Blockchain for Hotels: Planck’s Principle and Hotelier Skepticism

If you are skeptical about bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin, decentralized finance (DeFi) and the power of blockchains in general, ask yourself, with Planck’s Principle in mind, whether your apprehensiveness is born out of an intrinsic rigidity to new processes or a bona fide rational argument for why this new technology is total bunkum.
By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky - 5.12.2021

This year has already seen many of the various cryptocurrencies grace the front page of major news outlets. This trend will continue throughout 2021 and, by our predictions, for the rest of everyone’s natural lifespans who happen to be reading this article. Pure hype or not, the technologies underpinning these altcoins are going to keep expanding and maturing as the applications for blockchains are too great to ignore.

Prior to any college-level lessons about the exact innerworkings of blockchains, decentralized hyperledgers, algorithmic hashing, non-fungible tokens (NFT) and mining incentivization via proof of work, there’s an even more basic mental step that must first take place. Ruminating on a very broad level about any trepidations within companies or resistance to investigating how best to deploy blockchain technologies (beyond viewing bitcoin as a diversified portfolio hedge against fiat currency’s current hyperinflation trajectory), it’s critical to recall a famous quote by the physicist Max Planck who discovered quantum electron valences and inspired Einstein.

The short paraphrasing of this quote is, “Science advances one funeral at a time.” Now known as Planck’s Principle, the argument is that new advancements in humanity’s collective knowledge don’t occur by winning over the opposition to any singular concept, but by letting the opposition die out in order to allow for younger, more receptive minds to flourish and build upon the new discovery. Just think about all the initial (and perhaps ongoing) cynicism to such concepts as Darwinian evolution, the heliocentric solar model, vaccines, the Internet, cell phones, plant-based diets or even the seatbelt; blockchain and cryptocurrencies are following a similar path.

If you are skeptical about bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin, decentralized finance (DeFi) and the power of blockchains in general, ask yourself, with Planck’s Principle in mind, whether your apprehensiveness is born out of an intrinsic rigidity to new processes or a bona fide rational argument for why this new technology is total bunkum. It takes a lot of introspection, and frankly courage, to confront the former of these two dispositions in order to then accept where the future is actually headed.

As most of us were raised and trained on the idea of centralized finance and placing our trust in fiat currencies as backed by the economic power of sovereign nations, it makes sense that a quantum mental leap is necessary in order to grasp the true potential for blockchain. With this in mind, though, if you are open right now to investigating what blockchain can do for your organization, then that already puts you ahead of many of your competitors who are stuck in Planck’s opposition.

Think of the applications. Would DeFi help to reduce accounting costs, minimize chargebacks and eliminate the need for a PMS hosted onsite? How might a hotel’s own brand-coin help increase loyalty? How about revamping the gift shop so that all inventory was ethically sourced and small batch as verified by a blockchain? What if you set out to create an ‘NFT hotel’ (after the current NFT bubble has burst) whereby all the artwork in every space is unique, while also growing a secondary asset class which might also appreciate alongside the physical property itself?

These are but a few examples. By pondering how blockchain will help streamline operations and grow revenues today, you are already positioning your brand to have a first mover advantage tomorrow.

Notice that we haven’t even explained what a blockchain is? We’re not suggesting that you absolutely need to start implementing blockchain right away – especially if you can’t already picture how it works. Rather, take the time to learn about how it works (independently from this article) so that you will be ready once the technology has gained more maturity. An internet article here and there, or perhaps even a book on that subject may suffice – slow and steady learning while keeping a curious mind.

The bottom line is, regarding of your feelings about it, our hope is you will accept that blockchain technologies are here to stay. Deal with it. And if you deal with it fast enough, you may gain a solid edge for your competitors who happen to stay in the opposing camp according to Planck’s Principle.

Larry and Adam Mogelonsky represent one of the world’s most published writing teams in hospitality, with over a decade’s worth of material online. As the partners of Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited, a Toronto-based consulting practice, Larry focuses on asset management, sales and operations while Adam specializes in hotel technology and marketing. Their experience encompasses properties around the world, both branded and independent, and ranging from luxury and boutique to select-service. Their work includes six books “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012), “Llamas Rule” (2013), “Hotel Llama” (2015), “The Llama is Inn” (2017), “The Hotel Mogel” (2018) and “More Hotel Mogel” (2020). You can reach Larry at larry@hotelmogel.com or Adam at adam@hotelmogel.com to discuss hotel business challenges or to book speaking engagements.

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