By Mary Forgione
Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
10:55 AM EDT, September 6, 2013
Are the days of hotel front desk clerks numbered? Marriott Hotels has been testing an app that allows guests to check in via a mobile device and it's been so successful -- downloaded 2.3 million times -- that the service will be expanded to all 329 properties in the U.S. and Canada.
Here's how it works: Guests download the Mobile Marriott app (you have to be a member of their loyalty club), which allows them to check in after 4 p.m. the day before their arrival. (The app is available for iOS and Android.) They then receive a message when their room is ready and proceed to the mobile check-in desk to pick up keys.
So what's next? The company will test the mobile check-in at hotels in 15 countries in November. The same month, it plans to add a mobile checkout feature too. (Marriott started a Travel Brilliantly website to showcase ideas from experts and consumers alike.)
Marriott isn't the only company in the app game. Omni Hotels & Resorts claims to be the first to have offered mobile check-ins in 2008. And many hotels are testing (Marriott is) or offering apps that allow guests to order wake-up calls and extra towels.
Media and marketing website Digiday listed W hotels and other brands that offer concierge services with mobile apps. And as to those front desk clerks, there's no replacement for a warm welcome.
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