Over the past few years, and particularly since the pandemic, people are relying on their mobile phones for more and more. By 2023, North America will have 329 million mobile phone users. Along with this increase in mobile phone use, there’s been a subtle revolution in how people are verifying their identities to access different services.
Biometric identity verification – using facial recognition, digital fingerprint verification, nuanced voice authentication and iris scanning – is literally changing the “face” of the hospitality industry. Your hotel guests are now accustomed to unlocking their smartphones, using apps and even checking in to airline flights using biometric identification, and they expect that same convenience wherever they stay. In fact, 62 percent of consumers said automated recognition using biometrics and facial recognition would enhance their experience, and 41 percent would visit more often if hotels offered this service.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits this loyalty-boosting solution provides.
Biometrics delivers a fast, frictionless check-in experience
After a long, tiring journey, waiting in a line to check-in at the hotel front desk is a key point of frustration for many travelers who overwhelmingly want an easy, frictionless check-in experience. Over half of travelers choose a hotel that lets them check-in using their smartphone. Many hotels struggle to offer this, however, because of the need to verify each guest’s identity before issuing a room key. This is where biometric identification comes in.
A biometric-powered hotel check-in process benefits your guests by allowing them to easily check-in on their personal device through your hotel’s mobile app, using facial recognition or a fingerprint. Upon arrival, they can then just head straight to their room to relax or start their vacation. The solution benefits your overworked, understaffed front desk workers as well, removing a tedious and time-consuming task off their plate, freeing them up to perform more value-added activities.
Biometric authentication helps reduce costs and increase security
When you make guest rooms – and hotel amenities such as the pool or gym – accessible only by fingerprint or facial scanning, you eliminate the cost of maintaining a key card inventory, as well as the hassle of dealing with lost, stolen or deactivated cards. In addition, you increase room security and guest safety, because only those with the authorized fingerprints or facial recognition can gain access, preventing any outsiders from using hotel facilities.
Furthermore, hotels remain one of the top three most targeted industries by cybercriminals, and a key concern with our increased use of mobile technology is the ability to keep company and guest data secure. The Identity Management Institute sees mobile biometric authentication as a top option to address the risks associated with traditional login methods. It provides a reliable tool to help protect privacy and personal information by going a step beyond two-factor authorization, making each guest their own “password” and significantly reducing chances of identity theft.
Biometrics help streamline hotel operations
Along with enhancing the guest experience, biometrics can deliver back-of-house efficiencies as well. Hotels boost profits through ancillary sales, such as food-and-beverage orders, spa services and in-room entertainment purchases. All these require different hotel departments to work in sync to ensure that billing is accurate and up to date. A simple, easy way to make check-out billing quick and accurate is to let guests simply use a fingerprint to authorize any additional payments made during their stay.
Biometric identification helps your business grow
Adoption of biometric applications has grown exponentially in a short space of time. By 2022, Gartner predicts that 70 percent of organizations will be implementing biometric authentication via smartphone apps. In 2018, this figure was less than 5 percent. A biometric guest identification system facilitates what today’s guests are looking for, an easy and reliable way to check-in, access hotel services and pay for them – with something as simple as the touch of their finger. The sooner hotel executives implement biometric applications into their processes, the faster they’ll see their business grow.
Learn how you can use biometrics to enhance the guest experience
and improve hotel operations.
 “Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018–2023) White Paper.” Cisco, 10 Mar. 2020, www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/executive-perspectives/annual-internet-report/white-paper-c11-741490.html.  Hotel 2025: Emerging Technologies Destined to Reshape Our Business. Oracle Hospitality, 2017, www.oracle.com/webfolder/s/delivery_production/docs/FY16h1/doc31/Hotels-2025-v5a.pdf.  Short, Taylor. “Guest Preferences for Technology Use in Hotels.” Software Advice™, 5 Feb. 2015, www.softwareadvice.com/hotel-management/industryview/technology-use-report-2015/.  “2020 Trustwave Global Security Report.” Trustwave, 22 Apr. 2020, www.trustwave.com/en-us/resources/library/documents/2020-trustwave-global-security-report/.  “The Rise of Mobile Biometrics.” Identity Management Institute®, 22 Apr. 2021, identitymanagementinstitute.org/the-rise-of-mobile-biometrics/.  Stolba, Stefan Lembo. “How Can Biometrics Protect Your Identity?” Experian, 28 May 2020, www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/how-can-biometrics-protect-your-identity/.  “Gartner Predicts Increased Adoption of Mobile-Centric Biometric Authentication and SaaS-Delivered IAM.” Gartner, 6 Feb. 2019, www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-02-05-gartner-predicts-increased-adoption-of-mobile-centric.