Marriott International trials facial recognition check-in technology with Alibaba partnership

By Laura Mullan
Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain, has announced it is going to trial facial recognition at the check-in desk, in an industr...

Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain, has announced it is going to trial facial recognition at the check-in desk, in an industry first.

Partnering with Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba, Marriott International will pilot the technology this month at two China properties, the Marriott Hangzhou and the Marriott Sanya.

The process hopes to shave down the average check-in time - currently around 3 minutes - to less than one minute.

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Guests will have to scan their passport and enter their contact details and then, facial recognition cameras will verify that the person with the passport is the passport holder before dispensing the room key. 

“Marriott International has a track record of embracing cutting-edge technology to create memorable experiences for guests,” Henry Lee, chief operations officer and managing director of Marriott International Greater China.

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

Marriott says that if the trial is successful the technology, created by Alibaba’s travel service platform, Fliggy, will be rolled out globally across all Marriott International properties. 

Chinese travellers have shown a strong interest in new technologies in hotels with over 60% showing their preference for facial recognition technology, according to research by consulting firm Ipsos. 

“We are proud to have a hand in supporting Marriott International to redefine the experience of Chinese travellers with innovative services,” highlighted Mr David Chai, CEO of the joint venture.

“These accomplishments thus far are a testament to our solid expertise of providing effective solutions and services across the entire journey of a traveller; and we look forward to continuing reinventing and showcasing our expertise.”

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