KYC For Hospitality

April 2020
As its name suggests, the hospitality industry should involve customers feeling safe, secure and relaxed - enjoying the holiday or travel or experience they are going on. Unfortunately, for this to happen, there often needs to be checks in place to ensure safe standards and practices are met; KYC is required. From passport control at airports and borders, to the provision of identification at hotels or on cruises, methods of ensuring customers are who they claim to be is vital to prevent abuse of the services by those seeking to take advantage of them. 

Without KYC and identity verification, the hospitality industry is open to fraudsters and criminals taking advantage of it. People could book hotels and cruises under false names or with stolen credit cards, it would be impossible to conduct passport control and carry out immigration checks, and services such as car hire would have no way of ensuring that those they engaged met the criteria they had in place. 

There exists a number of possible use cases for KYC and improved identity verification services in the hospitality industry which would have varied and numerous benefits. One of the key areas that could be impacted is check-in for travel and accommodation. Many of us will have experienced the frustration of a long journey, only to have to wait at a check-in desk for the hotel or other accommodation to take your passport and verify your details; or to arrive at airport immigration and wait for a border control guard to check your details, a process that can sometimes take hours and cause people to miss connecting flights. This process could easily be replaced by electronic systems (and indeed is starting to be in some countries). 

Moreover, having a digital solution removes the need for a physical copy of an individual’s personal data to be stored or seen by another person, increasing efficiency and privacy. An automated system could be set up to read documentation of any kind in any language or format in seconds, also removing the burden of checking from staff and even avoiding the requirement of having staff on hand in some situations, therefore improving convenience and reducing time spent on these necessary but bothersome tasks. These attributes also make such a solution perfect for new and developing hospitality businesses models such as AirBnB and other services like it - being able to remotely verify and even add in access to areas based on preset conditions enables customer-centric solutions to thrive. 

Applicable to hotels, B&Bs, cruises, airlines, car rentals and many other instances in the hospitality industry, a good, reusable KYC solution would increase efficiency in both time and cost, privacy, security and liability for the businesses whilst also making things more convenient and user-centric for those using their services. The traditional methods of hospitality performing KYC - taking and scanning passports, manually entering data from customers who may have come from anywhere in the world, the requirement to have staff performing these essential but labour-intensive tasks - are all things that can be put in the past. By implementing a robust digital identity verification system, all manner of hotels or accommodation rentals could install automated locks on rooms, set to provide access to only those who rent them, removing the need for check-in and unproductive use of staff entirely. This is the kind of service offered by OpenKey and ROOM and that companies like and Blockpass are enabling.

Blockpass offers a user-centric, reusable digital KYC solution that is quick, simple and free to integrate. The Blockpass Mobile App is able to prove a user’s identity instantly whilst their data remains under their control - allowing them to use it to verify passports, driving licenses or other documentation that particular hospitality services may require. Putting the user in control of their own data whilst keeping it secure will enable a situation where much of the hassle, time, cost and frustration of conveying important but personal documents as they are used to prevent fraud and crime that would otherwise take advantage of the hospitality industry. Future developments will involve adding reputation to users for any manner of reason, allowing them to build up a reputation which has been verified by others - a particularly useful feature as we see an increase in business models where individuals offer services such as with Uber and AirBnB. In addition to this, Blockpass is working with academia to develop groundbreaking data privacy models, which will allow people to prove or verify information without exposing it at all should they wish to keep it private. Through this, Blockpass aims to bring efficiency, speed and privacy to the public and provide a cheap and simple way for the hospitality industry to conduct KYC and verify the identity and credentials of those engaging with their services.         

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