The Ritz-Carlton recently announced the expansion of their mobile application with the addition of online check-in and check-out services. We were intrigued by this update, which seems like it will quickly become a favorite of business travelers who just want to get into and out of their rooms without a fuss. So we were invited to our local property, the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, to check it out for ourselves.
Check-In, Check-Out, Right Online
Check-in couldn’t be simpler. The day before arrival, an email arrived prompting online check-in and requesting the estimated time of our arrival. At 10:57AM the day of arrival, we received a text message that our room was ready. Upon arrival, we proceeded directly to the “mobile” check-in desk, where our key was promptly handed to us. The entire process took less than three minutes, complete with Ritz-Carlton’s signature service.
The morning of departure, we clicked to view our folio and made a similarly quick check-out. We only with there had been another request ability to call our car to the bell desk or have our luggage brought downstairs.
The app will soon allow guests to order any number of items in-room, including towels, robes, and additional toiletries. The service wasn’t yet available during our trial, but we certainly understand the convenience of being able to request forgotten in-room items while ‘on the go’ outside the hotel and away from one’s room phone.
View a real-time calendar of events and local tips on area attractions right from the app proper. We were well familiar with the local area around the hotel, but enjoyed updates for items such as ‘Sushi Thursday’ in the hotel bar, which wasn’t an activity we might otherwise have noticed.
A notable feature of the application allows for in-room dining right from the comfort of your cell phone, along with pre-ordering capability. Quirks are definitely being ironed out – the app functioned some times and displayed delays or error messages on others – but the ordering capability is one we could certainly take advantage of on a future visit, as we have grown quite used to such technologies with apps like Seamless and GrubHub. Lest guests worry that the app might delay the order’s arrival, we saw the process in real time on a visit to the kitchens – tickets arrive seamlessly via immediate print out, ensuring prioritization of in-app orders.
This feature will be rolled out to other hotels soon. Pool-side ordering is being piloted at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, in Florida. Now, instead of calling over a Ritz-Carlton Lady or Gentleman to take your order, you can simply tap in your request, and we’ll start making your drink and head your way.
New enhancements to the app that will roll out in the next few months to properties all over the globe, and most features will be available by the end of 2014. On October 1, the app will also include a shareable Travel Poster feature, where guests will be able to curate their own images with special filters, titles and stamps to create retro-style travel posters to capture their memories. They will then be able to share their posters across social media channels, or save them to a personal on-device camera roll, enabling them to store the travel memory forever.
The application definitely has a few quirks – at present, to use the app, guests need to enter their Ritz-Carlton or Marriott Rewards username and password, followed by their last name and confirmation number to access the app each and every time. This was a cumbersome extra step, but we have been assured that this will soon be updated to a simple last name and room number login that allows a guest to only enter this information once per stay.
Overall, we can see the use for an app such as this one — particularly for simple check-in or check-out on the go. We’re a bit old fashioned in that we might still pick up the phone to call for room service, but we’d definitely poke around for in-house events or local tips in a new city.