|Mobile Check-in Heats Up; What's Next is Any Guest's Guess.|
By Melanie Nayer ~ Weekly Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends
Wednesday, 10th July 2013
Exclusive Feature: Marriott International announced plans to roll out mobile check-in at 325 hotels in the US and Canada, and just about every traveler saw the news.
No surprise, really -- most of them were on their cell phones. Mobile is the hottest platform to touch travelers hands since…. and Marriott's news of mobile check-in just adds excitement to the booming market.
You likely already know the facts:
Marriott Hotels, the signature brand of Marriott International, is where you'll find the new mobile check-in app. While other hotel brands currently do have a mobile check-in app available (Starwood's Aloft brand was one of the first hotels in the U.S. to offer this app), Marriott's move will make it the broadest mobile offering of its kind in the U.S. and Canada.
With the app, all Marriott Rewards members can check-in after 4 pm the day before their arrival and will receive an automatic notification when their room is ready. Guests will walk straight up to the mobile check-in desk at the hotel where their key card will be waiting for them and ta-da - immediate access to your guest room.
What isn't known are the details: when will the mobile app be available, what hotels will it be in first, what's next for Marriott's mobile offerings?
I went straight to the source - Paul Cahill, senior vice president of brand management for Marriott Hotels - to get some answers.
For starters, the Marriott mobile app will evolve to be more than just check-ins.
We will be testing service requests at our “incubator hotels," said Cahill. 'Guests will be able to make requests to the hotel before and during their stay using their mobile device (wake-up calls, extra towels, housekeeping service, bath amenities, valet parking (for hotels that provide this service)."
The four “incubator hotels” are San Diego Marriott Marquis, Denver Marriott West, Boston Marriott Copley Place and Charleston Marriott, so be on the lookout if you're heading to any of those cities.
But guest room check-in is just the beginning. As hotels start to roll out mobile check-in across the board, the next wave of "what's next" will start to transpire. While it's premature to predict what's coming for mobile travelers, for Marriott it's dictated by customer preference.
Marriott Hotels recently launched its Travel Brilliantly campaign, which promises to roll out new concepts and on-the-go innovations based on feedback from the next generation traveler.
"We’re giving our guests the chance to engage with us before they get to the hotel," said Cahill.
Ok travelers, now your chance -what do you want? How would you engage with hotel brands if technology was no obstacle?
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Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com