Aloft Smart Check-in

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by SC Flier, Aug 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    I just got the following targeted email for the Aloft Smart Check-in pilot program. I've stayed at several Alofts, but not at any of the participating ones listed below.

    Congratulations on being selected as one of the Starwood Preferred Guest® members invited to join this innovative program with AloftSM. A very exclusive group of members who join will be sent a special Aloft brand SPG card that will double as your room key for all stays at the Aloft New York Brooklyn, Aloft Dallas Downtown, Aloft Harlem, and Aloft Lexington. We’re also very excited to share that this initiative will soon be available at the Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park. Just provide the requested information below, accept the terms and conditions and your special member card will arrive within four weeks.

    How does it work? On the day of your future arrivals to one of the participating Aloft hotels, we will send a message to your mobile device with your room number. When you arrive, you can bypass the front desk and proceed directly to your room. When you get there, just hold your special Aloft brand SPG card in front of the lock and the door will unlock. That's it! You will be able to take advantage of one of the easiest and fastest check-in experiences ever offered in the hotel industry.

    A few things to note:
    • You will need to have the mobile device that you provided below with you on the day of arrival.
    • We will use the credit card you used to make your reservation for all incidentals during your stay. You can change this at any time by stopping at the front desk.
    • Your new Aloft brand SPG card will NOT replace your existing SPG member card and can only be used at Aloft hotels that are participating in Smart Check-In.
    • The Aloft brand SPG card does not contain any of your personal identifiable information. The card only contains information necessary for your current stay at one of the participating Aloft hotels.

    Lastly, just because you won't see us at check-in doesn't mean we aren't here to help. Call or stop by the front desk anytime!

    For more information and a list of participating hotels, please visit alofthotels.com/smartcheckin.

    Experience style at a steal at Aloft Hotels, featuring loft-inspired urban design, a happening w xyz bar scene, fast and free WiFi, totally tech-savvy rooms, gourmet bites available 24/7 at re:fuel by Aloft and so much more. If you don't already have a reservation at the Aloft Lexington, Aloft Harlem, Aloft Dallas Downtown or Aloft New York Brooklyn, book now at www.spg.com.

    Note: Standard text messaging fees apply. Mobile number provided will be the primary phone number where all room information will be sent. Remote/mobile access to this account is required.​

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Legal Terms & Conditions
    Starwood Preferred Guest (“SPG”) members that have received a valid e-mail invitation and that are accepted in to the Aloft Smart Check-In program will receive an Aloft brand SPG card for each eligible stay at a participating Aloft. A qualifying proof of eligibility, a Starwood Preferred Guest Number is required. The invitation is not transferrable and may only be used by the member that received the invitation directly from SPG communications. If you wish to participate you must provide a valid credit card with each reservation that must be valid for the entire stay and you agree that unless you provide an alternate form of payment upon arrival at the hotel, it will be charged for all room, tax, incidental charges and other applicable charges for that duration. Reservations made with a SPG number in a free form field may not be eligible. Some reservations made through meeting planners, travel agents, wholesalers and third party sites may not be eligible due to their systems inability to capture the SPG number in a dedicated field. Offer is not available to groups or Starwood employees. All promotions are subject to the SPG program terms and conditions, which are subject to change without notice and can be found at SPG.com. Not responsible for omissions or typographical errors. You must be able to provide a valid mobile number and e-mail address to participate. Such contact information will be used in connection with Smart Check-In. By participating in the pilot program, you consent to receive e-mails and a survey regarding the pilot program. If you choose to opt-out of the pilot before the end of the pilot period you may do so by going to spg.com/customercontact. Opting out of the Aloft Smart Check-In pilot will not affect your communication preferences with other Starwood programs, for which you will need to inform such programs, or Starwood directly if you wish to opt out.

     
  2. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    If I did participate, the requirement that I receive my room number by SMS text messaging would be the part that I would like least. I don't subscribe to text messaging, so I might end up paying extra for this service. I would rather have the option to receive my room number via email. It might work with my Google Voice number, but I'm not sure if I could test that in advance.

