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by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | August 24, 2018

Cheryl-Anne Sturken, Senior Contributing Editor of Meetings & Conventions magazinewristbandThis week, Spanish hotel chain Meliá Hotels International announced it had introduced guest bracelets designed by Oracle at two of its properties. The waterproof bracelets, which use Bluetooth technology, act as both a key and a wallet for guests by allowing them to unlock their guest rooms and pay for hotel services such as meals and spa treatments. What’s more, the bracelets are linked to the Meliá app, which lets guests track their spending during their stay, as well as set maximum credit limits, receive receipts or cancel services.

“At Meliá Hotels International, we imagined a new type of vacation in which guests could enjoy all hotel services without having to worry about carrying around cash or ID,” said Gabriel Escarrer, vice president and chief executive officer of MHI in a statement. “That is now a reality thanks to this innovative project in partnership with Oracle.”

The pilot project is being carried out at two of the company’s hotels in Magaluf, Spain — the 404-room Sol Katmandu Park & Resort and the new 272-room Calviá Beach The Plaza, which opened in June of this year. The company said it plans to expand the program to four other properties by mid-2019.

This past July, Marriott International began testing facial-recognition software for check-in at two of its hotels in China — the 348-room Hangzhou Marriott Hotel Qianjiang and the 452-room Sanya Marriott Hotel Dadonghai Bay.

The pilot program is part of a joint venture with Alibaba Group and uses Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel service platform. According to Marriott, the traditional hotel check-in process takes at least three minutes, and facial-recognition technology can speed up the process to less than one minute, because guests need only to scan their IDs, take a photo and input contact details on a self-help machine. The intelligent device will then dispense room key cards after identities and booking information are verified.