Business travel is starting to increase again after the Great Hiatus, but many companies are still expressing concerns about exposing their employees to unnecessary risks when it comes to traveling. This has led to the decline of in-person conferences, and face-to-face meetings, forcing workers to use video conferencing.
While business travel levels won’t reach 2019 levels anytime soon, the travel industry is adopting technology that will safeguard the travel experience and reduce the risk of travel. Airports and travel companies are making their employees and customers their top priority to ensure that kind of safety.
Biometrics is the way
An already-existing technology in smartphones, biometrics — scanning your face or fingerprints — will probably play a big part in the future for travel. Used to identify people for access to certain systems and devices, like your iPhone, biometrics encourages less contact among people in public places, such as handling a credit card or hotel key.
Largely, this type of technology has been used for access within private companies rather than as a product of governmental sanction, but now we’re seeing it in airports. Mobile applications already use biometrics to capture the information of a traveler prior to boarding, just like the kiosks at airports which scan passports to log in your information. Even TSA has been testing for biometric solutions since 2015 for security reasons.
Airlines have streamlined the ability to allow travelers to check-in through their mobile apps, but now we’re seeing a few hotels adopt it as well. Mobile check-in allows business travelers to skip the check-in line and go right to the gate once they get through security.
At the very least, mobile apps let you skip checking in at the front desk of the airport (use the Sky Caps if you have to check your bags, and tip them $2 per bag), and it definitely lets you skip the check-in kiosks, which have been found to be some of the germiest surfaces in an airport.
Hotels are even letting you bypass the front desk to check-in. Virgin Hotels’ mobile app, Lucy, lets travelers check-in through the app, access mobile keys, and even serve as a remote for the TV, lights, and thermostat. Other hotels will soon follow suit, but if they don’t, be sure to pack a few disinfectant wipes and wipe down everything in the room.
Will there be a new security system?
The Transportation Safety Agency was created as a response to 9-11 to secure safety for all travelers, whether by air, train, or ship. Experts believe that a similar pre-approval system could be put in place to monitor the health of travelers and deploy the right technologies. This can be a boost for companies that want to send employees on business trips.
We still have video conferencing
Since traveling is still far off for a lot of businesses, companies are still relying heavily on video conferencing apps to keep things running. Apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have made it possible to not have companies risk the health of their employees. This technology has allowed businesses to continue with strategic planning and a type of interaction that still seems more human than instant messaging and phone calls.
Of course, a lot of people are getting burned out and we’re coming up with new ways to either reduce our Zoom meetings or make them more enjoyable. Still, many companies have found that not only is this a way to save on travel, many companies are also finding that it’s a way to cut down on their overhead, as they’re not renewing their leases on their expensive office space.
How have you managed your business travel? Are you going to resume any time soon, or are you still sitting back and waiting to see what develops? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.
Photo credit: Mtcv (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)