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Travel Digital Digest: March 2019

In the world of travel marketing, the headlines just keep coming. To make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest news, here is your monthly round-up of the top stories in March 2019.


Facial recognition in 2020 


Narita International Airport in Tokyo is to be the first airport in Japan to introduce new facial recognition technology in 2020.


Only available on selected airlines, the airport is looking to introduce a new ‘One ID’ system. Facial data will be taken at the first point of contact which is likely to be a kiosk check-in; passports and other relevant documents will also be checked. Travellers will then be able to pass through baggage check-in, security screening, immigration and boarding without having to show their passport or other documents again.


Dubbed ‘the world’s most advanced facial recognition technology’, it has been put in place to reduce queuing and speed up the airport experience for passengers.


The real influence of Influencers


Ever wondered whether collaborating with influencers is really worth it?


Hotel-booking app Six Travel has confirmed it has launched a business-to-business platform called ‘Six Insights’ to measure exactly this. Adele Gutman, vice president of sales, marketing, and revenue for Library Hotel Collection, commented: ‘Right now, we hotels are making educated guesses about which influencers will produce for us. Even when we see 100K views on something, we don’t know if it helped anyone decide to book us.’


The new tool delivers real-time analytics to brands showing how many bookings or engagement has come directly from an influencer.


Economy beds on long-haul flights


Airline Thomas Cook is introducing a ‘Sleeper Seat‘ on long-haul flights from May.


Commercial director Henry Sunley said: ‘It is a fantastic way to transform your flying experience and enjoy some extra comfort when flying in economy.’ Mattresses will be fitted along three seats at the rear of the airplane once safely in the air. Cabin crew will then prepare a fitted sheet, headrest and blanket making a temporary bed for passengers.


Available to adults and children 12 years and over, prices start from £200 for one way.


Introducing AI-powered chatbot solutions


Flight Centre Travel Group has turned to the world of AI after buying travel chatbot Sam.


Sam is an iOS and Android app that provides live chats between consultants and consumers, sends notifications to customers during travel and much more. Now the sole owner and licensor of Sam, the company has already incorporated the AI into many of its brands.


Flight Centre has also increased its investment in 30SecondsToFly which has an AI booking assistant, Claire. Future plans involve integrating both AI’s. John Morhous, chief experience officer of Flight Centre Travel Group Corporate Brands, said: ‘We’re thrilled to bring the Sam team fully into the Flight Centre family.’


Dear Instagram, can we shop for travel, too?


Social media giant Instagram has announced the launch of a new shopping experience for customers.


Introducing ‘Instagram Checkout’, the platform’s 1 billion worldwide users will now be able to buy what they see in images without being redirected to another site. Initially on trial with beauty, fashion and sports brands, Instagram has revealed that more than 90 million people click for more information on shopping-related posts each month.


With travel playing a huge part of this platform, the success of this trial can mean big changes to online travel if the shopping feature rolls out to travel bookings. With the complexity that comes with providing a holiday checkout service, we can only keep our fingers crossed.


March has seen the growth of AI technology, new social features and much more. We appreciate that keeping up with the latest trends can be challenging while running your brand. By working with an agency, you can make sure you are taking action when it comes to new changes and developments. Get in touch with Ad-Rank today.