Chang­ing face of travel

LifeStyle Wimmera - - INSIDE - By Anne Tay­lor

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.

Auto check-in

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 ex­cess

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.

Per­sonal touch

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 mes­sage­

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