MJ on Travel is a fan of the concept of mobile check-in. Seriously. While I think the penultimate solution is turning your mobile phone into your room key, I accept that mobile check-in is an evolving lodging solution. Admittedly, I’ve tried two mobile (or online) check-in solutions, Hilton (0nline) and Marriott (mobile). I did not much care for Hilton’s solution. They make you pick a particular room, which may or may not be the best available.

On the other hand, Marriott’s mobile check-in is a little cleaner. You receive a notification the day before that you can check in. No one forces you to do so, and when you do, you’re not forced into a particular room. I’ve checked in with the Marriott mobile app before my room had been assigned and afterward. An “assigned” room might be to the club floor, or some other accommodation. In any event, it works, but I’ve offered some constructive criticism on Marriott’s mobile check in solution here and here. My biggest complaint was the lack of an assigned area for those who use the app to check in and pick up their room key.

I’m currently bunking at the Renaissance Washington, DC, Downtown, a hotel I’ve stayed with multiple times, and reviewed previously. This is a favorite hotel of mine, especially the lobby area. Upon arriving today, I was pleased to see a unique kiosk situated well before the front desk, and prominently displaying a “Marriott Mobile Check-in” display. One attendant was working the kiosk, and she politely greeted me upon arrival. I presented my idea, and mentioned that I had checked in via the mobile app. She located my reservation and confirmed that I wanted to apply my room charges to my card on file, which has not been required to be seen again during any of my three Marriott mobile check-in attempts. Then, she left and went to the front desk to get my keys which had already been prepared. #Ugh.

If you’re going to place a kiosk just inside the front door that displays a sign saying “Marriott Mobile Check-in,” why wouldn’t you have the room keys waiting at that kiosk? Make it happen, Marriott! Otherwise…well, not even “otherwise,” this is a great stay and a great hotel. Just a little constructive criticism on the mobile check-in experiment.

-MJ, September 24, 2014

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