Life Reimagined with Seamless Travel Experience

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Reimagining life in every aspect and bouncing ideas that create better experiences is the motto of this blog page. As per the AARP research in 2018, 57% of leisure travelers like to spend time with family and friends, 49% want to relax and rejuvenate, and 47% try to get away from routine stressed life. But the real-life experience of travelers is just the opposite of these expectations. Solutions that offer seamless travel experiences is the need of the day for better leisure outcomes. The ideal travel experience of current generation passengers would include:

  • Real-time journey information delivered to their personal devices
  • Biometric identification to facilitate their travel processes
  • Automation of more airport processes
  • Wait times of less than 10 minutes at security/immigration
  • Bags tracked throughout their journey
  • A human touch when things go wrong

What if a passenger arriving at security and immigration checkpoints has been previously vetted at check-in allowing a seamless, contactless process where the passenger simply needs to look at a smart camera to be cleared and allowed passage? Offering universal travel pass integrating cross-border security checks, hotel check-ins and entire travel life cycle tied with digital identity should be the new mantra of the travel industry.

Such universal travel passes will create a newfound demand for travel consultants to be more integrated with various service providers, making it a lucrative profession. Each traveler will be assigned a passenger record name/record locator so that all the services they opt for will be availed and kept secure, and the travel consultants will be the integral component of providing this.

Seamless universal travel experience is a great value to the travelers. And such a seamless travel experience is becoming a reality with new digital technologies. These technologies can enable travel agencies to transform into ‘digital travel agents’, enabling the booking process to become a trip planning experience, where agents will be able to provide more content, information and booking details. The congruence of technologies like IoT, Cloud, AI, Voice-Enabled Devices, Blockchain, and 5G has the potential to offer better experiences to travelers. As tourism continues to grow and route availability continues to shrink, airports are turning to seamless travel initiatives to help passengers stay on the move and increase their satisfaction.

The dominant technologies enabling seamless universal travel experience include,

  • Internet of Things: IoT can create a seamless trip where travelers are connected to their travel agents at every stage. IoT has the ability to connect customers with travel consultation throughout the entire lifecycle of the travel experience. For agents, a global or universal passenger record can allow travel consulting to change according to any requests from the customer. As for travelers, agents can provide a universal ‘travel pass’ that can be used for a trip, without separate boarding passes, hotel check-in, bus passes, and even theme park tickets. This universal travel pass would also handle multiple currencies, where travelers won’t need to worry about exchanging currencies when traveling between different countries.
  • Cloud – Improves the collaboration with travelers for a more personal experience transforming the offline model of the travel agent to have access to all cloud-based bookings regardless of location
  • AI and voice-enabled devices – AI has the potential to transform the inevitable hassles and inconvenience of airport travel into delightful passenger experiences. AI could enable travelers can leave their home with one single biometric identifier – and board a plane or cruise, check into their hotel, and hire a car with that unique identifier. Acuity Market Intelligence forecasts that the total number of airport biometric touchpoints – increasingly AI-enhanced facial recognition – at check-in, bag drop, security, and boarding gates will increase at a 27% CAGR from 2019 – 2022. Voice will be the future of booking travel. Travel agents are then able to take advantage of this and sell high value and high engagement products via voice
  • Blockchain – Blockchain technology could develop a ticket-booking solution that integrates multiple agencies – long-distance, regional,  and local agents, including Uber/Lyft car- or any other car-sharing firms. With a blockchain-based solution, travelers can book their travel with agents participating in the network with just a few clicks on a single website, without the need to switch across multiple sites and providers. The blockchain ledger can then record single customer purchase and even accurately can split the payment among the providers.
  • 5G network high speeds – 5G will give agents a better way to connect with travelers during their trips. If the traveler has a 5G connection, that allows the agent to be able to have a better video call with the traveler, without physically being there with them, assisting them along the way. 5G combining with VR/AR technologies offers a more engaging and immersive booking experience

Travel & Tourism sector should embrace the change creating a mass personalization contextualized to the travelers and leveraging ecosystem working with all stakeholders involved to maximize value leveraging biometrics and universal digital identity for truly seamless passenger experience.

Converting Commute to Constructive Time

Life ReimaginedHere is my first blog post on the theme “Life reimagined”. I am inclined to be futuristic on this post and going forward offers a right blend of the near-medium-long term trends in the future posts.

Work-life integration over work-life balance is a nice practice to nurture. But it is a mindset shift and demands the right human balance in the seamless transition back and forth between work and life. I am re-imagining the life with an innovative third space to maximize human outcomes creating more time with work-life integration. Talking about converting commute to constructive work time creating a third space while traveling in an autonomous vehicle (AV) to office from home. Isn’t it interesting?

Traditionally third places include cafes, parks, clubs, or even barber shops. But the growing popularity of ride-sharing and the advent of driverless technology bringing third space to the car. As the driver attention shifts from driving to being driven, we tend to use our time to work, play, consume content, and interact with one another.

This reminds me 2017 when Fiat Chrysler unveiled its Portal concept minivan, which the company billed as a “third space” designed to bridge work and home. The car supposedly will be loaded with a multitude of screens and creature comforts like selfie cameras and docking stations. Chrysler sees the Portal as “an open and serene atmosphere that provides an alternative environment between work and home.” But democratizing such ideas becomes tricky.

Imagine a workday of employees starting at 8 am as they enter the cabin of their AVs, they answer emails and work right through their commute until their AVs drops them off at the office; then after leaving at 4 pm, their AVs pick them up, and they continue working their last ‘office hour’ of the day during their commute home. HR managers can think creatively to collaborate in designing third spaces for their employees in AVs. Also, these types of future workplace reconfigurations will need to be studied carefully and administered fairly by every organization’s CHRO, with clear guidelines established around the expected productivity and use of such ‘commute work’ privilege. This could be a small initiative to start with, but a potential employee friendly move.

Can companies invest in enabling third space in autonomous cars with the right ROI on employee productivity? While we all talk about technology advancement and potential futurism, rightly blending with human connect is going to be the key for mainstream adaption!