Hospitality has traditionally been slow to adopt innovative technology, particularly in regards to customer-facing functionality that is usually performed by humans. Changes within the industry are already underway and hotel guests are now predominantly using their mobile devices as travel aids which help them manage every facet of their trip. These industry changes are also being driven by a growing trend and demand from a segment of consumers for faceless, yet efficient, transactions from the brands they patronize.
Self Check-in Via Mobile Device
The example has been set by a number of other industries for self-service. Consumers have become comfortable with the technology thanks to its ubiquity in retail, banks and airports, for example. To an increasingly larger segment of the population, self-service is their actual preference wherever they are given the option by businesses. It is the growing expectation by many in the traveling public that, not only should they be able to able to view and book their hotel stays from their mobile devices, but have the ability to skip the lines at the front desk with mobile check-in.
Although a number of hotels and chains have implemented self-service kiosks in their lobbies, the traveling public demands a much more personalized technology solution as a result of the explosion of mobile smartphone use. The hospitality industry is firmly rooted in the traditions of excellence in service, making many hoteliers uncomfortable with the very concept of self-service for hotel guests. However, the purpose of empowering guests with the functionality to check themselves in is not to take away from the personal touch, but rather enhance the level of service they receive when they are on hotel property.
A small number of hotel brands have rolled out mobile check-in options for their guests. Most by utilizing either chain or property specific mobile apps that their customers can download to their smartphones or tablets. Another method offered by some hoteliers is to have the guests check-in online and then receive a text when their room is available to them. Another current practice for some hotels is to offer self check-in options only to loyalty club members. Whether this becomes the standard or hotel brands are forced to provide self check-in to all guests, remains to be seen.
Ultimately, mobile self check-in is yet another indication of the desire on the part of consumers for more choices in their lives. Hotel guests are building the momentum of change within the hospitality industry, carried along and made possible by innovative technology.
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