The hows and whys of mobile check-in?

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CarefulBuilder14
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The hows and whys of mobile check-in?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:59 pm

This is how I understand the concept of mobile check-in as it applies to flights...please clarify anything I have wrong...

You tell the airline you're at, or will soon be at, the airport. You can even do this from home without a problem. They send a digital boarding pass. If you don't need to check a bag, you go right to the TSA line, and from there it's normal boarding except that the gate scanner reads the pass on your phone instead of a paper boarding pass. If I've described the process correctly, I can see some value since you can avoid a line at the check-in kiosks (if you don't need to check a bag). I'm not sure if a low-status customer could beat other low-status customers for upgrades on a nearly empty flight just by checking in earlier.

But as far as hotels, I don't see such a clear advantage. You still need to get your room keys, so what step is being saved? I guess mobile check-in could possibly help to get a space-available upgrade if you beat someone else. Is that the idea? Or do you spend a lot less time at the check-in desk if you've checked in through an app? Do you just show an ID to get your room key?
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Re: The hows and whys of mobile check-in?

Postby kdm31091 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:46 am

I think the theory is that it expedites check in, but it's probably not going to make a big difference, I agree. You still have to get your key, so at best it saves the time of having to give them a credit card to use and verify all of your info etc. Mobile technology is great, but there are some areas where they've tried to implement it and it just doesn't save much time or solve a problem. To me hotels are one of them.

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Re: The hows and whys of mobile check-in?

Postby PhillyPhoto » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:30 am

For Hilton, if they've upgraded the hotel rooms, you can skip the check-in entirely. The app uses bluetooth with the app's "Digital Key". So you can select what room you want from the map, check-in, and then open the door with the DK. I just used it in Chicago this week, and it takes a few seconds longer to open the door. I ended up getting a key anyway, because I did check-in at the front desk due to my gold status, and I got an upgrade to a business class room. So, as long as I have status with a chain, I think I would still check-in at the desk for potential upgrades.

For airlines, it doesn't make much sense if you're checking a bag though, since they still give you a paper boarding pass. But for Southwest it does if you didn't pay for the Early Bird check in.
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Re: The hows and whys of mobile check-in?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:32 am

I tried to do mobile check out for the first time on an IHG stay. I figured it would be old-fashioned me catching up to what everyone else has been doing for ages...

Of course, the app tells me I can't do mobile check out on an award stay. I don't see why not, since they have my CC on file.

So much for me being the one who needs to catch up...
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Re: The hows and whys of mobile check-in?

Postby TXviking » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:15 am

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:But as far as hotels, I don't see such a clear advantage. You still need to get your room keys, so what step is being saved? I guess mobile check-in could possibly help to get a space-available upgrade if you beat someone else. Is that the idea? Or do you spend a lot less time at the check-in desk if you've checked in through an app? Do you just show an ID to get your room key?


Actually, sometimes you don't. More and more Hilton properties, for example, offer digital key -- you go straight to your room and open it via Bluetooth, so your smartphone becomes your room key.

There are other advantages as well. When you have late arrival, as I often do, there's no risk of being mistakenly registered as a no-show. With status at Hilton, I also get to pick my own room at checkin. Usually not a big deal, but I have some unusual preferences. For example, they usually try to put me on a higher floor ("Hilton Honors") floor, but due to acrophobia, I strongly prefer not to have a view 18 stories down. For the same reason, at hotels with rooms surrounding a 10-story atrium, I prefer to have a room that doesn't require me to skirt the edges of said atrium to reach it. (I can express such preferences during traditional checkin as well, but the app makes it easier.)

All that said, the benefit of online checkin is relatively limited at hotels, especially if you don't have status with the chain in question. For that matter, I find limited value at airports as well. I almost always check a bag, which means you're standing in line to drop your bag off anyway.



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