The Nordic Choice Hotel Chain from Norway is the first in the world to implement a system where you can check in, stay, and depart a hotel without having to deal with a human at all. This may seem a bit too sci-fi, but rest assured that the system is functional today, and at the Comfort Xpress Hotel in Oslo you can reserve, check in and check out without ever having to speak a word.
The system was developed by Ariane Systems and check in relies on the “Allegro web/mobile check-in platform”. What happens is you click a link received via email or text message, and then choose your check in time and room preferences; then you update, pay, and you’re good to go. After the arrival, you get another electronic communication that shows you the room number and the access option. There are two access options: you can use your phone as a key, using the OpenWays Mobile Key system, or you can get RFID key card through an automatic kiosk.
Thomas Westergaard, senior VP of Comfort Hotels for Nordic Choice Hotels made a very valid statement, explaining that this was in fact not a real progress, but rather a matter of catching up.
“The airline industry automated the check-in process 10 years ago, and we feel it is time that the hotel industry follows suit.”
As always with this kind of case, the make or break thing will be reliability. Of course, for the member of today’s society, trusting only machines for this kind of things is pretty hard, and that trust has to be earned. Every single flaw in the system will bring major setbacks and a wave of negative reviews. I don’t know about you, but I love not having to deal with staying in line or talking to tired, nervous or distracted receptionist. If everything works out fine, it will be a major time saver, and in the long run, a good investment too; and I believe it will work just fine. If by some reason it doesn’t them somebody will fix it, and in the near future, it will work. This is the future, ladies and gents – we might as well face it.