The New Visitor Experience

28 June 2024

The Client

Our client in the Middle East is a large progressive organisation responsible for the development of an advanced greenfield site, 33 times the size of New York City, that aims to create a futuristic community with advanced technologies, sustainable solutions and many luxury tourism and nature destinations to create a truly unique place to live and visit.  

We embarked on a visionary path with our partners at Publicis Sapient, bridging the gap between tradition and innovation in the Middle East. 

Our work on the project is set to revolutionise how a traveller engages with a destination and provides a seamless traveller experience. Identity is the core component, powered by our evolutionary product, Cenda, to create a Visitor Experience Platform for the client. 

Key Highlights

  • Visitor Experience Platform: Unified, real-time profile and preferences system linked to visitor identity, dynamically updated and accessible to travel providers. 
  • Enhanced Data Security and Privacy: Control over personal information negating the need for local data storage. 
  • Boost Spending: Personalised experiences based on visitor profiles and preferences. 
  • Cross-Brand Loyalty Scheme: Integrated rewards system encouraging engagement. 
  • Compliance and Flexibility: Adapts to varying legal requirements and promotes ecosystem-wide interoperability.

The Challenge

Fragmented identity management systems inhibit today’s travel landscape, where each touch point with travel services requires distinct and unique identity verification steps. This approach undermines the traveller’s security and ease of travel and hampers the smooth exchange of critical information among service providers, diminishing the overall travel experience.  

Online travel agencies exacerbate the issue by filtering travellers’ data from downstream vendors, such as airlines and hotels, creating inefficiencies and service provision limitations. To disrupt this model and improve service for the traveller, there needs to be a unified system that facilitates seamless data sharing across the entire travel journey.  

Additionally, organisations must adapt to changing international standards, such as eIDAS 2.0, to ensure compliance and enhance interoperability. This significant change will necessitate businesses revamping their operations, ultimately contributing to a more streamlined, integrated, and secure travel experience. 

Driven by leading experts, our client defined several challenges: 

  • Fragmented Identity Verification – Travellers repeat identity verification processes at multiple points, from their original booking to on-site services, creating friction and inefficiencies  
  • Multiple user accounts – travellers have to create a separate user account for each service provider on the journey, resulting in repeated processes, inconsistent user experiences and different device experiences 
  • Mutual Authentication through trusted communication channels – finding common ground to establish mutual trust between service providers and travellers. For example, Hotel representatives must trust that they are interacting with verified travellers, and travellers must trust that they are communicating with authorised travel representatives 
  • Inconvenient Data Sharing – The lack of a secure, fluid data-sharing mechanism between service providers compromises the travel experience and operational efficiency  
  • Security and Privacy Concerns – Traditional account-based systems pose risks of data breaches and misuse, eroding traveller trust 
  • Siloed Data and Systems: Loyalty programs, operational processes, and personalisation efforts are limited by fragmented, siloed data and lack of interoperability, hindering seamless service delivery and effective updates across service providers. 
  • Regulatory Compliance and Flexibility – Adhering to diverse regulatory frameworks for data protection and identity management is complex and burdensome. 
  • Innovation and Future Readiness – The hospitality sector’s reliance on outdated identity management practices stifles innovation and adaptation to future trends. To prepare for the future, companies should foster aligned leadership, leverage AI for customer service, adopt agile operating models, and cultivate an innovation-driven culture. Modernising technology platforms will enhance revenue, operations, and customer interactions. 

Without evolution, this fragmented ecosystem will continue to impact the mutual benefits between travellers, service providers, and destinations, causing inefficiencies and overlooking the significant opportunities for innovation and improved service provision in the travel sector. 

The Solution

We are dedicated to transforming visitors’ travel experience by seamlessly integrating Decentralized Identity technology. We aim to provide an enjoyable, stress-free, and frictionless journey.  

To do this, we leveraged our tailor-made product, Cenda to effortlessly scale and configure decentralised identity across our client’s complex identity ecosystem.  

Acting as a middleware, Cenda enables staff, customer and visitor credential verification to be built rapidly using existing ecosystem data sources, the latest decentralised methodologies, identity verification services and biometric technologies.  

In our client’s case, Cenda enabled the development of digital passports to speed up processes, enhance convenience and experience, verify guest identity, facilitate secure transactions, and ensure secure lines of communication between service providers and visitors.  

Our efforts are concentrated on encouraging adoption among visitors, application developers, and service providers in the Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism sectors by simplifying their access to and delivery of this seamless experience through a Visitor Experience Platform powered by Cenda and decentralised technology.  

The platform is strategically designed to enhance the overall visitor experience and streamline processes. It uses a rich decentralised data layer for tailored services and unlocks new revenue opportunities through an exceptional travel experience and secure direct communication channel. 

The Visitor Experience Platform offers a unified, real-time profile of preferences and a direct peer-to-peer communication system linked to a visitor’s identity. It is dynamically updated and makes it readily accessible to participating travel providers. This platform ensures that personal data is transferred transparently between users and ecosystem participants, shareable via Verifiable Credentials stored in their Microsoft Entra Verified ID capable digital wallet or preferences stored within their Decentralized Web Nodes (DWNs) personal data store.  

