The appeal of the human interaction vs. mobile check-in

This is part two in a series on front desk services. Visit here for part one: Keeping communications open at the front desk.

Hotels are always looking for new ways to incorporate current technology into the guest experience, with many hotels now offering guests the option of a mobile check-in process. Through this, guests are able to bypass the front desk and use their smartphone as a room key, but Klaus Kohlmayr, chief commercial officer for TSA Solutions, said that this option will not always appeal to everyone.

“Some travelers want or need a fast check-in, but we feel there is a large group of people, leisure travelers and more, who crave individual attention,” Kohlmayr said.

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This sentiment is shared by Jessica Lavin, a brand operations manager at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. Lavin said guests have the option of performing an online check-in ahead of time, but they still have to stop at the front desk for the room key. Kimpton’s goal was to create a seamless check-in for travelers who want it, but Lavin said that the human connection was too integral to the stay as a whole to eliminate completely.

Cornelia Samara, GM of the Andaz 5th Avenue in New York, said her hotel stays away from placing digital distraction, such as signage at the front desk, in order to better connect the host with the traveler.

“In boutique lifestyle hotels, it is all about the human factor and interactions,” Samara said. “Guests can review their bill online, but one thing we have learned is that guests don’t always utilize what is available digitally.”