    How quickly will this program be rolled out to the rest of the Aloft chain?
     
  3. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    I recall being in the trial run last year, and now this 'select' set.
    I am also in the same boat with text messages, but I wonder if there is someway it can go through whatsapp and not incur a fee.

    I am not sure I have any Aloft stays in the near future, I might wait before signing up.
     
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  4. SpaceAce

    SpaceAce Active Member

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    What I learned from that ad:

    50% of people who stay at Alofts are taxi-stealing jerks.
    Aloft check-in lines are long.
    As long I am willing to carry yet another card I can skip the long lines with taxi-stealing jerks in them.
     
  5. Jslo
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    Jslo Gold Member

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    I also got the targeted email. I don't have any stays currently booked at the participating properties- however I will be booking the Aloft Dallas for a couple trips pretty soon. I like the idea. The only other thing I wish they did was to have even a slightly more interactive check in, although SMS will work I guess.

    I think it is an opportunity for additional revenue and loyalty if they had a check in with either a list of reply choices or better yet if you could submit as part of a member profile certain amenities you would want in your room that are incremental to a standard room setup (food, drink, toiletries come to mind). I'm trying to think of things I would buy if there was a menu of sorts. Being from Fort Collins, Colorado- (New Belgium, Odell, Equinox, FCB, etc etc) I am partial to a decent local brew. Love to have a couple of those auto in my room fridge. I am also a bit of a night owl doing work until late. I also eat kinda of healthy/organic. Love to be able to have something crunchy salty and healthy(relatively) to crunch at midnight with those craft brews ;). I often forget razor/toothbrush. Shaving cream is a pain to pack. I think I would sign up and pay a nominal fee if I knew a good/decent razor and relatively high quality small shaving cream kit was in the room as well as a toothbrush and paste. I wouldn't even have to think about packing it.

    Of course, this benefit from SPG's standpoint would have to be weighed against cost of inventory/maintaining inventory, time/effort/education of housekeeping staff on placing profile amenities (which then possibly leads to elite complaints that "my profile items were not in the room") etc etc. I have no idea if they could do it cost effectively- but anything that makes life on the road feel "a little more like home" and a little less like "life on the road" seems like it would be something worth earning as part of a status or paying nominal dollars for as a frequent guest.

    And for what it's worth, I'm not likely to order it once I'm in the room. Some hotels have a little order card and some of these items might be available. My experience is that by the time I order it, wait for it, not so conveneient. If the ale is in the fridge it is accessible in the moment, not 30 minutes after I call it in.
     
  6. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    A nice convenience and option for those who want it. It would be of no value to me as I am more likely to lose the card before ever being able to use it.
     
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  7. From NYC
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  8. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    A few observations...

    On my first-ever Aloft stay, I inquired about a toothbrush because my checked luggage had not arrived with on flight. They didn't have free amenities for forgotten items, and they didn't offer individual amenities. Instead, they offered kits of amenities which I thought they were rather expensive. (I don't remember the prices now, unfortunately.)

    I would think that offering alcoholic beverages automatically in the room might cause legal/liability issues with age verification since they would not personally verify the buyer's age.

    The Aloft properties seem to operate with a rather minimal staff, so anything like this that requires extra effort to visit rooms could certainly be more of a challenge than at a full-service hotel.

    Nonetheless, if you take up this offer for the pilot program, hopefully the post-stay surveys will let you share your ideas.
     
  9. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    I started writing the thread before you posted yours but didn't finish it up and post it until afterwards. When I saw the Twitter feed showing what looked like a double-post, I then realized that you had beat me to the punch and that we had actually used the exact same title (except for capitalization). I put in a request (via "Report") to merge my thread into yours, but such admin actions don't tend to happen very quickly here, if at all.

    In hindsight, I wonder if I could've deleted my own new thread. I can't remember whether a reply had already been posted to it before I realized that it was a duplicate thread.
     
