FREMONT, CA: Biometrics is the embodiment of security measures; the scanner uses a 100-point reference to cross-check the identification. What if the same could be applied to the travel and hospitality sector? The vision for the future in the travel industry is to automatize the check-ins, booking verification, and the holistic recognition of the traveler’s itinerary.

The International Air transport Association (IATA) is keen on improving the ease of people at airports and across borders, but groups like World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) are fixated on the integration of the entire travel experience.

Presently, the travel industry requires customer validation by using passports, driver’s licenses, and visas at every step of the journey, be it hotels, cruise ships, or boarding trains. An idea exists, wherein the travelers can store the respective identification documents on phones and use it as digital identity credential.

The challenge is to protect the information and limit access to authorized users, all while increasing interoperability for a wide range to providers. There are sensitivities around data privacy and safety, which complicate the expansion of biometric identification. These doubts of data safety have curbed the usage of biometrics even though the technology is available, and work on advanced encryption systems is being carried out.

Encrypted tools can act as repositories that encourage extensive customization of travel offerings. These preferences can be modified to alert specific items and re-arrange the subsequent occurrences such as notifications to the hotel and car rental, in case of delay in arrival. The providers benefit from the proper planning of services.

Digital identity verification becomes a superior safety option even for travel businesses, as they no longer need to validate the transaction by manual verification. Cruise ships and car rental agencies can offer the same security plan as they ferry thousands of travelers across the national border.  

Several models of digital identity services exist and may evolve to either government-controlled or private-based subscription model. These systems, regardless of models, should take into consideration the level of information the users are willing to share.

It is highly likely for one model to prevail, but multiple models may also exist in the foreseeable future. Despite the risks, both travelers and providers are willing to see what benefits the seamless travel will behold.