Hotels getting smarter in China

  • Asia & Oceania
  • Wednesday, 08 Aug 2018

Facial recognition check-in kiosks debut at a Marriott hotel in China.

Being tech savvy will come in handy the next time you check in to a hotel in China, with two major hotel groups rolling out upgrades across the country.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Marriott International are introducing technology enhancements at their properties.

IHG has teamed up with Baidu to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) in its rooms. Baidu is a Chinese technology company specialising in Internet-related services and products.

Under the collaboration, the chain will be launching the AI Smart Room. Unlike traditional guest rooms, the new room will fully embrace voice control technology to deliver a more natural human-computer interactive experience.

Guests will be able to freely switch settings between work and leisure modes, and enjoy a more convenient and seamless room service experience.

The project integrates AI technology with hotel operations, and is supported by hardware upgrade and cloud service.

IGH marketing vice president (Greater China) Lin Wang said the company hopes to tap into the millennial travellers market.

“Millennials are particularly sensitive to technology, often seeking new things to try. The AI Smart Room will undoubtedly be extremely attractive for them, paving the way for a new level of modernisation and consumer satisfaction,” she said.

Wang added that the group will continue to make use of cutting-edge technology in hotel service and facilities in the future.

A total of 100 AI-powered suites will be available at InterContinental hotels in gateway cities and key destinations across China within the year.

Facial recognition check-in kiosks debut at a Marriott hotel in China.

Meanwhile, Marriott International has collaborated with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group to test facial recognition check-ins at two of its China hotels.

The facial recognition technology is set to reduce check-in process to less than a minute.

Guests just need to scan their IDs, take a photo and input contact details on a self-help machine. The device will then dispense room key cards upon verification.

Marriott International managing director (Greater China) Henry Lee said the venture will offer an innovative and convenient check-in option.

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

The pilot project is available at Hangzhou Marriott Hotel Qianjiang and Sanya Marriott Hotel Dadonghai Bay, with global rollout across Marriott International’s properties in the future.

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