Marriott is working with Alibaba to trial a biometric check-in system for guests at two of its hotels in China, reports Reuters.
The system will be based on facial recognition, operating through automated kiosks. Once guests’ identities are confirmed through the kiosks’ biometric system, the kiosks will produce key cards for their rooms and information about their booking.
The aim is to reduce wait times and improve convenience, and while some foreign visitors might find the system unsettling in a country notorious for state surveillance, it appears to be aimed primarily at Chinese citizens, requiring that they scan their ID cards as part of the biometric identification process.
Facial recognition is increasingly prevalent in China, used across a wide range of applications from facilitating cashless payments at KFC to ticketing jaywalkers. So many of the visitors experiencing this biometric system for the first time may find it more routine than foreign nationals might imagine.
Marriott and Alibaba say the trial will get underway at two hotels on the tropical island of Hainan. They have not outlined a timeline for the projects.
July 11, 2018 – by Alex Perala