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Marriott Partners With Alibaba To Test Facial Recognition In Hotels

Travelers Today       By    MJ De Castro

Updated: Jul 19, 2018 05:07 PM EDT

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Guests at Marriott International in China will soon be able to check in with a scan of their facial features.

This will be made possible by a partnership between Alibaba Group's travel service platform, Fliggy, and the world's largest hotel chain. Marriott will test the facial recognition with the help of the Chinese e-commerce giant at two China hotels this July, with hopes for a global rollout in the near future.

According to Mr. Henry Lee, COO and managing director of Marriott International Greater China and Board Member of the Joint Venture, the hotel is excited for the partnership which will offer not only an innovative check-in but also a convenient one for Chinese tech-savvy travelers.

Helpful Technology

He added that Marriott International is always embracing cutting-edge technology in order to create a more amazing experience for its guests. It has even been named as one of the world's most innovative companies. The move is set to offer its customers a seamless experience.

Based on a market research by consulting firm Ipsos, Chinese tourists have expressed interest and learned strongly to new technologies in hotels with more than 60 percent showing preference for facial recognition technology.

Since Marriott has established a joint venture in August 2017, it has benefitted strongly. The venture's comprehensive matrix of digital travel solutions and consultancy services includes digital platform consulting and management, customized marketing, business intelligence; and service innovation.

With the help of the technology, guests can now skip the long queues and shorten the check-in process to less than a minute, compared to the usual long time at the reception counter.

Guests of the hotel just need to scan their IDs, take a picture, and input relevant contact information on the machine. After, it will dispense a key card after verifying booking information and the guest identity.

The two Marriott branches that will be using the facial recognition system will be in Hangzhou and Sanya in the tropical island province of Hainan, also known as China's Hawaii.

Facial Recognition In China

The Asian country is pioneering the use of facial recognition in many fields which includes major live events and even ordering fast-food. Just last year, Yum China's KFC unveiled its "Smile to Pay" facial recognition system in its Hangzhou store with the help of Alibaba, to lure in millennial customers.

Furthermore, its use has been expanded to bolstering a growing domestic surveillance system and has been a subject for violation of privacy among human rights activists.

The hotel chain had problems in the country this year after local authorities closed down its Chinese website for a week. The said punishment was made because the hotel listed Chinese-claimed regions such as Tibet and Taiwan as separate countries in a customer questionnaire.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Loved By Guests Awards 2018

china, hotel, Marriott, Alibaba
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