Check-in via facial recognition at these Marriott hotels

Remember to smile when you check-in at these Marriott hotels. Source: Marriott International.

AS CHINA continues to embrace new technology at the speed of light, more brands and services in the country are following suit. 

Global hospitality company Marriott International has announced a partnership with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group to test facial recognition check-ins at Hangzhou Marriott Hotel Qianjiang and Sanya Marriott Hotel Dadonghai Bay.

The technology comes from Alibaba’s travel service platform Fliggy.

“We are excited to partner with the joint venture yet again to offer an innovative and convenient check-in alternative for Chinese travelers. Marriott International has a track record of embracing cutting-edge technology to create memorable experiences for guests,” Chief Operations Officer and Managing Director of Marriott International Greater China and Board Member of the Joint Venture Mr. Henry Lee said in a statement.

“With technology, our hotel associates can work more efficiently to do what they do best – delivering personalized service to our guests.”

The new system, which will kick of from this month, will enable the check-in process to be completed in less than a minute, compared to the current average queue time of three minutes and even more during peak times.

Guests simply need to scan their IDs or passports, input their contact details, and take a photo at the self-help machine. Once the software verifies the identities and booking information, the device will then dispense room keys.

Source: Marriott International.

China has been at the forefront of adopting facial recognition technology for just about anything including major live events, fast food, airport security, road traffic management, railway stations, campus dorms, and public toilets.

It has raised concerns about the usage of the technology, a creepy, Big Brother-style mass surveillance.

But it has its strengths.

For example, on April 7, the Chinese police arrested a 31-year-old fugitive in southeast China after facial recognition technology helped identify him in a crowd of about 60,000 people at Cantopop star Jacky Cheung’s concert.

Currently, the service is only available at two Marriott International properties in China but the company is looking at a global rollout across its properties worldwide in the future.

Previously, Marriott International announced a global rollout of the Post Post Pay (PPP) functionality and redesigned storefront on Fliggy, also in collaboration with Alibaba Group.

The joint venture seeks to elevate the travel experience for travelers by enhancing the storefront and linking the loyalty programmes of Marriott International and those of the Alibaba ecosystem.