Perspectives: Innovative Travel Solutions with Chris Gilliland

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates

Like many companies, COVID-19 has made us recalibrate and refocus our business at YVR. Operating an airport in a pandemic brings many changes and challenges, but it also presents opportunities – opportunities for innovation, efficiencies and growth.

As part of our new business series Perspectives, we’re talking with YVR’s business leaders to share how their team is helping reshape and rebuild YVR in this new normal.

Chris Gilliland, YVR’s Director of Innovative Travel Solutions, understands how big challenges can present big opportunities. Chris leads YVR’s Innovative Travel Solutions (ITS) team, which is a world-leader in kiosk-based border control solutions. Right now, ITS is managing up to 1,700 BorderXpress kiosk products at over 43 airport and seaport locations worldwide.

Interestingly, the Innovative Travel Solutions team never set out to be a global leader in border control solutions, rather a team that solves critical business challenges. Chris’ team uses an innovation roadmap process to identify and analyze the business problem, come up with the best solution, and quickly develop and test the idea at YVR. Being agile and collaborative are key to piloting new innovations at YVR, and then implementing them at other airports.

“Our products are built to serve a purpose, which is to help make the travel process more efficient, safe and secure,” says Gilliland. “And we’re taking this same approach to develop new contactless travel solutions that ensures a passenger’s health and confidence during this pandemic and beyond.”

With the aviation industry’s focus on touchless technology, Innovative Travel Solutions is quickly responding with new products and enhancements. For instance, work is well underway to retrofit the successful BorderXpress kiosk product to make it contactless. The team is testing the new technology in August at YVR, with plans to make the retrofit available to all customers worldwide later this year.”

“Alongside the BorderXpress retrofit, we’ve also developed TagitXpress - a completely contactless kiosk solution that scans a traveler’s boarding pass and prints a baggage tag in less than 10 seconds. We’ve had great airline and airport interest in TagitXpress and we think it’s an important touchless solution that maintains traveler health and also supports YVR’s business recovery.”

“I’m really proud of our team for always looking for opportunities that lie within uncertainty or change,” notes Gilliland. “Innovation is how we push forward and adapt our business so we can continue being an economic generator and gateway for B.C.”