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A new distribution landscape: Bringing blockchain to the travel industry

When it comes to digitisation, the travel industry offers a complex environment. Companies who do not specialise in travel find it difficult to enter the market, as direct access to the offers of airlines, hotels and other service providers would require negotiations with every single player.
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Few intermediaries currently dominate the market. A brake pad for further innovative development of the distribution of travel offers.

Lufthansa Group is always looking for forward-looking partners who share the vision of a new distribution landscape. The Lufthansa Group is, therefore, working closely with the Switzerland-based startup Winding Tree.

Reorganising travel distribution


Winding Tree has dedicated itself to the reorganisation of travel distribution. With a decentralised B2B marketplace system powering blockchain-based travel booking transactions, startups and companies will be able to gain direct access to travel service providers' offerings without the inefficiencies given by a setup with many intermediaries.

Simply put, in the future, airlines, hotels and other travel service providers will offer their services on Winding Tree's platform, and companies interested in content will only connect to the B2B blockchain-distributed digital marketplace to present specific offers tailored to their customers' needs. This will result in a large number of new apps for travellers, who will then be able to book Lufthansa Group flights via the offer that best suits their preferences.

“Lufthansa Group has engaged in the development of APIs, for instance supporting IATA NDC standard, to offer a direct access to its offers to customers and distribution partners", said Markus Binkert, senior vice president, distribution and revenue management Lufthansa Group Airlines. "By integrating these APIs with Winding Tree’s public blockchain Lufthansa Group enables all innovative partners who develop cutting-edge travel applications to access these offers via a decentralised and intermediate-free travel marketplace."

Scalability, efficiency, validity put to the test


In order to finance the initial development and facilitate acceptance by suppliers, Winding Tree is launching a token sale of its cryptocurrency "Líf" on 1 November. To reinforce its confidence in the new technology. Lufthansa Group is participating in the presale after regulatory clearance from Swiss authorities.

“The partnership with the Lufthansa Group will allow us to build blockchain-based travel apps which not only adhere to the requirements of airlines, but we will be able to test these with Europe's largest airline, further validating the efficiency and scalability of the platform. Lufthansa Group is setting an example for the travel industry,” said Maksim Izmaylov, founder and CEO of Winding Tree.

The contact to Winding Tree was established via the Lufthansa Innovation Hub. “As the digital spearhead of Lufthansa Group in the global startup ecosystem, the Lufthansa Innovation Hub is continuously on the lookout for startups and new technologies with the potential to significantly improve the way we travel tomorrow,” explains Dr. Christian Langer, chief digital officer of Lufthansa Group. "To us, Winding Tree is a strong candidate to turn today's understanding of distribution upside down."
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