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Manhattan Courtyard drives hotel stays with mobile check-in app

Courtyard New York Manhattan/SoHo is aiming to ramp up business by leveraging a mobile application that enables guests to check-in and checkout of the hotel without waiting in long lines.

As the holiday season grows busier with travelers, Courtyard is hoping that consumers will take advantage of the app’s easy-to-use features, which include accessing Marriott Rewards points, sending feedback to the hotel and discovering nearby destinations. The hotel aims to offer customers a hassle-free experience and also provides booking functionality for on-the-go guests.

“The introduction of a mobile check-in app is a great first step by Courtyard Marriott to modernize customer processes,” said Puneet Mehta, CEO and co-founder of mobile marketing automation company MobileROI, New York. “While it removes friction from one step of the customer experience, the hotel cannot stop at mobile check-in and check-out.

“It must start looking at orchestrating across the complete customer journey. This might involve bringing in a centralized engagement layer that could handle beacons, prediction and marketing automation to ensure a consistent, personalized experience throughout the entire customer journey to really move the needle.”

Tech-savvy consumers
Courtyard understands the importance of catering directly to tech-savvy travelers that may be struck with last-minute travel plans, inspirations to visit a new destination or desire to browse locations for future trips.

Members of Marriott Rewards will receive a notification on their smartphone one day before the designated arrival date at the hotel, and can opt-in to receive alerts the following day when the room is ready.

Once they arrive at the hotel, customers can visit the mobile check-in desk at any Marriott International hotel and present their smartphone for verification. Guests do not need to present their credit cards for identification.

The hotel, near New York University and Greenwich Village, allows offers guests complimentary Wi-Fi service.

“New York may be the city that never sleeps, but people certainly hate to wait in line,” said Shira Anderson, marketing manager at Como, New York. “That’s why Courtyard’s new mobile check-in app is such a good bet, and so likely to appeal to so many guests.

“While regulars are sure to enjoy the ease with which they can check into their favorite hotel via the app, new customers stand to benefit as well. The traveling-for-business community in particular is likely to notice—and appreciate—this added convenience.”

Travel in mobile
The travel and hospitality industry has been putting an increasingly significant focus on mobile strategy, especially as the notion of mobile room keys takes off. Brands such as Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Hilton Worldwide have begun implementing the technology at select locations, while Marriott has launched mobile room keys at its 10 Aloft, W and Element hotels (see story).

330 North American hotels belonging to Marriott International currently offer the technology, with the number expected to expand to 4,000 hotels worldwide in the coming months.

Marriott sends a push notification to guests’ smartphones when their room becomes available. Customers checking in via mobile can bypass any lines at the hotel counter and go to an express line instead, where they may show identification.

“The travel and hospitality industry is finally starting to catch up to customer expectations and roll out mobile-first programs to enhance and streamline the guest experience,” Mr. Mehta said. “In 2015, we will see a lot of hospitality brands embrace mobile to elevate the on and off premise experience.

“Beacons, for instance, can automatically push an offer for happy hour at the on-premise restaurant to young professionals in the lobby at 5pm while highlighting child-friendly activities  to the guest staying with her family.

“Contactless entry is also becoming a very hot trend that will continue to heat up. The most important thing for all hospitality brands to keep in mind as they explore new technologies is to keep the customer at the center of everything they do.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York