Hotel front desks are taking a back seat

Hotel front desk

In one of my recent articles, I’ve put hotel ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs in the spotlight. Those iconic little signs are slowly disappearing in hotels. And now, here’s another hotel staple that could lose its place in the future – the front desk.

Examples of hotels that have chosen to lose the traditional check-in process are New York’s Public and London’s The Pilgrm. They both have chosen to take the new route, replacing the desk with roaming attendants and tablets.

Hotels are changing their ways to cope up with the fast-paced world we live in. But should we really lose the front desk?

With hotel front desks

Human interaction is the number one reason why hotel front desks are still relevant today. Some travellers aren’t techie enough to figure out check-ins and bookings using their mobile devices. It confuses them and makes them even more tired after a long flight or a long drive from somewhere.

For some weary travellers, the last thing they’d want to do is figure out another electronic device. They’ve encountered too much of technology while on their way. So, a lovely front desk may serve as an oasis on a desert. Some help from an accommodating concierge would be nice.

More importantly, the hotel’s front desk is the heart of the hotel. A great front desk could mean everything to guests that are entering the hotel. A perfectly timed human smile can’t be replaced by a welcome screen.

When it comes to customer service, nothing beats face-to-face human interaction.

Without hotel front desks

On the other hand, some guests are trying to avoid human interaction when checking into hotels. It makes them feel like they’re too dependent on other people. Having an app to replace the front desk, to them, means freedom.

Also, eliminating the front desks makes the process of checking-in faster. Imagine, if you could do all the transactions on your mobile device. With all the details set, you could just go straight to your room.

Some weary travellers may like this better because digitizing the process makes it more efficient.

One can download a hotel’s mobile app, use their smartphone to check-in at a virtual kiosk, and they can open their room without having a physical key. No more queuing in lines. No more waiting in hotel lobby sofas.

There’s also such a thing as a virtual concierge. An app like Hilton Honors allows guests to book an Uber to the hotel, order in-room food and beverage, request for extras, and even unlock hotel room doors.

Technology is truly changing the way we interact with hotels.

What do you think? Should the front desk stay, or should it go?

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