Chinese internet giant Alibaba is looking for a new source of revenue: it has opened a "hotel of the future" in Hangzhou, brimming with its own technology.
App lets you choose your window
The FlyZoo Hotel in Hangzhou has 290 rooms and was built by several Alibaba subsidiaries, like online travel platform Fliggy and the Alibaba Artificial Intelligence Labs. Its aim is to transform the hotel sector and update it to the digital age in which we live, meaning that queues at the reception desk are a thing of the past. For Chinese travellers check-in has been completely digitised, although foreigners still have to ask staff for assistance.
Customers can book their stay with the FlyZoo app, but also choose their floor and even the side of the hotel they want. Once inside, artificial intelligence takes over: guests can ditch keycards for access to the hotel, the room and the elevators and opt for facial recognition instead. FlyZoo uses pictures of the check-in to verify if visitors really have booked at the hotel.
Every room has its own Tmall Genie, a smart assistant that uses voice recognition to adapt the room temperature, play music or open curtains. It also knows the WiFi password and is able to order a glass of water or even a meal. The order is then passed on, after which the requested items are delivered to your room... by an Alibaba robot.
FlyZoo's technology aims to make hotel services better and easier, and frees up staff time from tedious tasks so it can focus more on a better service for guests. "Our use of intelligent facilities coupled with digital management and operational systems means that hotel employees can focus on providing guests with a level of service that goes the extra mile", CEO Andy Wang says.