This interview is part of our new Blockchain In The Travel Industry series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and travel.
In this interview we speak with Alex Lamb, CTO of Arise, to understand how his company is using blockchain and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Arise? Why and how did you begin?
AL: My co-founder, Nadim El Manawy and I have previously worked together at a cloud-based hotel software startup in San Francisco. We were exposed to the challenges hoteliers face when distributing their inventory for sale in a global market, and saw an opportunity for an application of distributed ledger technology that would greatly reduce distribution costs for hotels, so we started Arise to explore that possibility.
2. Please describe your use case and how Arise uses blockchain:
AL: To start, we're specifically focusing on the technological advantages of using a distributed ledger to help partners in the hospitality industry work together with improved transparency and efficiency by removing the need for certain trusted third-parties. We need to offer the industry something that is significantly better than the centralized solutions in place today, and the value of rebuilding the existing model with decentralized control isn't good enough to drive adoption.
With this in mind, our first use-case focuses on tracking and reconciliation of commissions between hotels and other businesses that sell their rooms to travelers online. DLT allows both parties to share a single, auditable record of the current state of each hotel reservation helping them automate a process that can take up to 18 months to complete with existing technology. Today, millions of dollars in commissions go uncollected each month because of mismatched records and a lack of transparency.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
AL: We can't name a specific customer because we're under a NDA, but we're helping a multi-billion dollar player in the travel ecosystem share data with their partners in a way that all sides can trust as a source-of-truth for business process automation.
4. What other blockchain use cases in the travel industry are you excited about?
AL: Distribution of hotel content and inventory is something we're excited about. Making hotel inventory available for booking on a blockchain, whether its public or private, really opens up the possibility of creating a true B2B travel marketplace where suppliers put their inventory into a network with a price they're willing to pay to receive bookings and distributors can pick and choose the inventory that is the best fit for their audience.
All sides can be confident they'll get paid without the need for businesses to trust one another across borders.
5. Where will Arise be in five years?
AL: We hope that a significant amount of travel inventory is being distributed with our technology. Travel is a massive industry and hotel booking revenue alone is approaching $600 billion a year. We hope to facilitate the transfer of information, commissions and maybe even guest payments in a more efficient and transparent way moving forward.