Through the platform, visitors can effortlessly adapt their profile and preferences at every stage of their journey while enabling service providers to access this data to create a personalised experience enhanced through direct, secure communication. 

Integrating the Visitor Experience Platform into current onboarding pathways enables travellers to enter their information once and then apply it across multiple engagements with various service providers, simplifying their initial setup process. The platform serves as an extensive data repository, continuously enriching a visitor’s profile and preferences as they interact with different services.  

Stored securely in the visitor’s digital wallet and personal data store, this digital identity affords meticulous control over which data is shared, allowing services to be customised through controlled disclosure.  

The visitor’s profile and preferences are not static but can be updated by both the visitor and service providers, ensuring the information remains current and relevant. This adaptability fosters a customised experience that evolves with the visitor’s needs and preferences. Additionally, the platform integrates a cross-service rewards system, enriching visitor engagement and retention across the client’s ecosystem. 

The visitor experience platform facilitates a secure communication channel between visitors and travel providers. Through Peer-to-Peer communication using decentralised identifiers and Decentralized Web Nodes, a secure and private connection is established, ensuring mutual authentication between visitors and service operators. This connection is safeguarded with encryption, allowing for the safe exchange of visitor information. This secure communication is paramount with the emergence of AI and digital agents. Travellers will need to ensure that either the human or the bot is, in fact, the person or provider they say they are. By ensuring the conversation is verified and authenticated on each end, platform users can bolster the trust and commerce being facilitated over this communication channel.  

The platform’s Peer-to-Peer communication capability enables service providers to interact directly with visitors, facilitating activities such as ticket issuance, identity verification, and the provision of a secure platform for personalised up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. This is achieved by leveraging the detailed profile and preferences of the visitor, ensuring that the communication is not only secure but also highly customised to each visitor’s needs and interests. 

Designed with compliance and flexibility in mind, the visitor experience platform can adapt to the varying legal requirements across jurisdictions and promotes ecosystem-wide interoperability and collaboration, supported by standardised protocols and shared infrastructure.

The Benefits

The Visitor Experience Platform goes beyond the standard service by offering personalised recommendations and rewards based on visitor consent. This feature is designed to make visitors feel special and appreciated, enhancing the overall experience and contributing to a memorable journey.  

The Visitor Experience Platform offers a secure, consent-based communication process for travel and tourism service providers. This not only ensures the safety of visitor data, but also establishes a sense of trust and confidence in the service providers, enhancing their relationship with visitors.  

Overall, the platform elevates visitor satisfaction, attracting more tourists and promoting sustainable growth. At a high level, the platform provides the following: 

  • Compliant and standards-based – the adaptability to new national and international digital standards ensures compliance and enhances platform and service interoperability. 
  • Streamlined onboarding process – one-time visitor registration, avoiding repetitive procedures with multiple service providers. 
  • Secure, consent-based visitor-to-provider communication – direct communication where consent governs the continuity of interactions. 
  • Personalised recommendations and traveller rewards – delivering recommendations based on current and dynamically updated traveller preferences. 
  • Easy onboarding for service operators of all sizes – an accessible onboarding system accommodates entities of varying sizes and technical capabilities. 
  • Direct customer interaction and upselling opportunities – a secure communication pathway for direct customer interaction, facilitating an enhanced travel experience. 
  • Deep insights and business intelligence – the platform provides insights into the visitor’s journey improving customer retention and increasing operational efficiency by reducing the administrative load, leading to positive customer feedback. 
  • Enhanced data security and visitor privacy – the technology’s decentralised nature ensures enhanced data security and privacy by reducing local data storage and giving visitors control over their personal information. 

Architectural Highlights

  • World Wide Web (W3C) and Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF) standards-based architecture. 
  • Microsoft Entra Verified ID based Verifiable Credentials for personal data security and portability. 
  • Decentralized Web Nodes personal data store for interoperability with Web5 Decentralized Web Apps (DWAs)  for data sharing and peer-to-peer communication. 
  • Interoperable Trust Over IP Trust Registry for ecosystem Governance across the Travel and Tourism sector. 
  • Schema Registry for data interoperability throughout the ecosystem.

The combined power of our platform, Cenda, and our experience in professional consulting services paired with our client’s vision represents a transformative step in the evolution of travel and tourism.  

We have created a robust visitor experience platform leveraging digital passports that ensures seamless, secure, and personalised interactions by addressing critical challenges, such as fragmented identity verification, multiple user accounts, and inefficient data sharing. Leveraging decentralised identity technology and innovative new services, this solution enhances operational efficiency and elevates the overall travel experience, setting a new standard for the industry.  

With Cenda, travellers enjoy a streamlined journey from start to finish, service providers gain deep insights and operational benefits, and the destination stands out as a beacon of innovation and sustainability. This ground-breaking project revolutionises how travellers engage with their environment and paves the way for future advancements in hospitality and travel technology, ultimately fostering a more connected, secure, and satisfying travel ecosystem. 

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