Armed with secure biometric digital identity authentication ecosystems, many travel and hospitality operations are geared up to offer frictionless registration/payment experiences


Kristen Tsitoukis

Director of Global Hospitality


Facing new and more demanding guest expectations, the travel and hospitality industry is taking big strides forward with digital identification technology to deliver new levels of efficiency and personalized guest experiences.

Key to such advancements is the use of a person’s biometric features (face or fingerprint) for identity authentication. Once a guest’s identity is correctly identified and authenticated, a whole ecosystem of connected services can be unlocked to provide frictionless, effortless experiences that promote trust between hospitality brands and guests. 

In providing such great experiences, the hospitality sector, including hotels, cruise lines, sports venues, casinos and airlines, also benefit in being focused on what they do best, instead of being bogged down in tasks that add little joy to the guest experience. Many other operational benefits come as part of the digitalization.

Improved industry productivity, seamless guest experiences

Here is a list of technological initiatives that the industry is now increasingly adopting to enhance guest experiences and security.

    • Instead of expecting guests to wait in line at peak periods to check in or out with various documents in hand, venues with facial recognition technology can now allow guests to check in using just their face.
    • Identification involves guests uploading a ‘selfie’ to the system, which makes sure the image is that of a living version of the guest and not a spoofed image grabbed off the internet. This process protects not only the hospitality operator but also the privacy and security of guests.
    • Through facial recognition, regular guests at hotels can have a personalized welcome based on their folio and history.
    • As with seamless check-in/out, the benefits of guest identity verification can be extended to payments throughout the amenities in the building compound, including room service, dinner and spa reservations, and any merchandise purchases. For example, hotels can find trends in what a guest likes, such as having a margarita around 5pm. The hotel can send 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.”

Benefits to hospitality management

    • Low-friction digital authentication through omnichannel facial recognition benefits hospitality management in terms of reducing human resource requirements, and simplifying administrative processes. While hospitality will always require human interaction, hiring the necessary amount of people for the busy holiday seasons remains a challenge. Leveraging digital identity technology, venues can do more with less. For example, placing self-service biometric check-in/out kiosks throughout a hotel lobby can eliminate the need for assigning several staff to the registration desk.
    • As digital identity controls facilitate legitimate transactions across every step of the guest journey, bill disputes and misunderstandings will be easier to settle with least complications.
    • Digital authentication technology also enables hotels and casinos to prevent fraud by incorporating transparent verification and authentication steps to confirm guests’ identities. The system can detect if a fraudster attempts to use a still image or video to impersonate other people. Unlike passwords that can be phished, digital identities authenticated by biometrics are harder to spoof.
    • For the highest level of security and data privacy protection, many hospitality operators can turn to devices and systems certified by the National Institute of Standards & Technology that do not store physical photos or information but only encrypted biometric identity code.

What frictionless and ubiquitous identity authentication brings to the travel and hospitality industry is a game changer that can scale up to meet new expectations of guest experience and business resilience.