What Should you pay for a Holiday? STEP (Simple Travel Ecosystem Protocol) has the Answer
Today’s often already-harried and stressed travelers are faced with a heap of choices when deciding to go for a holiday. Buried in this avalanche of prices, offers, discounts and packages, it’s easy for anyone to find themselves dazed and confused. What should one actually pay to go on his or her well-deserved holiday? Where can the traveler get the best value and choices? And in the end, how do they really know they’ve secured the best deal? STEP (Simple Travel Ecosystem Protocol) has actually cracked the code, finally solving for the mayhem confronting flustered vacation goers.
This year, STEP will proudly introduce the first true distributed blockchain community for hotel nights and travel packages. By simply using STEP in a practical day-to-day way, anyone looking to book a trip can harness the democratizing power of this new protocol to search for the best value—directly from the hotel and travel companies. Naturally, this considerably reduces middle man costs and provides more flexibility for the traveler in her vacation investments, great and small.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re headed to see the golden beaches on Riviera Maya, Mexico. We turn to STEP for a direct deal. This process consists of two elements: First, we ask the STEP engine for the available lodging inventory in and around our destination. Next, through the power of our new search data protocols, come the digital experts: We call them Travel Curators. Our TCs supply an array of superior travel package deals, plus a bundled package price for the trip directly from providers—no middleman involved.
The following is an even more granular example of how the process plays out.
It starts out with a search and a request: “Please give me the best alternative for a trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico from September 1 to September 15.” Obviously, outcomes will depend on the level of accommodations, locations, and additional expenditures you would like to add to your trip. So let’s break down the decision by examining the pricing factors a travel most commonly considers when pricing a getaway.
There are at least eight common elements to most typical trips:
- Choosing a destination or group of destinations (Riviera Maya for example)
- Choosing a level of accommodations, hotel or rental home (budget, mid-priced, luxury)
- Selecting the flight (airline)
- Lodging (hotel brand or independent/on-demand service)
- Car rental/transportation (rental car company)
- Restaurant and food reservations (local restaurants)
- Tours and Experiences (local expeditions, entertainment, etc.)
- Travel Insurance for the package, or some of its elements (insurance company).
In this process, the traveler has multiple options for searching for these 8 components, and then completing his travel booking:
- General destination site (Rivieramaya.com)
- Travel search engines (Google, Kayak)
- Travel agents (home travel agents)
- Online travel engine (Booking.com)
- Tour operators (Apple Vacations)
The traveler also has several ways to book a package that includes:
- Only hotel accommodation (directly or indirectly)
- Only airline ticket
- Bed and breakfast plan
- An all-inclusive hotel (room, food and drink)
- A fully customized package (this includes hotel, food, transportation, and tours)
As travel products get more experiential and the combinations of choices more complex— more airlines and airports to choose from; an increasing number of destinations to see; numerous hotel brands and transportations options — it has become increasingly difficult to value and price all available options, which can range from several hundred to several hundred thousand dollars.
This leaves a would-be traveler with a decision to either go out and shop for each element independently or simply take the easy route and book a full package with a tour operator. The latter, in the age of unique experiences, is losing its appeal super fast. More and more people (especially the +2 billion global millennial generation driven by #FOMO and #YOLO) desire flexibility and uniqueness in their trips, while still obtaining the best value.
STEP’s platform uses Travel Curators to break the package down to its essential components and provide a traveler with the best ranges for the specific dates requested and the type of accommodations. In this case, there could be three different TC offers for a traveler to access:
- STEP offers for coach air ticket; range = $300-$500.
- STEP offers for a four-star hotel = average $100-$150/night for 14 nights; range = $1,400-$2,100.
- STEP offers for a mid-size car rental = $50-$75 for 14 days; range = $700-$1,050.
- STEP offers for seven surf lessons in Bali = $25-$50 for seven days; range = $175-$350.
- STEP trip to Bali for 14 days at four-star hotel with mid-size rental car and surf lessons; range = $2,575–4,000.
Eventually, many of the elements of travel will become tokenized—flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, experiences (concerts, live theater, conferences, local activities, etc.). The new type of blockchain and crypto-driven economic design will offer, bundle, and value the actual services supporting these travel products and direct the traveler to the offer that best supports her travel requirements, emanating directly from the travel service provider—not the Online Travel Agencies. (The OTAs currently enjoy an Oligopoly over the entire travel ecosystem.)
This next-generation travel experience and its packages will be represented/verified by Smart Contracts on the blockchain that will manage the experience and let the traveler change, trade, and potentially even profit from this new blockchain-based travel ecosystem. The STEP protocol will provide the first real alternative since the aforementioned OTAs revolutionized the travel market two decades ago.