The travel industry has taken a serious hit because of the pandemic, and the unfortunate truth is that it might take quite a while before people travel with the same frequency that they did prior to the pandemic. Indeed, Airbus maintains that airlines should prepare for a long road to recovery as travel is likely to suffer for at least a few more years.
Since people are less likely to book trips right now, travel companies can use this time to revisit their operations and ensure that they provide a seamless passenger experience once travel does pick back up. To that end, contactless payments are now being touted as travel’s next big thing. So below we are going to discuss what contactless tech is, and what it means for travel companies and passengers alike.
What is contactless tech?
As the name suggests, contactless tech aims to minimise interactions between passengers and personnel. However, this tech isn’t necessarily new. It’s been around for quite some time now, and the catch is to find more applications of contactless tech to further streamline the travel process. The Beijing Capital International Airport recently unveiled a fully contactless passenger journey, from check-in to boarding. Other airports are hoping to follow suit.
In fact, the chances are you’ve already come across contactless tech in your travels before. Current applications include:
• Self check-in ticket counters
• Iris and retina scanners at immigration
• e-Passport portals and ticket scanners at both immigration and arrivals
• Payment hubs that accept contactless card transactions
• Baggage check-in systems that print out luggage labels
How does contactless tech benefit passengers?
Travellers are likely to remain hesitant even once the pandemic subsides. Social distancing protocols have taught people to keep their distance and avoid contact as much as possible; having contactless payments can facilitate such distancing protocols and ensure travellers stay safe.
Convenience is a huge benefit that contactless payment brings for passengers. Once contactless tech becomes the norm, the days of long snaking lines and waiting to have your bags checked in will be a thing of the past.
Another benefit of contactless tech is that it’s largely up to airports and travel companies to install these facilities. Passengers just need to upgrade their old passports to new e-Passports (which should automatically be done once you renew your passport) and ensure that their credit cards allow contactless payment. This means that contactless tech has the potential to create an accessible and seamless travel experience for all passengers.
How does contactless tech benefit airlines?
The promise of convenience with contactless tech also means that airlines have more ways to cater to passenger needs. The airline payment solutions detailed on FIS Global show how contactless payments can meet customer expectations, while driving seamless commerce, converting more sales anywhere, any time, and on any device. After all, it allows retailers and airlines to accept more payment types for direct and indirect distribution channels for on-board retail and airport purchases. Relying on stringent security protocols to back up these payment solutions also ensures that international transactions occur without any problems.
Investing in contactless tech also opens up airport and airline personnel to deal with more pressing passenger concerns that may come up. By limiting the number of mundane and repetitive tasks, airport staff may experience boosts in productivity.
Airlines can also take advantage of the data gathered from these contactless tech solutions. Such data will prove invaluable in helping airlines assess the travel situation on the ground and ensure that health protocols are still being met. From a marketing perspective, getting insights into what customers buy and how they spend can help airlines launch other promos and products that passengers might like.
This article just scratches the surface when it comes to contactless tech, and highlights just how useful these solutions can be. While our post on the Boeing 747 speaks to the hard times that the travel industry has found itself in, innovations such as contactless tech may be the key to bouncing back after the pandemic.