Keyless... well, everything, is a growing trend as mobile phones and apps skyrocket in popularity. Now, SPG Keyless Mobile Check-in allows guests to check-in through an app and never even interface with a clerk.
The first in line, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, rolled out the feature today after testing it on several different properties throughout 2014. Interaction with hotel staff is now completely optional, which may result in a pretty hard hit for positions in hotel hospitality. The app is focused on making the lives of guests easier and more time efficient since they no longer have to wait at the counter to check in to their rooms.
While you may wonder what security concerns an app such as this raises, SPG has most of them covered. Only one phone can be linked to a room at a time (which means if you’re in a party, you should stick close to the person with the main phone), and the phone must physically touch the pad on the door for it to open.
Though the testing phase was very successful, not every hotel is terribly keen on taking up this technology. Many fear that it will dehumanize the hospitality industry slowly and eliminate thousands of jobs for hotel clerks and staff. Plus, given that the app connects through Bluetooth data, upgrading some of the older hotels in the business would take a pretty penny that not all companies are ready to cough up for for convenience’s sake.
Marriott International is one chain taking up the gauntlet for keyless entry, though in its premature state, guests are still required to stop by the desk and pick up a physical key just in case. However, guests who check in with their mobile device can move through an express line at the counter to pick up their keys. Marriott hopes to have keyless entry at all of its 4,000 properties by the end of 2014.
The market is currently focused towards consumers who travel a lot and may even allow guests to choose the room they prefer (corner room, for sure). The Hilton isn’t far behind, as the company promises to have similar technology by the end of the year.
Of course, anyone who prefers personal interaction during their stay can opt for traditional check-in. Many companies, though, say that the switch to more technological methods won’t cut jobs. This remains to be seen. Companies are touting that the apps will become more robust throughout next year, adding features such as upgrading your room, ordering room service and some parking features.
What do you think? Will this move to mobile check-in affect hospitality jobs in hotels, or might it even increase demand for technical support? Would you use mobile check-in, or do you prefer personal interactions when you travel?