The following article is a guest submission from OwnID.
The travel industry is starting to revive from the massive disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has been a bumpy ride, with under-resourced airports straining to meet the uptick in customer demand, and various delays and cancellations frustrating travelers. That’s why it’s more important than ever for airlines, cruise lines, hotels, and other travel operators to deliver a seamless passenger experience. Even before the pandemic’s full impact was felt, the need for an enhanced traveler experience was highlighted in an OECD report for the G20 Tourism Working Group. A couple of years later, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirmed its importance in its 2022 Global Passenger Survey, which found convenience to be a top priority for travelers. Survey respondents showed strong demand for options to complete check-in and immigration procedures ahead of the airport, and 75 percent of them wanted to enjoy the convenience of biometric identity verification as a replacement for passports and boarding passes.
The same logic extends back to the very beginning of the travel process—booking. This critically important first step is too often a highly complex one for the customer: While many travelers may already have their pertinent information on record with a given airline, cruise line, or other travel agent, accessing it can be impeded by account sign-in processes that require customers to enter complex passwords or complete annoying two-factor authentication processes. This is a big part of the reason that the travel industry suffers from below-average conversion rates, which Smart Insights pegs at 2.4 percent, compared to 2.6 percent in retail. This challenge highlights the need for a more seamless booking process that helps travelers to settle their plans almost as soon as they’ve come up with them.
That’s where a passwordless booking experience can offer compelling benefits. Passwordless login makes booking a breeze by letting a customer gain immediate access to their account the same way they unlock their phone or PC. When booking a trip with Carnival Cruise Lines, for example, all that’s required is a quick selfie or a fingerprint scan on the traveler’s smartphone using OwnID, and they’re in.
That simplicity can give travel companies a competitive edge. Online shopping cart abandonment rates are notoriously high in air travel, at around ~80 percent, compared to a 68-74 percent range in retail and other industries. Implementing the ease of a passwordless login process can help to make up the difference for those organizations that take advantage of it, allowing them to attract and retain customers who might otherwise have given up on booking out of frustration.
With various travel industry stakeholders looking to deliver a smoother experience for customers, providing the right kind of booking experience can lay the foundation for a transformed passenger journey. Through a quick selfie or Touch ID login, a traveler can access their account and get their trip booked in minutes, and then proceed to check in at the airport, sea port, or any other travel hub with a simple biometric scan before gliding through security and boarding thanks to the assurances that digital identity technologies provide. The future of travel will be seamless, starting with a streamlined, passwordless booking process.