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The Future of Frictionless Hospitality: Biometrics

Digital authentication technology creates frictionless experiences for travelers, ensures security and ensures privacy of customer information.
a woman holding up a camera for biometric face scans

Digital authentication is changing the game in travel experiences on a global scale, creating new levels of efficiency and personalized guest experiences.

Our face is our most unique identifier. With digital authentication, we can leverage that uniqueness to create frictionless, effortless experiences that promote trust between hospitality brands and their guests. The technology also lets these brands, including hotels, cruise lines, sports venues, casinos and airlines, focus on what they do best instead of being bogged down in tasks that add little value to the experience for the customer.

Travelers are looking for magical experiences that expand horizons, but they also want ease and convenience. More than 50% of travelers are 18-24 years old; these digital natives expect the same seamless and transparent self-service options when traveling as with their online shopping experiences.

Digital authentication technology brings this to life for the traveler. Leveraging fully automated digital authentication technology, the frictionless experience begins before the guest arrives at the venue or boards the cruise ship.

Streamlined guest identification: Imagine the happy traveler who no longer has to stand in line, waiting for an available front desk agent to check in at their hotel. Before checking in, an automated identity verification engine has already validated the guest’s identity via a selfie uploaded by the guest, providing a 1:1 and 1:n match. Notably, the technology eliminates any possibility of fraud, as it confirms that the uploaded selfie is indeed a living version of the guest – not a spoof downloaded from the internet.

Creating that ultimate customer experience: Once onboarded, digital authentication can foster personalized experiences for guests who book repeat stays with hotels, casinos or cruise ships based on their folio and history. It can help hotels, for example, find patterns in the activities that the guest likes, such as a margarita around 5:00 p.m. in the lobby bar. The hotel can push notifications that remind the guest of relevant upcoming activities, such as: “Don’t forget to join us in the lobby bar for half-price margaritas.”

Their biometric identity secure, guests can enhance and personalize their travel experience using a digital tablet to order room service, book and pay for luxurious spa treatments, make dinner reservations and take part in off-property excursions. For cruise-goers, digital identity can streamline ordering photos, usually found pinned to the gallery wall. Instead, guests can view the pictures on their tablet. Recognizing who you are because of your digital identity, the application only shows you photos where you appear. Guests can page through the application in the privacy of their room to decide whether to buy and print a picture and have it sent to their home.

Guests can breeze through the hotel property without carrying a credit card, as digital identity also facilitates contactless payments. As a result, every hotel becomes as frictionless as an all-in-one resort.

Benefits to Hospitality Management

Digital authentication also benefits hospitality management. For example, guests can be onboarded seamlessly by integrating omnichannel facial recognition into the onboarding and guest registration process.

Creates and maintains a frictionless guest relationship: Many of the disputes that occur between venue owners and guests focus on questions about the bill. With digital authentication, hotels can say goodbye to chargebacks, as digital identity controls facilitate legitimate transactions across every step of the guest journey. So, for example, with the use of facial recognition technology, a customer can no longer dispute their $200 bar bill from 1:00 a.m. the previous night out.

Digital ID will also facilitate an omnichannel biometric onboarding and authentication flow that will help hoteliers improve conversions and reduce friction across the loyalty program. In addition, it can protect and scale loyalty programs against illegitimate user fraud. Bad actors may try to use different emails and sign up for a hotel loyalty program to get the promised free night, resulting in several free nights at the hotel’s expense. This will no longer be an issue with the guest’s face as the identity vehicle.

Doing more with less: The hospitality industry was devastated during the pandemic. While bookings for hotels, cruise lines and airlines are surging, the pre-pandemic labor force has yet to return. According to the U.S. Travel Association, of the 1.6 million jobs not recovered since the pandemic, 1.5 million are in leisure and hospitality.

While hospitality will always require human interaction, hiring the necessary amount of people for the summer travel season and holidays remains a challenge. Leveraging digital identity technology, venues can do more with less. For example, kiosks throughout the lobby can enable seamless check-in via authentication, eliminating the need for several employees at the registration desk.

Mitigating fraud: Digital authentication technology enables the hotel and casino to prevent fraud by incorporating transparent verification and authentication steps to confirm that your guests are who they say they are. The technology will detect if it is a flat picture or an image grabbed off the internet by a bad actor to try and spoof the system.

Passwords can be phished and bad actors are scheming at every turn, which is one of the reasons digital authentication is the wave of the future. For the highest level of security, look for technology certified by the National Institute of Standards & Technology that doesn’t store the physical photo or information but just encrypted biometric identity code.

Minimizing cart abandonment: To extend the hotel experience, hotels will offer guests the opportunity to purchase the bathrobes they enjoyed during their stay or the luxury sheets that gave them their best sleep. Digital identification data can populate the information fields during the online purchase, which helps speed up the checkout process and minimizes cart abandonment.

Travelers expect the 100% digital, frictionless, self-service experience they encounter in all other parts of their lives. Enhanced digital and biometric technology seamlessly customizes and creates personalized experiences to delight your guests while ensuring privacy and security. And it’s available today.


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