Our travels have recently led us to needing to stay in Hiltons more and they have true online checkin. That is, when you check in online you get your room number, and that room is yours. You are able to select from all the available rooms in a category on a floorplan. Does anyone know if Marriott will move in that direction anytime soon? It is pretty sweet.
I like going to the Front Desk not so much to check-in, but more so the Associate has a face to put with the room number and if any issues arise they are more likely to remember who you are. Also to call them by name as you see them really means something to most Associates.