A nice personal interaction at the front desk creates a good first impression. However, there will always be a segment of travellers who would like to bypass the front desk and head straight for their rooms. In an industry that thrives on guest interaction, mobile check-in poses some challenges.

“We have tried to be innovative and stay ahead of the technology by creating additional guest touch-points throughout the hotel where our staff can engage and ensure that they are having an excellent stay,” said Ron Mader, regional VP of operations for Hospitality Ventures Management Group.

This ubiquitous technology sets problems for operators. For example, the option for guests to choose the room they book in at a given hotel can cause problems when a booked room is no longer available and there are no similar alternatives.

A good example was outlined in a recent Hotel Management article, with Kerry Ranson, HP Hotels, saying “There is often a breakdown between what is booked and what is available, and that can cause issues. If a guest wants a room at the end of a hall and it’s no longer available, what can you do? You can’t kick out the previous guest, but that isn’t the new guest’s problem. Worse, the front-desk operator won’t know about the specific customer request until it’s too late.”

However, there is a brighter side to mobile check-in; eliminating wait times for guests who choose not to go to the front desk for example. 

In the same article mentioned above, Dana Shefsky, director of digital product innovation at Hilton Worldwide, said “We’ve done about 14 million digital check-in transactions to date at Hilton, and digital keys are available in 300 U.S. hotels,” Shefsky said. “Just over 20 percent of our Hilton Honours members are taking advantage of the option.”

With both pros and cons of mobile check-in, it is still a valuable service for Hoteliers to provide for those seeking the option.