Is this the death of the hotel receptionist?
A WARM smile and “Have you got a reservation?” still normally greets guest when entering a hotel, but could this traditional method of checking in and out soon give way to technological innovation?
Hilton Honors customers also get the choice of checking in online, which is provided as a luxury service.
But is this a progressive innovation for the hotel industry or a step backward in customer experience?
Technology often makes traveling a lot easier, quicker, and sometimes even more fun, thanks to the GPS allowing us to dispose of the broadsheet map and search engines for finding the nearest vegan-friendly, dairy and gluten-free restaurant in a tiny village on the outskirts of New Delhi, for example.
But sometimes it can also feel like a hindrance, especially when you’re desperate for a sympathetic human to answer your call and find your luggage, refund your missed flight, or tell you that they’ve found your kid’s precious blanket.
“A good front desk is like the beating heart of a hotel: a physical command centre—A control tower! A headquarters!—from which you can speak to someone, face-to-face, and get a room change or directions to the best hot pot restaurant within walking distance equally quickly,” Katherine LaGrave told Conde Nast Traveler.
Yet, many people enjoy the freedom of not having to answer to hotel receptionists. There is no chance of a machine speaking to you in a way that could plummet your mood or having to wait in a long line while the only receptionist on duty faffs around trying to find a stapler – for documents that don’t need staples.
“You know why I love Airbnb as much as I do? The same reason I love a hotel without a front desk: freedom,” explained Laura Dannen Redman. “It’s the ability to come and go as I please without feeling the need to ‘check-in’, like I’m a teenager telling my parents I’m home before curfew.”
Hotels are still yet to crack the winning balance of technology and human interaction. Hotels don’t want to miss out on the technological revolution, especially if it means cutting down on overheads such as wages and staff training, but the world doesn’t seem ready to be fully immersed in a technology-driven hotel industry just yet.
Which do you prefer: a warm human welcome or quick and convenient digital check-in?
Source: Travels travelwireasia.com