There is always a balancing factor between compliance versus innovation in any industry. Innkeeper regulations in certain countries still require archiving of physical travel documents of the guests. Virtually everyone carries a smart phone today, and many with a biometric capability.
We believe the biometric technology is mature enough, and sufficiently adopted today for the industry to take the next step, and take a leap of faith from physical travel documents which are less secure and efficient.
What other technology company (in or outside of travel) would you consider yourselves most closely aligned to in terms of culture and style... and why?
We were inspired by startups like Facebook and WhatsApp. We are out there to solve real world problems, with ingenuous solutions that costs little to nothing by leveraging on infrastructures and technologies (such as smart phones) that are becoming cheaper and more relevant over time.
Which company would be the best fit to buy your startup, and why?
There are two kinds of partners we would be very happy to have. It could be the technology platform owners, such as Apple, or a biometric sensor manufacturer, since we have a valuable utilization of those sensors.
We would also be happy to partner with the sales channels such Agoda, booking.com, or Airbnb who already has the huge collection of hotels or partnered venues on board, and could simply integrate our solution in as a biometric authentication layer.
Describe your startup in three words.
Biometric proximity authentication.
This service most definitely promises to ease the time burden for travelers, especially those arriving internationally and needing to submit passport details. The extensibility of the product could also lead to wider integrations with partner hotels, allowing the hotels to offer mobile payments while still not losing out on the importance of maintaining a full guest folio with all on-site transactions.
Of course, the larger chains are already making moves on the mobile check-in front. This service might have difficulty capturing a whale but will be a utility for those independents and smaller chains that don't have the financial resources to create proprietary technology.
Assuming that the technology works as promised, hotels will also benefit from increased guest satisfaction due to the time savings and overall convenience of using biometrics. This mechanic is also becoming more familiar across the spectrum, as the popular iPhone 6 spreads worldwide along other handsets offering biometric fingerprint sensors. There's also the security benefit of not storing a wealth of traveler documentation on site or on a server.
The business model of in-app bookings might need some tweaking, as it's unclear yet whether the "seamless check-in value proposition is strong enough to capture direct bookings via the app.
NB: Fingerprint image courtesy Shutterstock.