Engagement Checked In with Aloft-y Idea

ALOFTAloft Hotels is well known for its communal atmosphere, its hip bars and its grab-and-go snacks. Now it will also be known for its loyalty card, which is offering grab-and-go registration.

The boutique hotel chain, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, has launched a service called Smart Check-In. The program is exclusive to select Aloft locations and, like the Aloft experience, is engineered to provide optimum travel freedom, because it allows those staying at the hotel to completely bypass the front desk.

The service is available to selected guests who are notified by email. Those who opt in will receive an Aloft-branded Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) card, which doubles as a room key. On the day of arrival, Aloft sends a message containing the room number to the guest’s smart phone or mobile device. When the guest arrives, he or she can walk right by check-in and go directly to the room. One touch of the SPG card to the door and viola! The room is unlocked and the guest is automatically checked in.

Not only is this a luxury – for many of us frequent travelers, it responds to a pressing need. Attaining speed and convenience is one of the biggest challenges we face in our hectic, deadline-driven schedules. What better way to enhance the experience and add value to a loyalty card than by eliminating even small diversions?

But the service also is really smart from a feedback and improvement standpoint. As part of this invitation-only program, Aloft also is asking members to fill out a short survey following each stay. Through the surveys, it can record experiences with the Smart Check-In program, likely so it can make needed modifications when and where necessary. Further, the shared responses will help Aloft better understand its guests and service their anticipated needs.

Smart Check-In serves an anticipated need in loyalty, as well. With every American household enrolled in almost 22 loyalty programs but active in less than 10, according to the 2013 COLLOQUY Loyalty Census, loyalty marketers are in a foot race to prove why they should remain in the consumer’s wallet. Aloft has answered this challenge by giving actual utility to its loyalty card, enabling it to double as a room key and instant check-in device.

With these technological features, Aloft is thinking of new ways to add value and enhance the experience through basic process improvements. Now that’s a traditional approach to a lofty modern problem.

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