For anyone who has been on the London Underground in the last year, you may have noticed UV light sanitising devices have been installed on escalators. According to TFL, the UV bulb ‘breaks down contamination to sanitise the surface continuously’.Similarly, next time you’re in an airport, look out for an autonomous mobile robot scrubbing the floors – again in a bid to raise the standard of cleanliness.
While these seem like obvious ideas now, pre-pandemic no one – at least not your average Joe like me – would have thought that this type of cleaning was a necessity.
This post-pandemic need for safety is also accelerating the use of contactless technology to reduce the number of surfaces travellers touch and people they interact with.
Etihad recently trialled new contactless self-service technologies which used voice controls from passengers to work through the check in-process. Schiphol Airport introduced a contactless food ordering service, with meals ready to be collected once passengers pass through security. And Bangalore Airport has introduced a comprehensive biometric system where facial recognition technology gets passengers all the way through check in, bag drop, security and onto the plane – touch free.
Pandemic aside, these types of innovations help in reducing the friction in the whole customer experience of researching, booking and conducting travel – something that needs to be a driving imperative for all businesses in the sector.
For example, KLM are using AI tools to help create a more seamless customer experience. Across their social channels you can book flights, manage reservations, make changes, see updates and lots more. The interface is familiar, because it uses apps such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. British Airways is another example: customers can open a Facebook chat and immediately be served information to book flights, find up to date Covid information and lots more, all directly from the Messenger app.
And lastly, we’ve been playing our part at Candyspace, helping HALO – a business providing saliva-based PCR tests – to provide a seamless path for customers through the often-confusing and rapidly-changing regulations about which tests you need when travelling to and from the UK.
Safe and sanitised travel: something we can all value in these times.