Room with a vision at Amadeus

If you work in a certain part of our sector, there’s a fair chance you say a decent smattering of the phrases below every day, either together, as part of a handy sentence, or screamed onto Slack:

Seamless customer journey


Pain points

You may, in fact, have gone selectively blind at the sight of these words. But requirements for regular screen/toil breaks aside, we as an industry like to chit chat about these issues, largely as something to do with technology, when the reality is that it should be core to everything we do.

But first a trip back in time. 

Lots of the list above are of our own making and are a result of empowerment. Before you start fretting that this is going to turn into a party political broadcast for the Republicans, stick with us. In days of yore, travel of the manner we saw in Room With A View had pain points (that’s not my view/why are there socialists leaving question marks all over my room), but not the kind of pain points which leave you rushing out of an airport at 2am looking for a helicopter/warm gutter.

Package travel (and plentiful servants) were there to make that customer journey seamless, leaving the pain and friction to be handled by your fellow travellers.

Now that we have been empowered by technology, we are able to book every little aspect of our trip and my oh my how much fun is that. In the beginning, there was joy to be had because we could smell the bargains from splitting out the package and being prepared to walk some bits rather than get a sedan chair. We could control it all!

And there is a thrill to be had in that. But there is also exhaustion, trauma and a fair amount of pain and friction, on top of the fact that your fellow travellers are still capable of piling that on. The OTAs are talking more about how they can deliver you from door to bed, but they are still some way off. The dream for all of us would be to glide out of the door, disengage the mind and not think at all until we are in the land of crisp white sheets and even then, keep the thinking on more of a point and grunt level. 

The reality of travel is that there is a lot more thinking and reacting than there was in the era of servants. 

Amadeus is trying to move us closer to that feeling of having staff with its purchase of Vision-Box, “a leading provider of biometric solutions for airports, airlines, and border control customers”. And doesn’t that sound fun.

What it means, hopes Amadeus, is that it will be able to connect the travel industry through a ‘seamless ecosystem approach’ (bingo!). 

Decius Valmorbida, president, Travel, Amadeus, said: “Our combined best-in-class solutions will now deliver a seamless passenger journey from booking to boarding. This acceleration of our ecosystem approach will bring immediate and tangible benefits to our customers and travellers: it’s how travel works better.”

The group quoted IATA’s Global Passenger Survey 2023, which found that “75% of passengers are keen on using biometric data to expedite processes at the airport instead of showing passports and boarding passes. Frictionless touchpoints allow passengers to arrive at the boarding gate on time, reducing stress levels and freeing up time to spend at lounge or retail areas. 

“A faster and smoother boarding experience powered by biometrics also enables airlines to improve their on-time performance targets.  Another upside of this technology is that fewer airline staff are required to assist at biometric touchpoints, freeing agents to look after more complex customer enquiries and deliver the best possible customer service at the airport.”

All of this should sound very familiar to any hotel technology provider looking to do all of this for guests, although possibly so far without the biometrics. 

Hotels have allowed themselves to be siloed in the travel experience. Commoditised into just a bed, not even a breakfast any more. This means that when guests land in that bed, they are often exhausted and harassed. Good for ancillary spend on wellness, certainly. But there wouldn’t it be better to be a link in a seamless chain? 

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