How Different Will Booking Your Next Holiday Be?

As we emerge from our caves like how our ancestors once did, there’s a new normal that we, as a society, have to adapt to. With bio-secure measures in place, let’s see how booking accommodation, COULD change in the very near future.

Keys, wallet, phone, luggage. . . Whoops! Don’t forget that mask & hand sanitiser!

Nope, it’s not just you. As we emerge from our caves like how our ancestors once did, there’s a new normal that we, as a society, have to adapt to.

Everyone is doing their part; individuals with face masks, small business owners moving to contacless deliveries, governments performing active testing and the hospitality industry revving up their engines to welcome digital nomads, business travellers and tourists as things return to ‘normal’ once again.

With bio-secure measures in place, let’s see how booking an accommodation, COULD change in the very near future.

1. Technology and Applications

As we welcome the launch of the Google/Apple-based contact tracing app, we are reminded that there are already many available, offered by different nations around the world.

These ‘apps’ are data-gathering tools and have helped countries like China, South Korea lessen the spread of Covid-19 from the start of the year. Now, as more countries realise the importance, places like India are getting their citizens to download the app into their phones. Only very recently, New Zealand too, launched their own version of the tracker app to support contact tracing.

As we welcome the launch of the Google/Apple-based contact tracing app, we are reminded that there are already many available, offered by different nations around the world.

These ‘apps’ are data-gathering tools and have helped countries like China, South Korea lessen the spread of Covid-19 from the start of the year. Now, as more countries realise the importance, places like India are getting their citizens to download the app into their phones. Only very recently, New Zealand too, launched their own version of the tracker app to support contact tracing.

Due to privacy concerns, countries are racing to develop their own version of such apps, so that information of their own citizens are kept within their borders. 

With the release of Singapore’s version of the app, called TraceTogether, the government proceeded to make the app’s source code – open source. This means that other organisations and countries can build similar apps without sacrificing development time.

 By open-sourcing TraceTogether’s source code, the team hopes other organisations and countries can build similar Bluetooth-based contact tracing solutions suited to their local context while enabling interoperability across jurisdictions so we can collectively combat COVID-19 globally.

Tech.gov.sg 

We’ve never seen such a scale of international collaboration and response to one pandemic. And these efforts will definitely continue in the post-Covid 19 world. As these apps are optional to download, travellers of the future may be obligated to download them onto their phones as the planes fill the skies again and cross boarders.

Whether these travellers will need to download them before, during, or even after the trip seems to be uncertain – as nations are still waiting to see the efficacy of such apps. But if an action this small allows me to enjoy the beaches of Bali – well then, sign me up!

2. Advancements in biotechnology

It’s brilliant how general technology has evolved in the past decade but let’s not forget how our researchers are also improving biotechnology. In the beginning, diabetic patients had to wait for days to determine if their blood sugar levels were too high, but today, sugar levels are read in real time!

Detecting viral antibodies is a tad trickier, but we can rely on the speed improvements that we have seen in biosensors over the decades. Recently, the Duke-NUS Medical School has come up with a Covid-19 test kit that swiftly detects if someone has been infected before. What was once a process that took days (in the early days of the pandemic) now takes only an hour.

One-hour results? Try 10 minutes!

In a time shorter than getting pepperoni pizza delivered to your home, a biotech company in Taiwan launched an antibody test kit that delivers results in 10 minutes! So what does this mean for travel? With the advancement of such tech, short stays and quick turnovers could call for immediate guest testing – be it a pandemic virus or common illnesses.

3. Passports, health declarations and rubber stamping

Remember those cards with tiny fonts that you have to fill in before disembarking a flight? You know, those that ask you if you’re carrying meat jerky, fruit or cash above certain limits?

Yeah. You might probably need to declare your health too. Not like the recent travel history declarations but ones that ask if you have taken a Covid-19 test prior to traveling.

Now that tests are getting cheaper and faster, it may be required of travellers to take a rapid test to ensure that they are not infected. Who knows, there may be as many Covid-19 test counters as currency exchange counters? Take your test now and get a free 3-ply mask!

This scale of testing means that the virus can be better managed. Thus, translating to safer travels for everybody around the world. We could even see a digital health passport, to indicate that one is in the pink of health!

Hey, they might even substitute that complimentary packet of nuts for a packet of face masks.

4. Bio-secure accommodation

Like how we’ve become apathetic to metal detectors and EAS systems, we may grow apathetic to safety measures in the accommodation industry – bio-secure accommodation, which could be a good thing.

If you’re a frequent traveller, I’m sure you’re quite familiar with metal detectors everywhere – from entrances at malls in shopping districts, MRT stations and even theme parks in certain countries.

As hotels, resorts and even serviced residences are direct economic victims of this pandemic, don’t be surprised if bio-security initiatives are adopted. To embrace the new norm and the next wave of wanderlust-filled guests, strategies and measures must be received to ensure the safety of everybody.

Measures like virtual viewings (check out how MetroResidences is doing this here), health declarations/health passports and more frequent cleaning services will pave the way.

I dare say, travelling and staying abroad may be safer than before. Short term or long term stays won’t matter, I just need to travel! Now that my boss knows work can be done remotely, maybe I can work while travelling? (I wouldn’t count on it)

As things slowly return to normal, we are seeing pent-up demand for travel in 2021. If you think about it, that’s not too far away. We’re already more than 50% done with 2020!

Think once, maybe twice, but don’t give up that idea of lounging in an infinity pool, your choice of poison in hand, with that summer breeze through your hair. We shall embrace the skies and sink out toes in foreign lands, soon enough.

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