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At Marriott, You Can Now Check In With Your Face

Condé Nast Traveler logo Condé Nast Traveler 7/11/2018 Erin Florio
a sign in front of a window: A look at Marriott's new facial recognition kiosk. © Courtesy Marriott A look at Marriott's new facial recognition kiosk. a close up of a logo © Illustration by Brown Bird Design

Face it: Human interaction in hospitality is so 2017, now that Marriott International, the world's largest hotel chain, announced they'd be introducing facial recognition at the check-in desk, an industry first. They've partnered with Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba to trial the technology this month at two China properties, the Marriott Hangzhou, in the historic city in the eastern part of the country, and the Marriott Sanya, on the tropical island known as "The Hawaii of China."

The facial recognition check-in experience will be much like the one at the airport: guests scan their passport and enter in their contact details. Facial recognition cameras verify that the person with the passport is the passport holder, and if all's good, room keys are dispensed. The process hopes to shave down the average check-in time (currently about three minutes) to just 60 seconds.

“Marriott International has a track record of embracing cutting-edge technology to create memorable experiences for guests,” said Henry Lee, Chief Operations Officer and Managing Director of Marriott International Greater China, in a statement. If the trial's successful, Marriott plans to roll out the new technology to their entire global portfolio of 6,500 hotels "in the future." That's a vague enough timeline that we're guessing front desks will be staffed for a while to come.

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