  10. From NYC
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    I apologize for a brief fit of pique. These things happen, of course. Had to leave the apt after writing the post and didn’t think of deleting it until I had no way to do so while out and about. Was about to now after returning, but saw your reply, so thought it would be cheating to take it off now. Instead, an apology.
     
  11. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    No worries. I didn't take any offense by it, and I hope that this helps the admins see real-life evidence of where improvements are still needed in the forum's functionality. As the forum membership grows, we're likely to see similar threads happen more frequently. I'm hoping that some good solutions are in the works. I know that the ability to make changes/corrections to thread titles is an anticipated feature on the wishlist.
     
  12. From NYC
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    Improvements are coming. Back when they were holding think sessions before the site went live, I suggested having a glossary that could be accessed by hovering over the words or airline/airport codes, so that people less familiar would know what was up. Took a while, but they made that happen.

    I’m sure thread-combining will take place sooner or later.
     
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  13. Jslo
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    Interesting on your experience at an Aloft when you lost luggage. On the one hand, seems like it makes my idea far fetched- on the other, it almost seems to confirm the potential of the idea? Maybe?

    Im beginning to think along the lines almost of an amenity kit that I get at the RCC at Narita. Especially if the kit could be sponsored like I'm sure business class kits and club kits are sponsored and the cost would be pretty low. Sell it to me for 5 or 10 bucks and I'd sign up for it in my profile and just add it to my hotel bill.

    Agree on the alcohol issue, although once a profile would be confirmed seems pretty simple. There is already alcohol in the room in the mini fridge so the technical issue wouldn't be too hard to overcome? No one checks your ID for the mini bar in a room do they? I'm too old to know ;)
     
  14. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    People have different interests and price points for such kits. It doesn't seem like something that I'd want to purchase often. If I failed to pack my own and then they failed to deliver on their promise to provide me with a kit, it would be a big headache. Pre-purchasing drinks for the room might go over well, though. If they weren't consumed, though, would people expect their money back?

    I think that most Starwoods would (or claim that they would) verify at check-in that someone in the room is at least 21. I could be wrong. Here's a sample age requirement from the Aloft Houston:
    Age Requirement Policy
    Kids are always welcome—as long as there are adults around too! At least one occupant of each Aloft room must be 21 years or older. Be sure to bring ID in case we need to confirm.​
     
  15. MSPeconomist
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    Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be possible (yet?) on MP to delete a thread yourself, even if yours is the only post. The only option seems to be to request admin do it through the "report" button and they seem to generally only work during the business week. When I wanted to delete a thread of mine a while ago, I was told that Guides can't do that either, only admin.

    Personally, I'm starting to get annoyed by the number of duplicate threads that are starting to be generated on MP and especially by some attitudes that they don't care or even did it deliberately and refuse to ask that the threads be merged. It may not seem like such a major issue now, but as MP grows and matures, this could become a big problem.
     
  16. MSPeconomist
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    I can't imagine alofts being able and willing to provide such service or to do it consistently. Their model seems to be pretty minimal service and staff, with maybe even fewer front desk people in the future as they train people at self check-in, either in advance as this pilot program is doing or using the computers/kiosks in the lobby. I've seen some shockingly long lines for the size of these properties for no apparent reason.

    I suspect that aloft has a somewhat schizophrenic attitude toward age and alcohol. Of course they can't violate laws and risk their liquor licenses for the lobby bars. Also, young party makers have been known to cause problems in some locations (but it might be worse for Ws). OTOH, there's no real incentive for a young desk agent to enforce age rules or check IDs for age if they can avoid it, although this might be more pronounced at Ws, given the higher price point.
     
  17. KENNECTED
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    I got this as well, yet I've never stayed at an Aloft. I guess Ill check on out
     
  18. bakedpatato
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    bakedpatato Gold Member

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    Why not NFC and an Android app SPG? After all, Alofts are targeted to the younger peoples? Or do they think that all trendy hipsters have iPhones ;) I found that a lot of the hotel keys used in newly renovated Starwood properties are NFC (judging by how my Nexus S tags em)
     
  19. From NYC
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    It’s a test of a new program that works off any mobile device. Did you read the OP? Where does it say “iPhone app“ or “iPhone required”? It’s a separate key card and they text your room # to your phone or other device, Apple or otherwise. Chillax over your anti-Apple complex.

