New travel technology experiences driving safety, hygiene and efficiency
As countries across the world emerge from lockdown, international travel is gradually resuming in stages. Safety will be the top priority for travellers as they return to travel. The travel industry is well advanced in developing innovative new technologies to drive safety, hygiene and efficiency across every aspect of the travel experience.
In this blog, we explore six emerging technologies currently being deployed across the travel industry to identify new, viable solutions and experiences which may define the new normal in travel.
Contactless travel will be the most obvious change in experience from airport to hotel sectors. Bio-metrics are already a widely accepted solution for identity verification and more touchless options are being piloted, such as gesture control, touchless document scanning and voice commands.
Contactless check-In: Hilton will double-down on its award-winning Digital Key technology for guests who desire to have a contactless arrival experience. Guests can determine the amount of contact they prefer when they check-in, as well as select their room and access their room via a digital key from their mobile device through the Hilton Honors mobile app.
Contactless elevator: Abu Dhabi Airport is introducing new touchless technology across 53 elevators at the airport to reduce physical touchpoints.
Contactless kiosks and immigration lanes: Singapore Changi Airport is rolling out contactless kiosks for travellers to check-in and drop-off their baggage. Travellers can select options and key-in details by pointing their finger close to the screen without touching it. The airport has also upgraded the automated immigration lanes using face and iris recognition technology to replace fingerprint scanning.
Digital Health Passports
An increasing number of countries are now exploring ways to provide travellers with digital health passports to allow them to travel abroad. The digital health passport is a web-based platform that certifies an individual’s health status, including COVID-19 and other health considerations, prior to travel.
Pilot flight using digital health passport: In July 2020, a flight from the Canary Islands to Madrid will utilise a digital health passport developed by Canadian company Hi+ Card. This world-first initiative, back by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), will see passengers utilise the Hi+ Card smartphone app – which is secured by blockchain protocols – to certify that they are not infected with COVID-19.
Blockchain protocols will “avoid the possibility of false profiles being created or medical records being manipulated,” said Antonio López de Ávila, CEO of Madrid-based Tourism Data Driven Solutions (TDDS).
Digital identity, including personal identity and health information, is fast-becoming the new norm in travel. Travellers will be able to securely store their identity and health credentials within a digital wallet for required risk assessments prior to travel and for airport experiences, such as digital check-in via their mobile devices, to minimise queuing and physical contact at the airport.
Digital ID for a seamless journey: With IATA’s concept of One ID, travellers will be able to further streamline their journey with a document-free process based on identity management and bio-metric recognition.
“We are looking to global standards to help passengers navigate the airport without having to prove their identity over and over. IATA’s One ID project proposes face, iris or fingerprint recognition to seamlessly move passengers from curb to gate. The technology exists today. And we will be urging governments – vital partners to make One ID work – to move quickly.” Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, IATA.
Travellers will be able to identify themselves at each airport touchpoint through a simple bio-metric recognition to eliminate repetitive processes, resulting in less queuing and a more seamless journey.
Automated Retail and Mobile Ordering
Automated retail and mobile ordering is a new concept being explored by retailers, enabling travellers to make purchases using their mobile device to increase efficiencies and reduce non-essential physical interactions and cash payments.
Cashier-less store: BC Card has opened an unmanned convenience store in Seoul featuring its cashier-less technology. After scanning a QR code to enter the store, customers can pick up products of their choice then simply walk past an automated gate to finish shopping. Payment for goods will be handled automatically via the mobile payment app Paybooc when the customer walks out of the store.
Airport food pre-ordering: Hong Kong International Airport provides a food pre-ordering service for travellers via its mobile app ‘HKG My Flight’ or mobile website. Travellers can place an order, select the time to pick-up, and make payment using their mobile device, then collect their food from the restaurant.
Pay cashless at the airport: Munich Airport is offering travellers with a cashless payment process which lets them use their mobile device to pay for goods at the shelf by scanning an electronic price tag to eliminate waiting times at the cash register. For payment, the customer is redirected to a mobile website and won’t be required to download the app.
In support of social distancing, real-person queuing may gradually be replaced by virtual queuing to prevent close congregation in one area. Virtual queuing technology allows airlines to notify travellers via their app when their seat is ready for boarding and enables airports to control queue entry.
Virtual queuing for boarding: Delta has added virtual queuing technology into its mobile app, helping to reduce gate area queues to make the boarding processes more efficient. Passengers will receive a personal notification when their specific seat zone is getting ready to board.
Image Source: Delta Air Lines
Airline Reassurance Data
In a recent CTM customer survey relating to post-COVID-19 business travel, it was clearly identified that our customers are eager for extra information relating to the health and safety of their chosen travel services. CTM has integrated ATPCO’s Reassurance UPAs into the Lightning online booking tool, providing customers with access to a wide range of health and safety features from more than 100 airlines globally alongside the flight search results. Airline reassurance data is provided directly from the airline and may cover a variety of categories such as cabin cleaning, food and beverage hygiene, and passenger and crew well-being, helping customers to make more informed decisions about their travel services.
The information in this article is sourced from third parties. CTM does not take responsibility for its accuracy or currency. CTM recommends travellers seek independent information prior to travel.