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Automated for the people

I was asked last week to give my take on the automated kiosks that are available in some hotel check in areas.

In this world, I understand the need for technology. I appreciate the computers I use at work. The check in/check out process is so much easier with the software that I have access to. Trying to manage hundreds of hotel rooms is not an easy task.

I also value the human interaction with our guests. I think that human interaction at the beginning of a vacation can shift a vacation positively or negatively. Maybe that is one of the reason that hotels are bringing in these machines. Try to eliminate any negative interactions with staff, but without staff isn’t a hotel just a room to stay in and nothing else.

Yes, sometimes check in lines can be ridiculously long and time consuming. I get that. I cringe when I look out into that line and see irritated people. I am at an immediate disadvantage right off the bat but that doesn’t mean I am giving up.

Anything that takes away the human interaction is a bad thing to me. The check in kiosks, the pop-a-matic craps machines and the video blackjack machines that I see popping up all over the place. They are taking away jobs from people in an industry that has always been about the people.

Let’s not automate human interaction. Let’s train the people. Let’s get better people into these jobs. Let’s make the software better. Yes, there are times when these kiosks are necessary because of large crowds because no matter how hard we try we still can’t check in a person in 60 seconds. I just hope that if its a choice of waiting 10 minutes to check in with a person or go to a kiosk and spend the next 3 minutes checking in that people wait that extra time. Without you there is no me and using those machines in the casino eliminates dealers. If you are ok with the resorts eliminating dealers and hotel employees then I am not sure why you are reading this in the first place. Afterall, without me, there is no blog 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Automated for the people

  1. Valid point. Vegas hotels are so huge that it’s hard to get a sense of feeling anything but a number in some hotels and the check in/out experience is one of the few times the hotel can capitalise on building that relationship with their customers. For many that relationship will determine whether the customer will return over and over again. In my experience, 2 hotels that manage this very well are Encore and Tropicana. Opposite ends of the spectrum but equally focused on the customer experience. That’s why we keep going back.

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  2. I cringe when I see the check in kiosks. Why wouldn’t you want someone to tell you where your room is, what the amenities are, and all the happy stuff the hotel has to offer? I get that lines can be cumbersome but I’d rather wait for a friendly face than navigate a computer, especially if it’s a hotel at which I’ve never stayed. I’ve noticed that Mirage, once one of the biggest front desks, with a crapload of employees, on the strip has downsized their working area due to check in kiosks. It makes me sad as a guest and as a hotel employee. Now, admittedly, I check out on the TV set in the room because I don’t charge to the room so I don’t require a conversation about my bill.

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