Roberto Da Re used the Travel Technology Europe event this week to call on exhibitors to join his newly launched Travel Ledger Alliance.
Da Re is chief executive of Dolphin Dynamics, but earlier this month launched a new blockchain-based billing and settlement platform, called Travel Ledger, on which he will now focus.
“The area of reconciliation, and settlement, has been a focus of ours for many years, due to the many clients of Dolphin Dynamics that use our back office system,” Da Re told TTG. “I’m painfully aware of the problem our customers have.”
Issues that can arise include hotel billbacks – where agents making a booking will confirm a reservation and contact the hotel to make a pre-payment, so that the guest is not charged for the room when they check-out. However, on some occasions guests are charged at check-out as the hotel may not have the payment details.
Travel Ledger aims to automate the travel purchasing process along the entire distribution chain. The platform will replace the current billing, reconciliation and settlement process to make it “fast, easy and inexpensive to transact non-airline provided travel services”, it claims.
Da Re said in aviation there were fewer issues, owing to Iata’s Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP). Iata’s BSP improves financial control and cash flow for BSP airlines. The system is used by 370 airlines, with an on-time settlement rate of 99.999%. In 2017, it processed $236.3 billion.
“When you step away from airlines it’s different. So how can we solve the problem? I’d spent 18 months previously researching the area of blockchain, and smart contracts as a pastime. I thought ‘this is so powerful’.”
He argued that trust plays an important role, with Iata’s BSP effectively acting as a “clearing house”. Blockchain, he added, can act as that trust – “technology allows all the benefits of an automated environment without the need to use a clearing house”, he added.
Meanwhile, Travel Ledger in particular will appeal to bed banks that operate in many countries, and Da Re said he was poised to announce a bed bank partner and an OTA partner in the coming weeks. Talks with TMCs are ongoing.
“The business model is to incentivise travel IT companies. We want companies here [at TTE] to provide the infrastructure, so they have the opportunity to generate recurring revenue. The more people using it, the more [money] they get. We want companies like Traveltek and Vertical, and so far everybody’s interested."