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LBS & tourism through the eyes of a postgrad marketing student in New Zealand.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hotel check-in kiosks

Is the Check-In Kiosk in the Lobby for Real? (NYTimes login required)

"DUST collectors. That is what employees at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers call their new automated check-in kiosks, as one guest who has repeatedly tried to use them found.

The problem is that the automated check-in kiosks are unreliable. Mr. Harteveldt estimates that more than one in 10 hotel kiosk transactions fail, either because they are incapable of making contact with the hotel's reservation system, or, if they are able to make a link, because they generate a key to the wrong room.

Experienced business travelers often avoid the machines because their performance is so unpredictable.
Guests will just have to get used to them. Besides, any gadget that can get you to your room more quickly is probably a good thing. But some business travelers, all too aware of the reputation the hotel industry has for generating extra fees, are already wondering whether the industry will yet again figure out a way to wring a little extra cash out of unsuspecting customers."

A nice example of why technology has to work properly the first time 'round, otherwise users will forever avoid them in future, and even worse, spread negative word of mouth to all their friends! Of course, if you can just automate the self check-in via a mobile device (that's linked with LBS & m-payment), and it actually works, then that's a lot better than the hotels installing and maintaining expensive kiosks in the lobby. Of course, you're always still going to need staff, but it would make things a lot easier for everyone involved...


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