Covid-19: Delhi, Hyderabad airports unveil app for contactless end-to-end travel

Apart from making air travel more convenient at every stage, the HOI app's importance in the Covid-19 fight cannot be ignored

Covid-19: Delhi, Hyderabad airports unveil app for contactless end-to-end travel
Screengrab from HOI website.

Seamless and contactless air travel is what everyone wants in these pandemic times. We have seen the advent of apps like the International Air Transport Association (IATA) travel pass and  Airbus's Tripset as digital passports to simplify travel for the passengers, aggregate and provide flight and travel information apart from information on restrictions and health requirements. And now, India seems to have its own unique digital travel companion for flyers. 

The GMR-run Delhi and Hyderabad airports have partnered with a passenger engagement platform called HOI to assist passengers at every stage of their travel, right from their homes to the end destinations. Importantly, the app also provides information on the location of Covid-19 testing facilities at the airport and packages offered.  

Last year, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India vision, the two airports in association with HOI, had adopted a contactless food-ordering service. With social distancing being of paramount importance and emphasis being also on minimising contact with various surfaces that can house the coronavirus, the HOI app is a real boon. 

"Passenger experience is paramount to us, more so at this challenging time. As social distancing norms have become the new normal, we have adopted multiple initiatives to enhance passenger safety at our airports. In HOI, we have a unique platform that helps us to extend the contactless and digital experience to our flyers to enable a safe travel experience for them. 

"HOI app comes with a comprehensive set of features that lets passengers enjoy frictionless travel, right from their homes to end destination, with most of our airport processes being enabled digitally. The initial user feedback and adoption for features such as flight tracking, digital ordering and gate delivery have been encouraging. In a nutshell, HOI is a true travel companion to a passenger being by his side throughout his journey at each stage of his travel. HOI as a passenger engagement platform plays a pivotal role in GMR-run airports, digitally enabling a safe, smart and seamless experience for our passengers," said a GMR spokesperson.

Some of the shopping outlets at Delhi airport (T3-Departure-Domestic) featuring on the HOI website. Image courtesy: HOI 

The HOI platform is available as an app for Android and iOS and as a web app and also in the form of digital self-order kiosks at airports. It has brought under one roof 10,000 top products from across 80 popular outlets and brands covering realms like duty-free, retail, food and beverage, lounges, parking, cabs and so on. 

Also read: Why IATA travel pass is key to resuming regular international air travel

Once the passengers add their travel details to HOI, they are able to track upcoming flights and receive real-time alerts on gate changes and weather at the destination. They can also book commute options to and from the airport. 

The app also helps passengers to plan their travel smartly on the day of the travel based on factors like traffic, time to check-in, time for security (immigration for international travellers) and distance to the boarding gate.      

The 'Predictive Time to Gate' feature provides real-time traffic congestion information at various touchpoints so that the passengers can pace their movement effectively from their places of origin onward to the airport and all the way to the boarding gate. 

Not only that, the HOI app promises to lead passengers to their boarding gates, help them discover their favourite brands for shopping and dining and also search for facilities like washrooms, baby care rooms etc nearby. It would also notify passengers when their baggage is loaded onto the aircraft. Passengers would also not have to worry about missing gate change notifications if they don't stay hooked to flight display screens at the airport because they would be promptly notified through the HOI app in any case. 

Another feature offered by the HOI app is automatic check-in of passengers using the geo-fencing capability once the passengers reach the airport, allowing them to proceed directly to security screening, thereby saving a lot of time. 

Contactless food ordering, payment and gate delivery enable passengers to safely order and pick up their meals, which is a real advantage in the face of Covid-19. It saves time too. This has been very well-received by the passengers. 

Information on Covid-19 testing at Delhi airport (T3-Departure-Domestic) on the HOI website. Image courtesy: HOI

The HOI app's contactless shopping feature allows passengers to pick up a product from the shelf, scan its bar code, pay digitally and self-check-out. 

After the passenger lands, he is informed about the belt from which to collect the baggage, and also cab options to reach his end destination. The app also offers one-touch wi-fi to seamlessly access the airport internet, pre-book parking space at the airport and save the boarding pass and display it on the phone wherever needed.

Also read: Covid-19 busted your vacation? Here's how safe air travel in India is at the moment

The app can be downloaded from Playstore/iOS store or from the website shop.hoi.in.

The HOI app has seen a rapid trend in its mobile commerce, flight-tracking, multiple airport services and book travel features recently, according to a GMR statement. The platform has witnessed about 20% week-on-week growth in digital orders in the past two quarters, which shows that flyers are adopting digital solutions more and more at GMR airports.  

Apart from making air travel more convenient at every stage, the app's importance in the Covid-19 fight cannot be ignored.