Over the past couple years, hotels have been rolling out new concepts to make the booking and check-in process easier on travelers. First there were things like mobile apps where you could book a hotel room quickly on the go. Then companies like Marriott created a mobile check-in function within its iOS and Android apps. I have never been able to figure out how the Marriott app works, but that may just be because I only have the iPad app and not the iPhone one. The goal is to make online check in as simple for hotel guests as it is for airline travelers.
Furthermore, I’ve never understood the novelty of hotel mobile/online check-in as it pertains to hotels. I mean, you still need to have a key to access your room. And there’s already supposed to be ‘elite check-in’ desks as well, so the concept is all rather lost on me since you have to stop by the front desk anyways.
However, lately hotels have been getting even more innovative to address this issue. Starwood hotels are the first to introduce not just the ability to check-in via its mobile app, but also allow the app to act as your door key. Now we’re talking!
This is something I can really see gaining traction if it is implemented well.
The other chains like Hilton and IHG also offer some sort of hotel online check in capability, and I’ve always wanted to test it out for novelties sake (not that because I think it will actually SAVE me any time). Well, based on my latest two experiences with IHG’s system, it actually WASTES more of my time to use the thing rather than just going to the hotel and checking in on the day of arrival.
Let me explain. I have a hotel stay tomorrow for one night, and being elite (I assume that’s a necessary qualification with IHG in order to use this?) they sent me an email inviting me to check-in online.
See, I’m going to SAVE TIME by using it right? Well I thought I’d give it a go (this is my second stay where I tried using this system btw) and clicked the link. It takes you to a screen where you select your preferred arrival time. I tried 6:00 pm first.
Clicked ‘Update Arrival Time’ but it didn’t seem to like that. In fact, it didn’t seem to want me showing up to the hotel at 3p, 4p, nor 5p either 😉
So my point is this: These tools can be a great resource for time-sensitive travelers, IF THEY WORK. And being in the IT field myself, it all comes down to how well these things are implemented. As I mentioned previously, this is my second IHG stay where I attempted to use the online check-in feature, and it failed the first time too. 0 for 2 is pretty bad, so epic failure all around for IHG, and a waste of my time.
Although, based on IHGs past wins in the realm of IT, are you really surprised?
So, has anyone actually been successful performing online check-in using IHGs system? Was the experience an actual time-saver?