Revolutionizing the traveler experience

· 2 min read
Revolutionizing the traveler experience

Nick Price, who co-chairs DIF’s Travel & Hospitality SIG and Nick Lambert, CEO of DIF member Dock Labs explored the potential for decentralized identity to revolutionize the traveler experience during a discussion with Rob Otto of Ping Identity, Cadrick Widmann of cidas and Roger Olivieira, co founder of at EIC in Berlin last week. 

Nick Price: “Hotels are still stressed about verifying and storing passport information. They have a very large number of customers on file, and a very low amount of usable information. You’re not surprised when they ask whether you have stayed before, though you’ve stayed many times. Decentralized identity promises a substantial improvement in these areas. 

“A lot of the valuable information that makes travel work will be self-attested. Travel is not just about crossing the border or making a transaction, it’s about 'This is me, I'm a vegetarian, I like some extra legroom on the flight', et cetera.

"Travel companies need that information. The customer wants to give it to us, but they don’t currently have the tools to do it. This is exactly what we’re building for a large project in the Middle East: a decentralized identity journey for the traveler across airlines, transport, hotels and the tourism experience.”

Rob Otto: “What consumers really want is a value exchange. When I give you my data, use it to improve my experience. Maybe I even want the hotel to know how I'm feeling today, so I present an 'introvert or extrovert' credential.” 

"You don’t need decentralized identity to figure out someone is staying at a hotel for the tenth time, you just need a system that isn’t stupid.” 

Nick Lambert: “People do care about privacy, but it’s incumbent on us to provide that control over their data. For example, if you want to book a hotel or hire a car, you only want to provide the information the hotel or car hire company needs.

"From an organizational perspective, holding all that data centrally is a honeypot for hackers to target and sell, as well as a GDPR / CCPA compliance risk. Companies are keen to get rid of the liability and pass it over to customers." 

Roger Olivieira: “There are new regulations coming up where you won’t be allowed to store this data any more. Digital wallets are a good solution. They do three things very well: authentication, consent and digital signatures."

Cadrick Widmann: “But it’s hard for users to download a wallet just for one use case.”

Nick Lambert: “True. The user experience needs to be better than what exists today. For example, staff at Condatis (an Edinburgh-based CIAM provider, and DIF member) use decentralized identity to enter the office and access systems remotely, which is great. The challenge is integration with legacy systems.”

Roger Olivieira: “We solve that problem by putting a service provider between wallets and platforms, using common protocols like AuthO / OpenID Connect."