Hotels Get Facial-Recognition Sales Pitch

from the who's-there? dept

Facial-recognition technology has long been touted as a magic bullet for law enforcement and surveillance, though most such systems have proven to be essentially useless. Vendors have been trying to extend their reach outside of surveillance, though, into areas like advertising. One is now pitching its wares to the hospitality industry, saying that the roughly $30,000 system can help hotels recognize repeat customers. The system still has shortcomings: it's only 80 to 90 percent effective when people "move through a chokepoint facing the camera - ideally looking up into it and well lit", such as an escalator. That's the same sort of issue that's dogged facial recognition in law enforcement and surveillance: it just doesn't work that well. And for $30,000, it seems doubtful that many hotels will want to buy the systems, when, if they really wanted to get to know their most valued customers, they could do so for free.
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Filed Under: facial recognition, hotels


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  • identicon
    Ron Ruble, 20 Feb 2009 @ 1:36am

    Pre-booking

    > And for $30,000, it seems doubtful that many hotels will
    > want to buy the systems, when, if they really wanted to
    > get to know their most valued customers, they could do so for free.

    And how many repeat customers of a hotel -don't- pre-book; you've already gathered the names and particulars, and you know Mr. Harrumph is checking in today.

    Print out a photo and hand it to the doorman and valets.

    Why would a hotel think that this is money better spent than, oh, a "VIP" club membership, which also allows you to market to the repeat customers, and they can present the card to the valet, bellhop, or desk manager.

    I've worked with hotels on IT projects; having the staf make more -direct- contact with guests is what they want, not less.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul Berry, 20 Feb 2009 @ 1:59am

    ...but it doesn't work!

    Clearly another case of a half-baked technology desperately in search of any markets it can be shoehorned into. It's a solution looking for a problem and the problem doesn't exist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2009 @ 3:33am

    useless

    even if the System was 100% accurate, we are talking about a hotel in which customers are IDed/Registered, unless they are trying to keep a low profile and in that case that system will scare them away.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dan, 20 Feb 2009 @ 11:55pm

    Why?

    At best they discover a repeat customer checking in under an assumed name. Would they then confront the customer about the name and risk permanent loss of said customer? Any decent hotel should be able to note repeat customers with existing database tech at near 100% accuracy and little or no cost.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Overcast, 9 Mar 2009 @ 9:00am

    I want my stay at hotels to be LESS invasive - not more. I'm perfectly fine with them NOT knowing I'm a repeat customer or who I am - I can ID myself find at the counter with my license.

    And it's not that I'm trying to keep a low profile; I just don't see a real need for it. A system like that will certainly guarantee I will NOT be a repeat customer. It just seems to 'big-brother-ish' for me, really.

    Maybe they should take the 30 grand and hire on another staff member - recognizing that I'm a repeat customer as opposed to better service is a no-brainer for a hotel stay. Service is what it's all about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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