In recent years, the travel sector has undergone remarkable changes, largely due to technological advancements and evolving consumer preferences. A noteworthy trend is the growing importance of seamless travel, accompanied by the use of Digital Travel Credentials (DTCs), which are a digital representation of a traveler’s passport data. This transformation has and will continue to have an impact on the travel experience and the industry at large.
Seamless Travel: A New Definition of the Traveler Journey
Seamless travel refers to a comprehensive and effortless travel experience achieved through the integration of various stages of travel using technology. We have seen a rapid recovery in travel almost back to pre-pandemic levels, creating a pressing need to provide a seamless, smooth, and digital travel experience. Travelers demand simpler, faster, and more secure solutions, expecting to travel at the click of a few buttons, minimizing wait times and touchpoints.
Transforming the pre-boarding check-in processes and border experiences with innovative identity verification solutions can achieve significant time savings for the traveler and reduced personnel needs for travel service providers. Higher traveler volumes continue to cause congestion, especially in tight spaces like airport terminals, cruise terminals, and train stations. Expanding these areas is challenging due to the need for significant capital project expenses and lengthy approval processes.
Benefits of the DTC Approach
The use of DTCs provides several advantages to both travel companies and consumers. For companies, it entails the ability to gather additional customer data (where permitted by privacy legislation), for more targeted and improved services. Consumers benefit from a more personalized experience and efficiency by registering once with a favorite carrier and reusing registration across multiple journeys.
Challenges and Future Prospects
While seamless travel via the DTC model holds immense promise, it presents challenges, too. Addressing data security and privacy concerns is vital to ensure that the personal information collected during booking and travel remains safeguarded. The DTC is tightly linked to the international standards for ePassports. ICAO, as a consensus-based organization, must constantly balance the push for innovation with the need to retain backward-compatibility with existing ePassport standards.
As technology evolves and consumer preferences transform, travel providers will need to adapt and provide seamless, convenient, and personalized experiences that cater to the modern traveler.
Sustainability and Digital Credentials
As environmental concerns take center stage, seamless travel and DTCs contribute to sustainability goals. Digital boarding passes and check-ins reduce paper usage, for example.
In a rapidly evolving travel industry where travelers demand simpler, faster, and more secure solutions, Entrust has taken the lead in transforming pre-boarding check-in processes and seamless travel experiences. Leveraging its innovative identity verification platform, Entrust has real-world experience deriving DTCs.
With the recent launch of the Eurostar SmartCheck program, Entrust has solidified its position as a global leader in DTC implementation. Eurostar launched its SmartCheck biometric service into full production in July 2023, following rigorous testing across several thousand trips.
Another notable example of Entrust solutions in use today is the UK Home Office’s expansion of its digitized immigration application process with the launch of the new UK Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).
Discover how your company can embark on a seamless travel journey with Entrust.