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How Hotels Can Leverage Digital Identity Verification for Frictionless Mobile Check-In

Almost two billion people will travel internationally during the next 10 years, according to the UN World Tourism Organization, and more than ever before, these travelers are relying on their mobile phones to plan and book their trips, and navigate their way around once they reach their destinations. In fact, a 2016 survey by Expedia showed that consumers now consider their mobile phone to be their most indispensable travel companion – placing it ahead of their toothbrush, deodorant and even their driver’s license in importance.
Yet, according to Mitek, hoteliers are still largely missing opportunities to use mobile technology in innovative, new ways that can capture these travelers’ loyalty and improve the guest experience. Mitek's research shows that only 36 percent of Millennials (the age demographic that comprises the majority of travelers today) rate the hospitality industry as providing a good mobile experience in terms of convenience, functionality and security.
Improving the mobile experience for hotel guests can have a significant, positive impact on the overall guest experience. For example, industry surveys have shown that satisfaction with the check-in/check-out process is highest among guests who used their mobile devices, compared to those using any other method. However, only three percent of guests have actually taken advantage of mobile check-in, indicating tremendous room for growth. By integrating mobile capabilities like digital identity verification, mobile capture and data pre-fill into their smartphone apps and mobile websites, hotels can not only increase adoption and usage of their mobile offerings, but also mitigate the risk of fraud and deliver a superior guest experience.
Imagine a frictionless mobile experience from start to finish: Would-be guests begin by browsing lodging accommodations on their mobile phone. When they find the perfect room, they quickly and easily book it by using their smartphone’s camera to scan their driver’s license (or other ID) and a credit card. Digital identity verification technology validates that the ID is authentic, while mobile capture and data pre-fill technologies capture their personal information from the ID as well as their payment card data, then auto-populates all that information into the online reservation form.
Furthermore, after arriving at their destination, the guest can skip the front desk completely by checking-in on their smartphone and obtaining a digital room key. To do this, they simply use their smartphone’s camera to snap a picture of their ID and then take a selfie. Advanced facial comparison technology is used to compare the individual in the selfie with the photo on the ID to ensure that the person checking-in is the person tied to the original reservation.
Now that the hotel has verified the guest’s identity, it can give the guest the option of using their smartphone as a digital room key. With digital identity verification and other advanced mobile technologies, hotels gain the assurance of having a more secure method for verifying guests’ identities. At the same time, the guest has enjoyed an entirely seamless and frictionless mobile process from end-to-end.
Hotels that prioritize their technology investments in improving the mobile experience for guests stand to gain billions in return on those investments. For example, in 2016 approximately $1.7 billion of Marriott's online bookings came through the mobile app – an increase of 70 percent from 2015. By streamlining and improving their mobile processes, hotels can not only increase adoption and usage, but also reduce operating costs. That’s because as more guests use automated, self-service mobile processes from booking through check-in/check-out, hotels can reduce the number of staff needed at the front desk and allow those staff members to focus their attention on higher-value tasks such as addressing guests’ special requests to ensure they have an excellent stay.
As travelers increasingly rely on their mobile devices for every step of their journey, their expectations for an exceptional mobile experience are also increasing. By integrating new and innovative technologies like digital identity verification, mobile capture and data pre-fill into their mobile processes, hotels can deliver a more powerful and frictionless mobile experience, which leads to a better guest experience overall.
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