STAYING SAFE THROUGH INNOVATION
A survey of supplier enhancements…
As pandemic inspired innovations make their way across the hospitality sector, travelers will benefit from the inclusion of new technology, with quicker check-ins, easier bag transfers and other services at their fingertips. Following are some of the corporations (and brands) which are adding new contact-less programs and digital apps to their product mix.
Qatar Airways is offering passengers to breeze through check-in: Point your phone’s camera at your passport to check-in. Use your digital boarding pass at the airport or add it to your Wallet (You can also SMS, email or print it as well). Deposit any bags at the airport’s fast-bag-drop counters. Passengers can pair their personal electronic devices (PEDs) with their seat-back IFE screen by simply scanning a QR code displayed on the screen. They can then use their PEDs to navigate and enjoy more than 4,000 entertainment options on offer through the airline’s Oryx One IFE system.
Etihad Airways has begun a trial of the IATA Travel Pass app on its flights from Abu Dhabi to Chicago, New York, Toronto and Washington, D.C. Passengers can book a Covid test at one of two partnering labs in Abu Dhabi, with results delivered both through the app and the clinics’ digital platform. The trial, set to run through the end of May, is optional for passengers, who still can show Etihad test results via a printed copy rather than the app. As an incentive, participating passengers get both priority access at the labs for testing, faster airport check-in and a Wi-Fi voucher to use in flight.
American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia Airlines, Aer Lingus, and Japan Airlines are connecting travelers with the VeriFLY digital wellness application to help make the COVID travel requirements for international travel more convenient. After creating a secure profile on your mobile device, the VeriFLY app will prompt you to confirm the details of your trip, including a) flight information, b) a negative COVID-19 test that fulfills your travel destination’s requirements, and c) any required documentation. As you verify each required element for travel, the app verifies that your test matches your destination country’s requirements and displays a simple pass or fail message. This simple message will help streamline the check-in and documentation verification process at the airport before your departure. At Denver International Airport, passengers can use VeriFly to reserve an arrival time at a dedicated TSA screening lane, where they then scan their QR access code for entry at a touchless gate.
Delta Air Lines, in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) and Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) has installed optional facial recognition boarding at ATL Concourse E, MSP and SLC – expanding the technology to 49 new gates and all international flights. This means that customers flying direct to an international destination on Delta and its partners can use facial recognition technology to board at these airports. And, if customers do not want to participate, they just let a Delta gate agent know and board as they always have, using their boarding pass and passport.
United Airlines now has touchless check-in available in all U.S. airports where United owns kiosks and is continuing to expand into additional airports around the world. If you have the United mobile app and are departing an airport with touchless check-in, we will remind you of your touchless check-in options in the app when it is time to check in for your flight. If you’re checking bags and are not subject to special exemptions, you can use touchless check-in. Simply approach the kiosk and follow the on-screen directions to scan your boarding pass. Any luggage tags associated with the name on your boarding pass will begin to print immediately. When you’re done printing and attaching your luggage tags, proceed to drop your bags at the designated location. The United app is free to download from the app store for iOS or Android and provides a number of features in addition to touchless check-in that will help you manage your entire journey.
IHG Hotels & Resorts has made digital check-in available at all IHG branded hotels (includng Hotel Indigo, Intercontinental, Kimpton, Holiday Inn and Regent Hotels & Resorts) in the Americas. Guests will receive a notification with the option to check in from their phone or the IHG app. Once the process is completed, they would go to a designated lobby area, show identification and pick up a room key. At checkout, guests would receive a reminder via email or the IHG app, be able to review their bill, leave their keys in the room and depart. IHG is piloting the program in other regions of the world and plans to roll out these capabilities to 4,500 hotels and resorts by year-end, according to the company.
Marriott Bonvoy, (the world’s largest hotel chain with 32 brands including the EDITION, Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, and W as well as Sheraton, Westin, and Moxy) is testing contactless arrival kiosks at 3,200 of the company’s hotels. Guests can choose to use their mobile check-in, access their rooms, make special requests, and order room service that will be specially packaged and delivered right to the door without contact. These “touchless” services can all be done quickly via Marriott’s mobile app.
