Hotel Check-In Kiosks Not Doing So Well

from the try,-try-again... dept

Last year, in commenting on the trend for service organizations to continually shift aspects of the labor to the customer, we noted that the next in line for this was the hotel check-in process. Indeed, like the ATM, grocery stores, airline check-ins and plenty of other places, a computer facing the end user, making them do the labor, is replacing employed labor. It’s not so much “automation,” as it is about shifting the labor costs — though, of course, the end user doesn’t seem to get much of a discount for doing the labor themselves. However, it turns out that the process doesn’t always work smoothly, as many hotels are discovering. Apparently, the machines rarely work and are called “dust collectors” by some. The article also notes that the hotel industry tried check-in kiosks twice before and abandoned them due to a lack of customer interest. It’s not at all clear why customers will suddenly be interested this time — especially when the machines seem to barely work. Perhaps it’s part of a new hotel industry strategy to replace things that seemed to work okay with confusing and useless technology advancements.

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Comments on “Hotel Check-In Kiosks Not Doing So Well”

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Dice Roller says:


I was in Vegas in October staying at Excalibur. Their method of encouraging the kiosk use was to have few check-in clerks available. I, for one, refuse to do the work which the service industry is being paid to do.
As an example of why it pays to use the human, when I finally got to the clerk, it turned out my room was being cleaned… but there was another identical room which was ‘on hold’ by the shift manager. The clerk then asked the shift manager if she could simply switch the two rooms. When that was approved, I got my key and was able to get access to the room immediately.
I’m pretty sure the kiosk would’ve indicated that I should check in later, or go see a clerk.
As for those self-serve checkouts which are popping up, why on earth does *anyone* use them? Other than the ‘perceived’ time savings, is there any benefit to using them? Basically, you’ve caused the price of your purchases to go up, because you’ve now provided free labor to the corporation.
Unless they’re giving me a substantial discount, I refuse to use them. If they gave me a discount for my time, based on a 15-year union checkout clerk’s pay per hour, I might give them a try.

Selim says:

Automated Hotel Check-ins

I think the person who wrote this article has never gotten off of a 12 hour flight and had the privledge of standing in line for an hour to get checked in due to “live check-in”.

I personally live by automated check-in for airlines and think these are the greatest addition to any hotel, may it be a Holiday Inn or the Bellagio!

Dice Roller says:

Re: Automated Hotel Check-ins

The problem here is that you’re willingly taking the ‘service’ out of the ‘service industry’. You’re still paying the same amount, and you get absolutely ‘no service’.
If the company which you are patronizing has stripped service down so that you have to wait one hour, then patronize a company with better service. Don’t simply reward their crappy service by switching to their labor-saving (which is pronounced: cost-saving, profit-enhancing) automated system.
Look for better service rather than ways to continue patronizing companies which provide none.

Rob Henderson says:

No Subject Given

When I rent a car, all my data is already on file (perhaps more than I might like, but that’s for a different post). I show up, the shuttle drops me at the car, the key is in the ignition, and I show my ID at the gate as I drive away.
I participate in many hotel programs, but none have yet gotten to this level of seamlessness. The kiosk makes sense if the ‘frequent’ customer can show up, swipe a card (probably credit card as ID), and have the machine dispense a room key. If I could bypass the line where the tourist with no reservation is arguing with the clerk, I would be very happy.
I kiosk which handles complex issues will probably never work. A kiosk which lets the ‘no issues’ customer check in quickly would be a hit.

Dice Roller says:

Re: Check-out does work well

AGain, regarding TV checkout: that’s an innovation which improves the service industry, and doesn’t detract, much like a rental agency delivering you directly to your reserved car.

In both cases, you’ve dealt with the ‘service’ portion of the industry enough for them to provide both of these services seamlessly.

Glenn says:

Put the machines at the airport...

It would be pretty cool if you could get a single ubiquitous check-in kiosk at the airport. Allowing you to either check-in for a previously made reservation or to book a room and simultaneously check-in… and spit out keys that allow you to get into your room.

Especially at Vegas, where you have to sometimes walk through what seems like acres of casino tables before reaching the lobby… this would be a nice value-add

The AnitJyn says:

Service-less industry

I am guilty of using the kiosks at my local grocery store, they are really ripping off the consumer and the poor clerk.
Not only is the consumer not getting any sort of monetary break, just to get out of the store a few moments faster, but the clerk isn’t making any more money either.

I guess there gift is that they don’t have to wait of yet another customer.

thecaptain says:

Re: Service-less industry

I don’t know about that.

I use those automated checkouts too.

At my local grocers, they recently put them in and here is the resulting situation:

HUGE, LONG lines at the human checkouts (manned by teenagers most evenings, some good, some not..well rather more NOT) and NO, I repeat ZERO people using the automated checkouts.

So I use them…I save 10-15 mins waiting in line, especially if I would have used the express checkout, because then I save 10-15 mins fuming over the 3-4 idiots with FULL to the brim shopping carts who then argue with the cashier who DARES tell them to use another line.

Now, if the grocer was cutting human checkouts to encourage the automated checkouts, I’d be pissed…but it isn’t the case. The business put them in because of the huge line-ups that regularily occurred, its too bad no one uses the things (well, ok for me….).

Although if I had to wait in line to use one, I’d probably pick a line for a human cashier with the same wait.

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