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Marriott's app updates streamline the check-in process for guests, although they still have to stop by a mobile check-in desk to pick up a key card. It's definitely an improvement, but further enhancements are called for.

Marriott Rewards members wielding iOS and Android devices can now bypass front-desk registration at 31 Marriott-branded properties in the U.S. thanks to updates late last month to the chain’s mobile apps.

From 4 p.m. the day before arrival, guests can use the app to check in for their reservations, and then proceed to a mobile check-in desk at the hotel to receive their pre-programmed key cards to gain access to their rooms.

Using these Marriott iOS and Android apps, guests will receive notifications when their room is ready, Marriott says.

The service, geared to attract digitally savvy Gen Y and other like-minded travelers, Marriott’s mobile check-in service is currently available at 31 properties ranging from the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront to the New York Marriott Marquis and Washington Marriott at Metro Center.

Marriott says mobile check-in will be available later this summer at all of its 325 hotels in the U.S. and Canada.

Marriott Rewards members can use the apps for mobile check-ins because their credit card information is already on file, and hence there’s no need to show your credit card at the registration desk.

Marriott’s mobile check-in service is undoubtedly a convenience for its loyalty program members and highlights the lodging industry’s keen awareness about the shift to mobile.

The rollout to 325 properties is a sizable endeavor, but the service falls short of what’s available at Starwood’s admittedly much smaller contingent of Aloft Hotels.

With Aloft’s smart check-in program, which claims 10,000 users at five properties and has been in place since 2010, Starwood Preferred Guest members get mailed an Aloft-branded RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) card, receive a notification of their assigned room number, and then proceed right to their rooms when they arrive at the hotel.

With Aloft’s check-in service, there is no mobile check-in desk to navigate upon arrival and no need to retrieve a key card, as is the case with Marriott’s mobile check-ins.

Aloft’s users, though, must have their Aloft RFID cards handy, though, to bypass the front desk, and it takes a few weeks initially to recieve the card through the mail.

All in all, though, between Marriott’s and Aloft’s disparate programs, check-ins at hotels are undergoing a revolution.



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Tags: check-ins, marriott

Photo credit: Marriott updated its iOS and Android apps to enable loyalty program members to check-in a day before their arrivals and to retrieve a pre-programmed key card at a mobile check-in desk at the hotel once their rooms are ready. No need to stop by the registration desk. Marriott

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