There was an interesting story in the New York Times last week titled “Speedy Check-In Lets Hotel Guests Bypass Front Desk.” As evident from the descriptive title, the story was about hotel check-in trends.
Julie Weed reports that more and more hotels are installing kiosks to simplify the lobby experience. And since the population is used to checking in at the airport via kiosks or checking out their own groceries, using an automated hotel check-in is no big deal. In fact, it may be expected.
“High-end hotels are also using new technologies to eliminate the front desk check-in line — with personal greeters who shepherd guests through the check-in process in a more comfortable setting, using an iPad or laptop,” Weed reported.
Individual travelers may enjoy kiosks and personal greeters; however, group check-ins may pose challenges. I contacted two of the people from the article to get their thoughts on group check-ins and how their properties handle them.
“In terms of groups, we are not a convention hotel, so most of our groups are smaller room blocks as we only have 239 guest rooms,” said Jordan Kaye, marketing and communications manager for Andaz West Hollywood hotel in California. “The largest group we have checked in would be between 40 to 50 guests at one time. We do have many groups in the 100-plus range, and most of the time groups are scattered arrivals throughout the day or over a specific time period. In order to accommodate a group that checks in at the same time, or even scattered, we will set up billing with the client and pre-key all the rooms so that when they arrive we can hand out the guests’ room keys and escort them to their room. It greatly speeds up a seamless check-in process.”
For the Montage Deer Valley hotel in Park City, Utah, a streamlined check-in was crucial to starting a meeting on a positive note and setting the right tone, says Dan Howard, the hotel’s director of public relations.
“We are a 220-room property, and the largest group check-in we have hosted was for an international energy conference with 250 attendees,” he said.
He says that two adjustments were made for that group (and for all large groups).
“First, we were aware of the transportation times of the group arrivals, since the vast majority arrived via pre-scheduled, 40-person motor coach (which enabled us to check the group in 40 at a time) – but the front desk was never used, and each individual was still provided their own guest relations representative who walked them to their rooms to perform the check in,” he said. “Second, the meeting organizer wanted to provide attendees with materials upon arrival at the resort, so all attendees were directed to the VISTA LOUNGE, where they received materials and signed up for extracurricular activities before meeting their Montage guest relations associate who then provided their in-room check-in and resort orientation.”
What are you thoughts or experiences with streamlined check-ins for groups? Please let us know in the comments.