Best Western Australasia Sees Voice, Contactless Digital Identity Key To Reviving Hotel Industry

The pandemic has devastated the hotel and travel industries since its onset last March. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that the nation’s domestic and international flights fell from 10.2 million in 2019 to 4.8 million in 2020.

Facial Biometrics: American Airlines recently debuted a health wallet app that leverages facial biometrics to ensure travelers meet countries' travel requirements.Hotels also felt the pain from consumers remaining safely at home. The U.S. hospitality sector saw a massive 1 billion rooms go unoccupied in 2020. Emerging technologies such as biometric-based digital identity solutions and contactless verification tools offer hope for these suffering industries, however, that could help bring consumers back to the skies and into hotels.

The February “Digital Identity Tracker®” explores how digital identity tools are being leveraged to help jumpstart travel and tourism amid the pandemic.

Around The Digital Identity Space

The pandemic has accelerated the digital shift across sectors. A recent two-day online forum examined the impact of digital identity on the future of the travel industry, and the overnight shift to contactless solutions. International travel came to a halt last spring, and governments worldwide were unprepared to address the virus. The panel discussed how the air travel industry must determine how safety standards can be implemented, how facial recognition and other technologies can be updated for the face mask era, and why use of contactless tools is sure to last into the future.

Touches Check-In: MGM Resorts' decision to allow completely touches verification and check-in could serve as a model for the broader hospitality industry.American Airlines has recently adopted a biometric health wallet app designed to allow passengers to track and verify their COVID-19 test results and documents. The VeriFLY app leverages facial biometrics to ensure that the customer’s data matches a country’s requirements and shows a pass or fail message on the device’s screen. The solution was designed to speed check-in and document verification at the airport. The feature can be used by passengers traveling from Miami International Airport to Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia and Honduras.

For more on these and other digital identity news items, download this month’s Tracker.

Best Western Australasia On Using Mobile, Contactless Tools To Boost The Hotel Sector 

As the pandemic spread nearly one year ago, Australia had just dealt with putting out bushfires that devastated a region of the country the size of Pennsylvania in November 2019. The emergencies impacted hotels such as Best Western Hotels & Resorts Australasia, causing them to develop contingency plans and to leverage digital tools in new ways to keep track of their customers.

In this month’s Feature Story, PYMNTS spoke with Graham Perry, Best Western’s managing director of Australasia, on how the pandemic has impacted the hotel industry and accelerated the digitization of the customer journey.

Contactless Appeal: Many travelers are more inclined to travel if given access to contactless digital or biometric authentication measures.Deep Dive: How Deploying Biometric Digital ID Solutions Rebuilds Travelers’ Confidence

If anything will renew confidence in global travel and spur recovery of the beleaguered industry, it’s technology, according to a new study. A survey of more than 6,000 consumers from around the world revealed 84% of respondents said technology will increase their confidence to travel in the next year by assuaging fears of crowds, lack of social distancing and contact at airports and hotels.

This month’s Deep Dive examines how the ongoing pandemic has affected travel and hospitality business and why adoption of digital ID solutions and biometrics could lift consumers’ confidence.

 About The Tracker

The monthly “Digital Identity Tracker®,” a collaboration with Jumio, offers coverage of the most recent news and trends in the digital ID ecosystem.