Biometrics, Digital Identity Join Forces To Save Travel And Hospitality

COVID immunity verification

We will travel again. It will be fun. It will be safe. And it might be sooner than we think.

PYMNTS February 2021 Digital Identity Tracker® done in collaboration with Jumio, looks at the assortment of ingenious responses from the travel and hospitality sector being designed on the fly, as it were, as market conditions change in a strange form of slow motion acceleration.

Per the new Tracker, “The World Travel & Tourism Council, a London-based trade group, recently issued new recommendations in its Global Guidelines for Safe & Seamless Traveller Journey report, underscoring requirements for the swift and coordinated implementation of biometrics and digital traveler identity services.” That G-20 report “outlined several key considerations for public and private sector entities striving to collaborate on biometric verification measures. It notes that governments must work together on solutions so that data collection and sharing can be based on official documentation. It also explains the importance of establishing an industrywide consensus on privacy standards, interoperability and functionality that would make any solutions easier and more secure for users.”

Digital identity and the many ways it can be used to meet healthcare challenges now associated with traveling and staying in hotels is core to recovery, as the Digital Identity Tracker® reveals.

The Plane Truth About Immunity Verification

Among the first places that new health measures went into effect and continue to be built on is in air travel. Though safer than many believe, air travel nevertheless required a digital fix.

As the new the Digital Identity Tracker® states, “Streamlining digital solutions to verify travelers’ health statuses has become particularly important during the pandemic, and many airlines are rolling out offerings toward this end. American Airlines recently adopted a biometric health wallet app designed that allows passengers to track and verify their COVID-19 test results and documents. The solution, VeriFLY, allows consumers to leverage facial biometrics and ensure that their data matches countries’ requirements, with the app displaying a pass or fail message on their devices once the information has been processed.”

That goes together with concepts like digital “immunity passports” that ride along with travelers carrying vaccination data and other encrypted personal health information.

As the Tracker notes, “Singapore Airlines recently stated that it crafted its new digital health verification process based on the International Air Transport Association’s Travel Pass app, which allows travelers to store documents pertaining to COVID-19 tests or vaccinations and show these records when traveling internationally.”

Will That Be Iris Scan, Contactless Room Key, Or Both?

For their part, hotels are getting spiffed up for the eventual return of guests with a host of digital upgrades that will become as familiar a check-in routine as entering the lobby.

According to as the February Digital Identity Tracker®, “The hospitality industry has experienced its own pandemic-related struggles, but some hotel chains and management firms have looked to digital ID solutions to address consumers’ safety concerns. Several months into the pandemic, MGM Resorts debuted a contactless check-in process that allows customers to use its mobile app to verify themselves, pay for their rooms and even receive digital keys.”

Biometrics are playing a huge role in new identity needs, and that function is widening.

The Tracker notes, “Three hotels operated by Iraqi Millennium Hotels announced late last fall that they would be utilizing an iris-based biometric identification solution to accurately log employees’ work hours and attendance. The offering is particularly timely because it also allows workers to verify themselves while observing pandemic-related safety protocols such as mask wearing and social distancing.”