New Singapore Tourism Board collaboration to innovate in hotels

SINGAPORE - People might eventually check into hotels here through self-service kiosks via facial recognition technology.

A prototype of the kiosk has been developed as part of a new collaboration between Far East Hospitality, a hotel and serviced apartment owner and operator, and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

This partnership was announced by Dr Amy Khor, the Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower on Tuesday.

She was the guest-of-honour at the inaugural hospitality summit, a conference for industry players to discuss productivity, organised by the Singapore Hotel Association and the STB.

Said Dr Khor: "The collaboration aims to yield quantifiable productivity data such as cost and manpower savings, which can be shared for the benefit of the wider industry."

Far East Hospitality has looked at areas where it can improve its operations, and it has several initiatives such as the self-service check-in kiosk which was developed by information technology companies AIT Technology and EmiNET.

One of the kiosks will be installed in the front lobby of its Village Hotel Katong in Marine Parade within the next few months. It will verify the bookings and details of guests by scanning their passports or identification cards, for Singaporeans. As an additional precaution, it will also compare their facial features with their passport photos. After some additional steps, the kiosk will dispense the room key card to guests.

The entire process should take about two minutes, which will be a 50 per cent gain in productivity for the hotel. And the kiosk will complement the activities of their front line staff.

Besides this new trial, Far East Hospitality will also be introducing other initiatives to improve efficiency in its laundry services and rooms.

Said Mr Arthur Kiong, its the chief executive: "If you combine our service residences and hotels, we operate over 5,000 rooms or apartments in Singapore. We obviously have the scale and vested interest to want to be the leading light in terms of productivity innovation."