Many businesses will soon automate some operations in an effort to curb and limit employee-to-customer contact.
The customers and employees will both be understandably concerned about their well-being.
Some companies may automate because of a genuine concern for people.
But I think many others will seize the “opportunity” and use it as a way to reduce staff.
Contrary to some readers’ opinions in the Comments sections and social media, I’m not trying to fear monger or advocate for when cities should open up.
But let’s face it: some things won’t be the same, whether we like it or not. But other things won’t change, whether we like it not.
And no one will be completely happy about either.
That being said, let’s examine three trends we may see at hotels.
Keyless Room Entry
I think we’re going to see hotels encourage more guests to use keyless entry (i.e. check-in on your phone).
“Everybody Hates the Key Card,” crowed the New York Times, blasting their “environmentally unfriendly plastic.”
Sorry to break it to the Times, but I don’t hate key cards. Neither does my wife. Nor many of my friends and colleagues.
Yes, it’s a pain in the neck when they don’t work.
But I’d rather have that handy instead of risk something wrong with my cell phone — and I can’t access the hotel’s app.
Some guests who aren’t very tech-savvy will also not be too excited by keyless entry.
And from a travel geek standpoint, I enjoy bringing home a keycard from every hotel stay. (We keep threatening to make a framable collage. May now during our COVID-19 downtime…)
According to the New York Times, “Digital keys are hugely popular with travelers in some areas, like Silicon Valley, but overall, only about 10 percent of all hotel guests use them,” said Nicolas Aznar, the Swedish-based lock maker Assa Abloy.
Yeah. Everybody hates the key card, huh?
Self Check-in Kiosks
I’m not a huge fan of hotel self check-in kiosks.
First of all, people are going to get fingerprints all over the screens, counters, and wherever else they can put their hands. So unless hotels place employees around each cluster of kiosks and have them disinfect each machine after every use, the whole “kiosks are safer!” argument doesn’t hold much water with me.
Some people (like me, for example) occasionally prefer a certain view in a favorite city. Or higher up or lower down in the hotel tower. Maybe someplace close to the elevator or away from the soda machines.
Or maybe you’re an elite status holder in the hotel’s loyalty program and you want to see if maybe there’s an upgrade available.
Most of those can’t be accomplished at a check-in kiosk. They need to be discussed with an actual person.
When I stayed at the Park MGM in Las Vegas, I was told by someone watching over the kiosks to visit the players club desk inside the casino and ask about an upgrade. They referred me back to the front desk. Except there wasn’t even a front desk where someone could assign rooms.
I also enjoy getting some advice from hotel employees as to where I should eat, drink, visit, etc. Check-in is a great opportunity to kill all those birds with one stone.
“Drive-By” Room Service
Hotel guests generally must sign for their orders when delivered — and have the option of adding a tip (well, in some countries…).
Will room service employees knock on doors and then leave? Or will they leave the bill there to be picked up later — still giving the guest a chance to tip him or her?
What Do You Think?
Do you like self check-in kiosks? Keyless entry? How do you think room service will change — if at all? Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
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