Changing face of travel
Travel has changed. From humble beginnings with small wayside inns offering shelter to travellers, to the now not-so-distant commercial flights to Mars – the future is limitless. And the pace of change has been swift during the past century.
Space travel for civilians is a reality in the next few decades, but is not something most of us will experience. There are, however, some innovations which will affect us all in the approaching future.
Technology has already changed the face of travel and is set to alter our travel experiences in ways we could only imagine a few short years ago.
Following are some of the developing trends I heard about at a recent travel industry seminar during a fascinating talk by Justin Wastnage from Message Shapers.
Smile, you’re on candid camera
Facial recognition sensors will enable your identity to be verified and allow seamless transit through immigration check points.
Facial recognition is already being trialled at passport e-gates, meaning the traveller can pass through without even having to use a touch screen. Goodbye to the long line-up at the immigration desk. Sensors will also recognise your preferences and change advertising displays to show products tailored to your shopping habits.
You’re in the cloud
Your cloud-based profile will be shared with government border agencies and electronic authorisation will replace visas.
Get in the fast lane
Risk-profiling will replace security checks and only those considered a risk will be pulled aside for security checks.
The rest of us will clear customs using an app, giving us approval to leave through a ‘green’ channel. Security x-rays will be shared between countries to allow seamless travel. American Airlines already has an app allowing you to track your bags. The International Air Transport Association is trialling smart security tunnels which perform the current x-ray, explosive tests, metal-detection and pat-downs.
You and your bag will be sniffed, scanned and sprayed and rated on your potential to cause serious harm. The more you travel the more you will be trusted, allowing you to build up a higher security ‘score’ and get through security more quickly.
In recent years we thought it a great innovation to check in using our mobile phones. The next step is auto check-in using number-plate recognition scanners at the airport entrance, which will pass details to your carrier from your hire car or preregistered info in your frequent-flyer profile.
Drop the bag drop
Choose where and when you pick up your bags. Farewell to the luggage carousel where we have all waited endlessly for our luggage to appear while the same two unclaimed suitcases travel sadly around and around.
Luggage will be delivered via chutes at the kerbside, in the arrivals lounge or even the car park.
Look, no hands
You might already have experienced driverless trains in airport terminals such as London Heathrow, or seen the driverless shuttlebus being tested along the esplanade in Fremantle. Now remotely controlled shuttles will deliver passengers to their hotels 24 hours a day, without a driver in sight.
As driverless cars enter the mainstream, with self-drive cars being tested by Google across the USA, the next big thing will be driverless chauffeur and taxi vehicles.
This will make that scary drive out of the airport on the wrong side of the road a thing of the past. No more fighting over who gets to drive. You can all concentrate on the scenery instead of the road. This gives the self-drive holiday a whole new meaning.
Knock knock, room service!
Need extra pillows? No problem.
Robot maids are already a reality in some Californian hotels, servicing linen requests and delivering room service. Soon they will replace bell boys and chambermaids and airport-style check-in machines will replace reception staff.
No need to worry about trying to squeeze in that last bit of shopping. Drones will deliver all your holiday purchases to your door. No need to take your wallet either as chips embedded into clothing will allow the wearer to swipe and go.
If all this has you suffering from cyber overload, you can always visit your travel consultant who has evolved from a booking agent to a travel-experience planner. They are there to advise you on the latest travel trends and provide you with your own personal journey plan, face to face.
– Anne Taylor is a consultant with italktravel, Horsham. For more information about what the future holds for travellers visit Message Shapers at messageshapers.com.au