    Just provide the requested information below, accept the terms and conditions and your special member card will arrive within four weeks.
    How does it work? On the day of your future arrivals to one of the participating Aloft hotels, we will send a message to your mobile device with your room number. When you arrive, you can bypass the front desk and proceed directly to your room. When you get there, just hold your special Aloft brand SPG card in front of the lock and the door will unlock. That's it“
     
  20. bakedpatato
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    bakedpatato Gold Member

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    I did. I know its a key, but I was wondering if NFC was a better fit considering many Starwoods already have NFC receiving doors and would accommodate people like me and OP who only have GV numbers for texting( They could even use FeLiCa in Japan considering how many of those cards people have). And I don't know were you got me making an anti apple snipe beyond me making fun of hipsters; the iPhone 5 may have NFC yet.
     
  21. SC Flier
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    I don't understand your question. What's the difference between the special card that they'll be sending and NFC?
     
  22. bakedpatato
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    I should've phrased it better.
    NFC+app for smartphone so that SPG doesn't have to mail out all these cards and they can send your room info to your smartphone instead of texting it to you.They can still hand out the cards for those without NFC enabled phones and still send the info to the app! I doubt anyone with status in a hotel doesn't have a smartphone. Plus this would be the "hip" thing to do.
    The only downfall is that very few phones on the market have NFC(the Nexus S and the new BlackBerries do), so this idea would work better in Japan with FeLiCa (as apparently every phone on the market has it). In addition, SPG doesn't have their own apps for smartphones, which would mean that they would have to write an app from scratch...
     
  23. From NYC
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    But the iPhone 5 may not have NFC, and how do they know that the people they‘re targeting have phones with NFC as opposed to, in a test program, providing the testers with something they know will work, a key card they control manufacture and distribution of? Why should they be concerned during a test that’s only involving hotels in the USA, and only some of their US hotels not all of them, for the moment with FeLiCa in Japan or any other platform than a simple key card and mobile phone? If you’ve, in fact, been targeted, and you don’t want to carry around their keycard, don’t respond to the offer.

    It’s a pilot program limited to very few hotels in one geographic area to see how an idea works, not a full-fledged international roll-out. Why don’t you give SPG a chance to see how it works first? You are way ahead of things here with your comment.

    And your comment, “Or do they think that all trendy hipsters have iPhones“ is a typical one of people who get annoyed at the wide spread of Apple products. If you’re not that way, okay.
     
  24. bakedpatato
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    Fair enough. You make valid points(Including the last one ;)).
    I just think that if they're going to go through all that trouble(possibly replacing door locks, linking their res system to a mass texter, getting the cards, mailing out the cards, training for the front desk) that it would be worth it to integrate a smartphone into the process be it anything from a simple app that receives the room number to a app for NFC or FeLiCa enabled phone that would allow the smartphone to replace the card entirely. That would be a buzz maker among the techrati and bring more of the targeted audience into Alofts even if its only for a couple of CONUS hotels.
    Finally, I love my new Apple Airport Express, it is surprisingly cheaper than a comparable Asus or Cisco/Linksis router and performs much better too.
     
  25. From NYC
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    I don’t deny you your points for a fuller roll-out, and once more phones have NFC, in terms of it being very hip and buzz-making. Certainly, being able to unlock the doors of the Zip car I’ve rented by using my iPhone Zipcar app is very cool.

    And, btw, SPG has, in fact, had an iPhone app for a while now. I can use it to explore my account, look up hotels, make reservations, etc. I’m sure it wouldn’t be that much more to add NFC room-unlocks to it, when they decide to do so. I don’t know if they have any apps for any other mobile platform.
     

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