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Biometric Benefits

When away on vacation, it is often a hassle to keep track of credit and debit cards. Travelers have the ability to leave these important items at the hotel restaurant, lose them by the pool, or get them stolen while on or off the property, turning a relaxing getaway into a nightmare.

But what if hotel guests had the ability to pay for items and services without opening their wallets? One hotel in Ibiza is using biometric technology to give their guests more convenience and peace of mind.

The Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel, which is owned by Fiesta Hotel Group, recently installed PayTouch, a system that registers a guest’s fingerprints and links the prints to a preferred credit card or bank account. Once the guest’s fingerprints are registered, that traveler can pay for any item or service on the hotel property without fumbling for cash or credit cards.

“With this initiative, Ushuaïa becomes the world’s first hotel to offer guests biometric technology,” says Alfonso Giménez, director of marketing for Europe, Fiesta Hotel Group. “The introduction of PayTouch marks another important step for Fiesta Hotel Group in our objective of optimizing client satisfaction and becoming a reference point in Spain and the Balearic Islands for innovation and leisure.”

Guests at the resort can upload their fingerprints at one of six registration points throughout the hotel. Once registered, guests can pay for almost anything on the property with just the touch of a finger. Giménez explains that the convenience of the service also has the potential to drive more revenue for the hotel, since guests are less likely to worry or think about spending money if they don’t have to pull out cash or credit cards.

“We have seen that hotel customers do seem to be willing to spend a little bit more with PayTouch,” he says. “It is certainly much easier to place your fingerprints in a PayTouch terminal when you want to pay for any extras at the hotel than using a conventional payment process with credit card, cash, or signatures.”

Since every person has unique fingerprints, the PayTouch system also offers an added layer of security that credit cards do not.

“Fingerprints are never stored,” Giménez says. “The system only keeps an extraction that allows us to unmistakably identify the PayTouch user. There is no possibility of going back to retrieve the original fingerprint, so user data is always protected.”

When guests leave the Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel, they can then use their fingerprints to pay at any location where PayTouch is accepted, and if they return to Ushuaïa, there is no need to re-register for the service.

Biometric payment systems may have numerous benefits for guests in the future and help hotels provide better guest satisfaction while also protecting and securing guest data. For Giménez, the PayTouch program is just another service that sets Ushuaïa one step ahead of the technological curve.

“We have not only set the benchmark for the industry but have also enhanced the whole Ushuaïa experience for our guests,” he says. “It is certainly a match made in techie heaven.”

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