Travel TechnologyFlight, hotel, PCR and serology tests in one app to solve "immediate needs" of travellers coming into and out of Singapore.

Why FCM Asia wants to launch its own digital health wallet

The travel management company hopes its first mover advantage will help customers get back on the road when borders reopen.
The travel management company hopes its first mover advantage will help customers get back on the road when borders reopen. Photo Credit: FCM Travel Solutions

While waiting for the various travel passes to be sorted out, FCM Travel Solutions Asia has launched its own digital health wallet, an app aimed at helping its customers back on the road, specifically travellers out of and into Singapore, when the time is right.

Referring to the multitude of travel and health passes that are being developed around the world – IATA, SITA, Common Pass, Verifly, to name just a few, Bertrand Saillet, Singapore-based managing director, said, “I don’t know which pass is going to win in the end but we need to solve the immediate needs in this country and outgoing and incoming is a good start.”

In so doing, it has become the first FCM office in the world to develop such an app to serve as “a one-stop-shop to not only make flight and accommodation bookings for their trips but also PCR and serology tests”.

It was developed in partnership with Affinidi, a company founded by Singapore government-backed Temasek which is developing “a Self-Sovereign Identity-enabled ecosystem”, and Fullerton Health.

“It is Singapore-centric, we didn’t want to wait for a global solution, we have to solve an immediate need and it made sense to work with Singapore enterprises,” said Saillet. Singapore Airlines is also using the same solution.

“Once people book with us, we propose PCR testing based on requirements. We offer to book the testing and after testing, the report will be shown in the app. Then there’s a QR code that will allow you to get into the fast lane at Changi.”

Admittedly, adoption is very low now because there are very few travellers but once travel ramps up, Saillet said this fast lane facility will be of great value.

For inbound arrivals, it is working with certified health care providers in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Hong Kong so that travellers can travel to Singapore, fully aware of requirements and adhering to protocols.

“Integration was an easy process. The good thing is, we don’t store any personal data, that’s kept in a Affinidi protected environment. We don’t want to deal with any data issues,” said Saillet.

FCM’s priority is to solve the problems of travellers in Singapore currently. “I don’t know how many passes there will be eventually and maybe it will be a blend of different solutions. Maybe it could be a TMC–driven one in which we aggregate and make it easy for consumers, because it’s going to be so confusing and they don’t want to have to deal with multiple travel passes.”

He hopes his first mover advantage will give it an edge with travellers out of and into Singapore when borders reopen.

Earlier last month, FCM Travel Solutions launched a Digital Health Credential Programme, bringing together technologies to enable business travellers a safer, seamless and quicker journey back on the road.

Sustainability rises to top of agenda

While cross-border travel remains flat across the region, Saillet said he is very optimistic about the second half of 2021. And markets with domestic travel such as China, Australia and New Zealand are healthy. “Travel has not stopped there, we are seeing good levels of business and that’s positive. It shows people will travel when allowed.”

The question is how much pent-up demand will there be, he said. “When the Singapore-Hong Kong bubble was announced, we struggled to find seats but then that didn’t happen and now people are more wary of booking and then being disappointed.”

Personally, he’s booked his mother and sister on a flight from Paris to Singapore at the end of October, which gives an indication of his hopefulness.

Saillet said that apart from duty of care, sustainability will become a key agenda in corporate travel. Once relegated to the bottom of the list, he said sustainability was now ranked number three after customer experience and safety.

The Singapore government’s announcement of its Green Plan 2030 will be a key impetus. Announced this month, it charts ambitious and concrete targets over the next 10 years, strengthening Singapore’s commitments under the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and Paris Agreement, and positioning it to achieve “long-term net zero emissions aspiration as soon as viable”.

“This will drive corporations to adopt sustainability and our role is to help them have full visibility of their net emissions and offer solutions on they can offset and reduce. There will also be self-empowerment of travellers who will be given incentives to reduce emissions and the positive contributor gets rewarded.”

Saillet said sustainability had not been a big issue in Asia previously but things have changed. “Customers in China are asking for it – it’s a big shift in a very short time. And if corporations can only use suppliers that have sustainability standards, it will force suppliers to adjust as well.

“Remember we were speaking about security and privacy three years ago and now all these privacy laws have come in – it will be the same with sustainability.”

Saillet is also excited to see rising activity among startups emerging to solve different pain points of the industry. “We need to integrate them for the end customer – payments, expense management, sustainability – all these offer opportunities for us to work with startups and innovate.”

Source: Web in Travel

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