to support fixed transaction fees in U.S. dollars, scalability that is capable of supporting parallel processing of transactions from a single wallet — important for business clients — and the security of its proof-of-stake validation platform offer the tools needed to build a strong distributed travel database, the companies feel.
“Public blockchains are typically slow, resource hungry and have unpredictable pricing,” said Oldfield. “With the release of Hydra Chain, the founders of LockTrip provide a robust, scalable platform for genuine commercial applications.”
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