Kayak makes blockchain push with new enterprise corporate travel offering

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Travel search engine Kayak is dipping its toe into the water for corporate travel for large companies – and is looking to eliminate expense reporting for flights with a solution built on blockchain technology.

The company launched its free Kayak for Business tool in 2020 for small- and medium-sized organisations, with a full launch coming a year later. Yet the enterprise-focused solution – which understandably carries a much bigger prize – has come about through a partnership with Blockskye, a blockchain startup focused on the aviation industry.

Blockskye’s vision is outlined on its company website:

“Blockskye believes that on-chain, tokenized assets should be distributed among all actors. Travellers, buyers, suppliers, revenue accounting, expense, treasury: everyone should have access to the same data at the same time. Today, enterprise travel and procurement relies on batched processes and file transfers that create mismatched records, confusion, and error. We solve this with a secure, encrypted, single version of the truth – powered by blockchain.”

From Kayak’s side, the theory is that an aeroplane ticket, for business usage, is one of the places where a source of record, available to all parties, recorded on the blockchain, is actually useful. With business travel, it is not only more common for a third-party actor to deal with the admin, but, as Kayak CEO Steve Hafner explained to PhocusWire, regardless of what the last change was to the ticket or who made that change, any party can touch it. 

This is not to mention the more evident payment aspect, as the two companies explained in the press release announcing the Enterprise solution. “The KAYAK for Business Enterprise offering can facilitate direct payment between companies and participating major carriers,” the companies noted. “This innovative technology reduces overall business costs, and allows travellers to walk onto a flight without ever having to submit airline expenses.”

Other features of the product are skewed towards business custom, including a real-time breakdown of loyalty benefits during checkout, as well as a CO2 emissions calculator sent directly to the company for simplified reporting. Integrations with third-party business apps are also noted, from calendar, to HR and ERP.

Founded in 2017, the journey for Blockskye’s vision for a ‘new way of booking business travel’, as co-CEO and co-founder Michael Share put it, has been comparatively long. Yet Share added Kayak was the ‘ideal platform to partner with.’

Photo by Jonathan Lassen

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