Hilton Hotels includes more than 6,100 properties representing 18 brands such as Waldorf Astoria, LXR, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites and Canopy among others. Hilton’s contactless check-in allows guests to check-in, choose their room, access their room with a digital room key, and check-out using their mobile devices through the Hilton Honors mobile app at participating hotels.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s World of Hyatt app gives you easy access to more than 900 distinctive hotels and resorts, putting a suite of powerful features right at your fingertips. Use the app to explore hotels with photos, hotel details, offers, local area attractions and more. Save your favorite hotels for future quick booking. Enjoy touchless Check-In/Express Checkout: Bypass the front desk when you arrive and depart. View your room charges during your stay. Request items to your room, such as towels and toothpaste (supported at 300+ hotels). Use your device as your room key (available at select hotels). Access your account instantly. Track your progress toward elite tiers and Milestone Rewards. View your current benefits and explore other elite tier benefits.
Avis Mobile Select lets Avis Preferred members choose the car they want instead of having one assigned to them. After landing, they receive a push notification with a link to the Avis app and the available cars. There, they can select and receive confirmation, all before getting to the lot. It’s the faster and more relaxed way to go from airplane to rental car. And, with Express Exit, the quickest way to get out of the lot and on the road.
Hertz mobile app now offers quick login with facial recognition or Touch ID. Access past rental searches for easier booking. View current rentals and modify future reservations. Gold Plus Rewards members can also skip the counter altogether and go straight to their cars.
National Emerald Club Members can skip the counter at most locations and go straight to their cars. Its mobile app’s Rental Tracker℠ provides you with important trip information when you need it during your rental. With Emerald Checkout, you can take control to a whole new level. Scan your vehicle in the check-out aisle (and view details like mileage used and days used) and accelerate your exit process with a Virtual Pass barcode.
Enterprise streamlines your rental experience and enables you to safely practice social distancing when picking up your rental vehicle, via its Advance Check-In. At more than 200 locations — with more coming soon — check-in before your rental and you’ll experience a faster, low-touch rental process. It only takes a few minutes and is easy to do.
Biometrics technology (mentioned above) has a major part to play in creating a touchless travel experience. The implementation of the technology in the aviation industry has been well underway in the past few years, but its potential to facilitate a more contactless travel experience has accelerated the adoption even further in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (maybe tie in Clear here)
According to SITA’s report, biometrics remain the focus for airport investment with 64% of airports aiming to roll out self-boarding gates using biometric and ID documentation by 2023, three times as many as in 2020. Airlines have doubled implementations and plan to double investment for self-boarding using biometric and ID documentation by 2023.
Bangalore International Airport (BIAL), for instance, introduced one of the most comprehensive programs to ensure contactless passenger journey form “parking to boarding.” The airport verifies the passenger’s identify using facial biometrics. Facial recognition technology then gets the passenger through check-in, bag check, security screening and onto the plane.
Other Airport News…
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) launched a contactless airport-wide program called LAX Order Now, which lets passengers use their mobile devices to order food from restaurants in the terminal for pick-up and delivery. Order directly from the LAXOrderNow.com site or by scanning QR codes in the airport. Among other US airports to have trials with similar initiatives are San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston Logan Airport, Chicago Midway and Dallas/Fort Worth.
Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam launched its own program which allows passengers to pre-order food and drinks at Schiphol’s food & beverage outlets after security control. Passengers can now scan a QR code from one of the physical banners or media screens located at and after the airport security check. The QR code will allow them to place their order, pay online and choose a time to pick up their order after going through security.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is using computed tomography (CT) technology in the TSA security checkpoint to screen travelers’ carry-on luggage. The CT scanner applies a sophisticated algorithm during the screening process while an X-ray camera shoots hundreds of images while spinning around the conveyor belt, generating a 3-D image of the item being screened.