Marriott is trialling facial-recognition check-in services in China

In case you missed it, Marriott recently announced it would be trialling facial-recognition check-in services for guests.

The hotel giant has teamed up with Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel service platform to introduce the technology which kicked off last month at two Marriott properties in China, Hangzhou Marriott Hotel Quianjiang and Sanya Marriott Hotel Dadonghai Bay.

But a release on the hotel chain’s website said they intend to roll out the service across all Marriott properties in the future.

“According to market research results by consulting firm Ipsos, Chinese travellers have shown a strong interest in new technologies in hotels with over 60 per cent showing their preference for facial recognition technology,” chief sales and marketing officer for Aisa Pacific at Marriott told Travel Weekly. 

“The two hotels were chosen for the pilot based on support from their local governments to implement this technology. We are testing in both a city and resort environment to understand how leisure and business guests react to this new check-in process.”


Roe said the current process for facial-recognition check-in is based on Chinese ID cards.

“Chinese guests simply need to read and confirm customer terms of service, scan their Chinese ID cards, pause for a photo and input contact details into a self-service machine,” she said.

“The intelligent device will then dispense room key cards after the identity and booking information is verified. This is anticipated to be a fast, and more convenient check-in experience, also freeing up hotel associates to do what they do best: deliver personalized services to guests.”

When asked if the new service would affect jobs in the hospitality industry, Roe assured us that would not be the case.

“Delivering great service is the core of our company’s culture. Technology certainly plays a role in that and consumers expect us to keep up with the technologies they embrace as part of their daily lives.

“Reducing the queue time at check-in is a great way to leverage technology, but delivering an authentic and warm welcome upon arrival at our hotels will always be better done by a real person.”

The traditional hotel check-in process takes at least 3 minutes and even more during peak times with most of it spent on queuing. With the adoption of facial recognition technology, the check-in process can be completed in less than a minute.

“Technology will certainly play a role in the future but providing an authentic and warm service will always be core to our company culture.

“Innovation has always been a part of the Marriott story and we are especially focused on tech features that help enable better service or tackle pain points in the customer’s journey.

“We will continue to collaborate with the world’s best tech companies to design the best customer experience. More progress will be shared in the future, please stay tuned.”