Here's a novel approach to checking in, and to winning something at the same time.
According to the article, IHG is testing the approach to target travelers who do not yet belong to Priority Club to get them to join. It's a promotional effort linked to what sounds like remote check-in. In other words, the participant gets a prize for helping them test it.
Marriott is way ahead of that curve. Sans the Twitter aspect, Marriott tested but never rolled out mobile check-in, see MARRIOTT TESTS INNOVATIVE MOBILE WIRELESS CHECK-IN THAT IS EASY AND CONVENIENT TO USE.
Aside from the technology hurdles, my hunch is remote check-in from a smart device or intercepted via a marketing platform like Twitter may present the potential for security breaches.
Before the guest physically arrives, he or she is checked-in so that any number of people - especially via Twitter will know. With identity theft so prevalent, perhaps physical check-in that's videotaped at point of arrival and requires photo ID and presentation of a valid credit card is more reliable?
Thinking through the implications, with remote check-in what happens, is your credit card information remotely 'swiped'? What about the Arrival Gift? Is it credited to your account if you choose points or delivered to your room? Will Elite try to use this to create advantage and secure comp upgrades thereby blocking out other Elite when they physically check-in?
Most importantly, what about that engaging welcome at the Front Desk? To me, that in and of itself is a prize!
I agree TJ, but as you may have noticed if you've been to a Home Depot or a supermarket lately the trend is to remove a person at checkout in favor of a self-checkout.
These days, with improvements in RFID technology it's possible to check you in or out of a retail location with no human interaction at all. (Reminds me of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, that great 1968 film where the computer decides what's best for the astronaut.)
Let's approach this topic from a different direction.
Home Depot's tag line, 'You can do it we can help' says to me that when I'm working on a project, Home Depot will have associates available in the aisles to assist w/product selection. At check-out, it doesn't matter to me if a cashier or a kiosk is there, the decisions are made.
Pretty much the same deal at the supermarket or wholesale discount club, I expect to interact with a person who is at the deli, fresh seafood or bakery counters. I want the freshest product(s) and a certain amount of it sliced or weighed on-demand. The aisles and freezers are self-service. After standing in a que, the priority is to pay and leave.
Not that you implied it, but I'm not going to change, undress or take a shower at Home Depot. Nor, am I going place my notebook or valuables in a safe at the supermarket. In the hospitality environment, feeling welcome, comfortable and safe relies heavily on surroundings and human interaction.
From that standpoint, Marriott has the right idea and processes in place to realize what I expect. So, IMO, Marriott delivers when it comes to 'Check-in and Win'.
I fear TJ that human interaction is an endangered species: my phone conversations with most companies is with a speech to text program, and only after five minutes on the phone might I speak to a live person.
The cost of people and benefits can account for about 80 percent of the cost of doing business, and it's only natural that a reduction in force makes economic sense, even in a service oriented business. Try to find a clerk at Macy's and see what I mean. Even Home Depot has scaled back--whoda' thunk it?
So. I take you point but counter with a fact of life--if a machine can do it, the process might be viable.
Due to lingering snow and ice, we postponed trips to the supermarket until yesterday. Fresh produce generally does not have a bar code and can present a challenge at self-checkout. Luckily, a smiling self-checkout clerk was there. Holding up the potatoes, she called out the code, but the yams required her to come over as the store carries several varieties. Relevant and to your point, machines can be very cost-effective. To mine, how wonderful to have a smiling person greeting you eye-to-eye eager to help out.
Even JetBlue which has successfully automated airport check-in still relies upon desk personelle for certain tasks. As for the pat-down, that's beyond the scope of this discussion.