Home First All-Automated Hotel Opens in Norway

First All-Automated Hotel Opens in Norway

Eight months after we wrote about a keyless test, the Nordic Choice Hotel chain has become the first to implement a 100% automated check in and departure system at a major hotel. The Comfort Xpress Hotel in Oslo now allows guests to reserve, check in and check out without ever having to deal with a pesky human.

Using a system developed by Ariane Systems, guests check in prior to arrival using the “Allegro web/mobile check-in platform.” They click a link received via email or text and establish check-in time, manage room preferences, update their profile and pay.

On arrival, guests get another electronic communication containing their room number and access option. The two access options are by using their phone as a key, via the OpenWays Mobile Key system, or by obtaining an RFID keycard through an automatic kiosk.

Thomas Westergaard, senior VP of Comfort Hotels for Nordic Choice Hotels said this was, in part, a matter of playing catch-up.

“The airline industry automated the check-in process 10 years ago, and we feel it is time that the hotel industry follows suit.”

One of the make-or-break points on this experiment will be, as always, reliability. There is even less convenience in a time-saving measure malfunctioning than in its lack.

While most will agree that some automation is a boon, the disagreement may lie in what aspects of our interactions should be meat-free. Personally, I love not having to stand in line waiting for one distracted or chatty cash-register specialist for a pack of batteries, I have not found the automated airport experience anything less than panic-inducing.

How much of our travel experience do we want to appear convenient in order to save that last dollar, dinar or dalasi? These days, maybe every last vestige.

Circumstance did not allow for an ice hotel reference. I apologize.

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