The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the travel and tourism industry to a near standstill with prolonged lockdowns. Now that government authorities across several countries have relaxed air travel restrictions, airports and hotels are trying to re-build confidence in travelers. Against the backdrop, contactless technologies are proving to be a game changer for the industry, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Sneha Nigade, Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The COVID-19 pandemic became a wakeup call for the travel and tourism industry to accelerate investments in contactless technologies like biometric check-in at airports and keyless hotel entry, which significantly reduce potential risks associated with physical touchpoints.”
The Innovation Explorer database of GlobalData’s Disruptor Intelligence Center reveals how travel and tourism companies are using contactless technologies to ensure the safety and wellbeing of passengers, especially in transportation and lodging.
Beijing Capital International Airport has partnered with Swiss tech company SITA to automate entire passenger journey using biometric technologies. From the airport check-in and bag drop to security clearance and final boarding, passengers can just walk through the designated lanes equipped with facial recognition systems.
Singapore’s Changi Airport has deployed contactless kiosks to automate the check-in process for passengers. The kiosks are integrated with infrared proximity sensors, which can identify the motion of a passenger’s finger as they point towards the options on the screen.
Abu Dhabi International Airport has partnered with UAE tech startup Meta Touch to install touchless elevator panel technology. The control panel, installed in 53 elevators at the airport, can be controlled by gestures, allowing people to command an elevator without physically pressing any buttons.
Dutch hotel chain citizenM has launched a smart mobile application to offer customers contactless stays at its hotels. The app helps guests to check-in and out digitally. Guests can also control lights, blinds and temperature inside their rooms using a smartphone.
Hong Kong International Airport has deployed intelligent sterilization robot to rapidly dininfect passenger facilities and public areas. The autonomous robot, equipped with ultraviolet lights and an air sterilizer, can sterilize its surroundings in 10 minutes with 99.99% accuracy.
Other key use cases of contactless technologies promoting safety in the industry include thermal screening, automated hand sanitizers, mobile apps enabling touchless entry to tourist destinations and contactless payments.
Ms Nigade concludes: “Contatcless technologies are empowering enterprises to recover from the COVID-19 crisis by digitizing the end-to-end journey for travelers. However, biometric technologies raise concerns around personal data being collected and shared, which heightens security risks in the future. The future of travel in the post-COVID-19 world will be increasingly contactless to advocate safety, not only for passengers but also employees in the industry.”