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The Decentralized Identity Foundation and the Hospitality and Travel Special Interest Group

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August 12, 2021
Data Privacy
Nick Price

A Hospitality & Travel Special Interest Group (SIG) has been created under the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF; https://identity.foundation/) to advance the adoption of self-sovereign identity (SSI) and decentralized digital identity (DDID) across hospitality and travel. It joins SIGs already in operation from banking and finance to healthcare.

The H&T SIG was born out of an effort by a small group of hospitality and travel technology folks to imagine a modern technology infrastructure for H&T free of the mental and technical constraints of the past – one that leaps technology generations and addresses two of the most fundamental challenges our industry grapples with every day: 

We decided to start with the second problem – who is our customer – because it’s fundamental to solving the first problem and because the customer, at least as an individual, is common to all consumer-facing industries. Working together across industries and sectors, we believe we can help create universal solutions that work better for the customer, creating both customer-led demand and supplier-led desire for change throughout the hospitality and travel industries. The focus on customer (and supplier) leads us to identity and the technical models that implement digital identity for all participants in hospitality and travel. And from identity it’s but a short step to DIF. 

The DIF H&T SIG is now a growing confederation of more than 30 hospitality and travel companies and individuals who believe in the merits of self-sovereign decentralized identity and its applicability to H&T. It’s conceived as a gathering point for those interested in applying DDID to hospitality and travel. Our objectives are to inform the SSI community of the H&T sector’s needs and the opportunities we see arising from SSI and DDID technologies. From this start, we plan to create a conduit for the transfer of decentralized identity technology into our sector.

Why a DIF and a SIG, and Why Now?
The founders of the H&T SIG firmly believe that flipping the model from centralized to decentralized identity presents a wealth of opportunity for the industry. Over the coming months we intend to articulate this opportunity and we invite all interested colleagues to collaborate, criticize, and contribute. We believe DIF is the best vehicle available to organize our activities in a fair and open manner. 

Many of us who have spent time working in hospitality and travel feel the time for change is upon us. The usual complaints about the technology that supports H&T aren’t unsubstantiated or unreasonable. H&T has always been a reluctant investor in new technology, preferring to sit on the sidelines while other industries make the first move. Recently, amplified by crisis, the urgent need for improvement in direct channel customer engagement, mobile-first contactless experiences and other areas, has forced us to draw the obvious conclusion: To do better we need to know our customer better. The time for change is indeed upon us.

Nick Price is with NetSys Technology. Nick has been interested in SSI and DDID tech in general since around 2015 and its importance has grown as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others grow increasingly powerful ingesting vast quantities of consumer information, and then came Cambridge Analytica.

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