Fusing Together Travel and Technology


Luggage tags capable of texting us when lost. Biometrics verifying our irises and fingerprints. Seattle’s Hotel 1000 with infrared signals that detect body heat so housekeeping staff doesn’t barge in.

Oh, you bet there’s more. Just Tap Here. Blame it on memory. You got so cheap.

A third of Americans now own tablet computers. Pretty soon we won’t have to travel. We’ll rack up miles and yowzah moments on our touchscreens. Like back at Seattle’s Hotel 1000, where the virtual driving range lets you play the top 50 golf courses in the world. Why not own all of it? All in our mind, where it counts?

At Starwood’s Aloft Hotels you can stiff the front desk and let radio waves with frontal lobe activity grind it out on your gruff but tenderhearted smartphone. They have no bounds.

And let’s not forget U.S. airport security background programs like Global Entry ($100 for five years) and Clear ($179 a year) that rely on biometric data like fingerprints and iris scans to identify you.

You get the idea.

Biometrics – measurements of our physical and behavioral traits, including face recognition – is the key to just about everything. No more “hiding your wallet in your shoe at the pool.”

For example, Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas uses biometric room keys. The iris in your eye unlocks Kimpton’s Nine Zero Hotel’s penthouse in Boston.

How much is social media driving this? Who and where you are means everything to advertisers. You’re the product, remember? Some millennium-geared hotels (Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel) use electromagnetic-wave wristbands so guests can update their Facebook status by flipping the bands at sensors.

Hey, just making it easy to get the name out.

There’s even pre-posted messages like, “Hanging out at the Ushsaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel … Jealous?” (That’s grounds to de-friend and inspiration for a de-friend app.) Some spots even take your picture and post it on Facebook for you. (Where is that app?)

And, of course, once you’re registered at a digital info-age resort you can pay for everything by tapping your fingers. PayTouch links your prints to your card.

Walt Disney World Resorts have been using finger recognition scanners at their park entrances for more than 10 years. Radio frequency-enabled wristbands are coming later this year.

The Tarmac’s View: More personal security issues for us. We’ve already rolled the dice online with everything else that was once secure in our pockets. So far, vendors let you opt out of most individual electronic surveillance and payment methods. After they invented check writing, some writer must have written you can opt out and pay cash if you don’t trust checks. You know, keep it safe in your pocket. Biometrics is just taking it to the new millennium.


More in:

Comments (Showing 1 of 1)

  • mandolino at 11:56am June 13, 2013

    I have a biometric residency card for the UK.
    Now it takes about 3 times longer to scan my prints and let me in than it did when they just looked at my photo. We’re confusing labour-saving technology with customer service.

Leave Reply

You must be a logged in member to post a comment. Click here to Register.