Singapore tourism hit a record high in 2018, with an impressive 18.5 million visitor arrivals logged in for the entire year.
That’s a lot of flights and hotel check-ins. A new system introduced by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) now makes the check-in process so much easier and more efficient.
One minute is all you need with new kiosks in Singapore hotels that send guests’ photos to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) for verification of identity and official status in the country.
One of the worst things about being a traveller is going through tiring, long queues and tedious, inefficient processes. Upon arrival at your destination, all you want to do is settle into your hotel, take a hot shower and then load up on food and rest before you go exploring.
A new automated system introduced in Singapore by the STB earlier this month will eliminate unnecessary manual processes and greatly cut down guests’ check-in times by up to 70 percent.
The system, called E-Visitor Authentication (EVA), allows guests to check-in through mobile apps or special kiosks set-up at hotels to scan their passports. Utilising facial recognition technology not unlike what airports use, it will then send captured data to the ICA for verification of identity and status in the country.
Once verification is successful, the key to the hotel room is dispensed at the kiosk.
During the Hotel Industry Conference 2019, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat spoke on the hotel check-in process, which he said can be “quite labour intensive.”
Hotels have to deploy staff at check-in counters night and day to confirm two important points—that the guest’s face matches their passport photo, and that they are in the country legally.
Chee noted that while some hotels have already implemented self-check-in kiosks with facial recognition technologies that automate the first task (identification step), the second step (verifying status in the country with ICA) can now be automated with EVA.
Doing away with manual checks by hotel staff will translate to “more than 11,000 staff hours saved annually for a large hotel”, said Chee. Automating the check-in process will give hotel staff more time to spend engaging guests and being productive in other ways.
John Kockan, general manager of Grand Park City Hall, also spoke during the conference. In a statement, he remarked that the new facial recognition technology has cut down the length of the check-in process “significantly” from five minutes to “approximately one minute”.
Kockan also noted that the new mobile app will also give guests “the ability to manage functions such as their in-room lighting and climate temperature with the mobile application”.
The Straits Times reported that EVA is already being piloted at three hotels in Singapore—Ascott Orchard, Swissotel The Stamford and Grand Park City Hall.
Other digital solutions
The EVA system is not the only thing that will digitally revolutionise the way hotels are run. Chee announced 18 other tech solutions have been shortlisted by STB and the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) to address the “key pain points in the areas of housekeeping, HR management and data utilisation”.
STB said that these digital initiatives are part of the country’s efforts to cultivate innovation and support the redesigning of job functions in the hotel industry by utilising the latest technology.
Developed by SIMTech, an A*STAR Research Institute, the Dynamic Manpower Scheduling System allows hotels to more effectively assign staff across multiple departments and roles. It uses a web-based manpower allocation system that automates the manpower rostering and scheduling process in accordance with the ever-changing needs of the industry.
Technology is playing a major role in Singapore’s hotel industry, which spans 400 properties and 67,000 rooms nationwide and contributes to S$4 billion dollars of tourism receipts and employ a workforce of 35,000.
This data was provided by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), which also launched the Hotel Industry Digital Plan this month in partnership with STB and SkillsFuture Singapore.
The plan gives all hotels a guide on which tech solutions to put in place at each stage of digital growth and is inclusive of a training road map for thorough employee advancement.
Chee noted that in order for the tourism sector to grow, hotels need to get in on the growth, change and digital evolution.
“Our hotels are important partners to grow the tourism sector. We must press on with the tripartite efforts to strengthen our industry capabilities and upskill our workforce,” Chee said.
“Doing so will also put us in a better position to tide over challenging times and seize new opportunities when the economy recovers”. /TISG
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