The COVID-19 pandemic came into the world unannounced, making it hard for everyone to adapt to the changes. With limited global movement, one of the most badly hit industry is travel and tourism. How is the tourism industry keeping up with the changes to maintain profitability, and anticipate the demand once the battle with COVID-19 is over? While the battle with the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, let us look into how the travel industry is adjusting to the expectations of the market to ensure health and safety through mobile app developments. Since mobile applications are easier to use than a website, and almost everyone who can travel has a smartphone, functional mobile applications can help aid in the transformation of a less-contact travel experience. Digital transformation plays a key role in creating a seamless travel experience with enhanced health and safety measures.
Ever since the pandemic started, AirAsia has been a pioneer in mobile app development with seamless and contactless technology. The usual inquiry of airline passengers today
is what additional documents will be required before boarding. To answer this problem, AirAsia launched a mobile application called Scan2Fly. This application keeps the passengers’ documents sufficiently checked so they’d be eligible to fly. This prevents the hassle of calling their customer contact center to ensure that a passenger can fly and a passenger being denied boarding due to lack of health documents. This digital innovation makes everything accessible through a smartphone for passengers, from scanning and uploading of documents during self check-in to verification and approval from travel authorities.
A similar digital solution has been developed by American Airlines. On November 18, 2020, American Airlines Group started offering a mobile app that integrated information including COVID-19 test results and documentation requirements for their destination. This bridges the gap between the willingness of passengers to travel,o and the sufficient information they need to proceed with their trip.
In the world of hotels, one hotel chain that stood out in digitization is Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. They have developed a new mobile app to promote low-contact during the whole customer journey experience for their economy and midscale hotels in the US. Key features of the mobile app are the mobile check-in and checkout, Lightning Book, where guests can search for the nearest Wyndham hotel in three taps, Digital Room Key, and In-Stay Mode, which allows guests to see relevant information on their app.
Hilton Hotels, on the other hand, launched its Digital Key technology way back in 2015 through their Hilton Honors mobile app. Although it has been around for quite a while, it seemed most useful during this time of the pandemic. Guests with the Hilton Honors App can have a contactless customer journey experience from check-in to check-out. They can avoid the long waiting time and the crowd at the hotel lobby.
One of the app features being developed by Disney is the mobile checkout system at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. According to blooloop.com, “This new system allows guests to use either the Disneyland or Walt Disney World mobile app to scan merchandise items as they shop. They can then pay for the items online.” Ordering food and souvenirs will now be through mobile once this development is launched. It will definitely create a new shopping experience for the theme park enthusiasts as they’ll be doing everything by themselves as well as getting rid of the long lines during the checkout process.
One of the biggest theme parks in the world, Universal Studios, also reopened in the midst of the pandemic. One of the developments they made to establish COVID-19 measures of social distancing is the Virtual Lines which is offered in the Universal Orlando Resort mobile app. Although this development was already being offered since 2017, the Virtual Lines has been made available to more attractions and rides at their theme park. Through Virtual Lines, lesser people are queuing as they can reserve the ride ahead of time.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said in a statement that the pandemic is clearly a great concern of travelers. To restore confidence in travel, both the government and the travel sector have to come up with measures that build up the trust of the travelers. A few practical measures, which are already in place, are the wearing of masks and having contactless technology in the pre, during, and post travel experience. This is something that has to be implemented globally.
One of the key things mentioned here is the introduction of contactless technology in travel processes and screening measures. Those who are quick to adapt will surely have the edge to compete in these challenging times. It is important for different industries to look for innovative digital solutions to complement their development towards the changes brought about by the pandemic. Where does this leave the older generation who are not as tech-savvy as the millennials? With a technology invested in User Interface and User Experience design (UI UX design), anyone can easily adapt to the technological advancement by ensuring that the mobile applications are easy to use and most importantly, functional.
While the pandemic is a developing situation that brings about a lot of uncertainties, it is definitely shaping the future. Now, how would the world look like post-pandemic?
The impact of digitization is clearly seen in these trying times. The economy is still in the process of adapting to this change. While the threat is still at large, keep the future of your business safe through digital transformation. Get in touch with User Experience Researchers at https://www.user.com.sg/contact/.