Tech is the enabler of friction-free travel
Ask any corporate road warrior what makes a great trip these days, and they’ll probably tell you that a good trip is any trip with no disruptions, delays, or cancelations. It’s a trip that’s been seamless from planning to completion. Add a great hotel stay, business sale, or successful client meeting into the mix, and you’ve pretty much got the perfect business trip.
Today, the emphasis for those in the business of managing or supplying travel is now on making sure the end-to-end customer experience is as fluid as possible. And central to this is technology. From booking and approvals, takeoff to touchdown, and the return home, there’s tech and tools at every touchpoint to make the travel experience faster, easier, and more streamlined.
What are the key tech pieces enabling friction-free travel right now?
The rise of biometric technology, which uses unique physical characteristics such as fingerprints or facial recognition to verify identity, has been gradually enhancing the airport and hotel experience during the past five or so years. Biometric tech is speeding up the passenger processing experience, reducing wait times, and improving overall satisfaction for travelers. Biometrics are also being used in the accommodation sector with many hotels now using facial recognition and fingerprint scanning to verify the identity of their guests. This not only improves security but also speeds up check-in and check-out processes.
Here are just few examples of airports that are using biometric technology to speed things up:
Singapore Changi Airport utilizes an advanced biometric identity system where travelers can register their biometric data at self-service kiosks in the airport. This involves a facial scan and passport information. Once registered, travelers can use the biometric system for all subsequent airport processes. The system uses facial recognition technology to automate various processes, including check-in, bag drop, immigration, and boarding.
Hong Kong International Airport has been using biometric technology since 2018, with facial recognition being used for security clearance and boarding processes. The airport has also introduced a biometric-enabled self-service bag drop system, which uses facial recognition to verify the passenger's identity and reduce the time needed for baggage drop-off.
Orlando International Airport: MCO has been a leader in biometric technology adoption in the US, implementing a facial recognition system in 2018 to expedite the screening process for international travelers.
Heathrow Airport launched a new biometric-enabled security screening system in 2020, which uses facial recognition to allow passengers to pass through security without showing their boarding pass or passport.
Advances in virtual payment solutions are also streamlining processes for travel and finance managers and travelers. Virtual payments simplify the payment process and reduce the need for travelers to carry cash or use their own credit card – both of which we know can cause a range of headaches at different stages of the travel journey. Virtual payment solutions also reduce manual invoicing and reimbursement processes and can be integrated with other travel management software. Virtual payment solutions streamline the entire travel process, from booking flights and hotels to managing expenses and tracking itineraries.
All-in-one technology platforms
Companies want their travel to be managed and housed in a single omnichannel platform that’s consistent in service no matter which channels they use. One of the primary ways tech supports seamless, end-to-end travel is through multifunctional travel management applications like the FCM Platform.
The FCM Platform streamlines the entire travel process, from planning travel and booking flights and hotels to facilitating virtual payments, alerting travelers, monitoring sustainability, and tracking itineraries. By consolidating these functions in a single platform, you’ll no longer have to jump in and out of different platforms, and you can stay connected wherever you are.
“For travel bookers, the FCM Platform provides a single point of access to support and manage all travelers effectively. They can see where and when their colleagues are traveling, be alerted to any disruptions or risks their travelers may be facing, keep their profiles updated, and book on their behalf,” said Michel Rouse, Chief Product Officer at FCM.
By leveraging a range of tools and platforms, travel managers can reduce the friction and obstacles associated with corporate travel while providing greater flexibility and convenience for their employees. From innovative travel management software, mobile apps to online booking and reporting platforms, biometric tech, and virtual payments, tech plays an increasingly critical role in facilitating the seamless travel experience we’re all looking for these days.