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Marriott Hotels debuts innovative mobile check-in feature via app

Marriott Hotels has launched a mobile application that allows travelers to check into a hotel from their mobile device in an attempt to reach its increasingly mobile guests.

The app is available at 31 hotels in the United States and Canada. By the end of the summer, the app will expand to all 328 Marriott Hotels, which the hotel brand claims is the broadest mobile application of its kind in the U.S. and Canada.

“We’ve had mobile bookings since the end of 2010, and our guests have told us they want to engage with us during their stay, so we’re now adding mobile check-in,” said George Corbin, senior vice president of digital at Marriott International, Bethesda, MD. “We plan to evolve and add other services.”

Mobile check-in
To use the Marriott Hotels app, guests must check-in after 4 p.m. the day before their reservation or up to two hours before arrival. When guests get to the hotel, they can go to a Mobile Check-In desk and immediately receive their pre-programmed key card.

Additionally, the app will automatically notify guests when their room is ready.

The check-in feature is a part of the free Marriott mobile app and is available in the Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

However, in order to use the check-in feature, guests must be Marriott Rewards members – they have the option to sign-up via the app.

The Marriott mobile app also allows guests to make the original reservation on their mobile device, access their rewards account and browse city guides.

Looking forward, Marriott Hotels plans on adding more mobile features like check-out and guest service requests. The company also hopes to expand beyond the U.S. and Canada.

Mobile travelers
Marriott Hotels is attempting to cater to its mobile-savvy guests and find a place in an increasingly global world.

According to the company’s research, in 2010 less than one percent of overall digital traffic was from mobile, and as of June 15th, around 40 percent of overall digital traffic was from a mobile device.

Additionally, mobile booking grew roughly 125 percent last year.

The new check-in app builds on Marriott’s recent campaign to promote innovation and renovate the approach to hotel services (see story).

The company began their mobile campaigns in 2008 with a mobile site and continued with apps for the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry in 2011 (see story).

According to consulting firm Hudson Crossing, 80 percent of emerging Gen Y travelers in the U.S. own a smartphone.

Marriott Hotels recognizes that this population is the future, and through its Travel Brilliantly campaign and efforts like a check-in feature, Marriott Hotels plans to serve this group and enable the next generation to access the brand from their smartphones and tablets.

“Today’s guests expect to be able to use their smartphones to do almost everything,” Mr. Corbin said.

“They’re more mobile than ever and consider technology to be a central part of their lifestyle,” he said.

“We want to change the way people travel at our hotels. We’ve engaged with guests to understand, ‘what do they most value?’”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York