The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the body that represents the global private sector for travel and tourism, announced Monday a series of pilot schemes to test the use of biometric technology throughout the end-to-end passenger journey.
In first half of 2019, passengers will be able to experience the application of biometric technology at every stage of the travel process — from the point of booking, check-in, through airports, airline boarding, border management, car rental, hotel, cruise and during the journey.
In a series of pilot schemes being facilitated by WTTC under its Seamless Traveler Journey initiative, representatives from several industries within the travel and tourism sector, such as airlines, airports, hospitality, cruise, car rental, and tour operators, will be able to jointly test different technologies that interconnect and work to improve the experience of the traveler.
The first pilot will see travelers on round trips between Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and London using biometric technology to conduct all airline security, airport and border processes before accessing car rental and hotel check-in using the same biometric information.
WTTC is working with American Airlines, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Hilton, and MSC Cruises on plans for this first step toward the immense task of changing how people will travel, which is expected to have profound benefits for the traveler and the future of the industry. All of these corporations and the members of WTTC share a commitment to making the travel process safer and more efficient through the use of biometric technology.
WTTC has also invited U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the UK Border Agency to collaborate on the first pilot. Consulting firm Oliver Wyman is supporting WTTC with the overall Seamless Traveler Journey program.
“In 2019 travelers between Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and London will be able to experience the future of travel. Our vision is that the traveler won’t need to provide the same information or passport multiple times. Instead, their experience will be seamless, faster and more enjoyable throughout their entire journey. Biometrics will work at every touchpoint of the journey to make traveling easier for the passenger while providing border services with greater security,” said Gloria Guevara, president & CEO of WTTC.
Since “99.9 percent of travelers are considered low risk,” using technology to minimize queues can “give low-risk travelers more time to enjoy the travel experience,” she said.
“These travelers, by using technology, will be able to spend their time enjoying the experience, shopping at airports or more time at destinations rather than worrying about long queues,” Guevara continued. “Travel and tourism employs one in 10 people on the planet today and over the course of the next 20 years we will witness a doubling of the number of travelers and the creation of as many as 100 million jobs around the world. We have a responsibility to prepare for the future by transforming the traveler experience while increasing security by working together and with governments.”
Chris Nassetta, chairman of WTTC and president and CEO of Hilton, added, “In our industry, our customers are at the heart of everything we do – we are always looking for new ways to offer them exceptional experiences. In the near future, travelers will begin to see biometric technologies that will enhance many elements of their journey from start to finish. Thanks to the support of our partners around the world, WTTC is helping create seamless experiences for travelers, encouraging the sustainable growth of travel and tourism.”
Sean Donohue, CEO of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, said, “As we look ahead to transforming the customer experience through technology and personal touchpoints, we’re pleased that DFW is part of this industry-leading effort. International airports are uniquely positioned in the customer journey, providing a key connection between air and ground transportation, hotels, and government agencies. We’re confident the WTTC pilot program will lead to an even better customer experience and more efficiencies for businesses and agencies across the travel and tourism industry.”