Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Hotel’s Online Check In Option

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Earlier this week I wondered whether I was missing something by preferring to check in at hotels in person rather than use the online check in option. I only had a few data points with Hyatt but readers commented on their experiences with Hilton and Marriott, and overall it seemed like online check in was more likely to hurt than help you.

Why Online Hotel Check In Is Subpar

When you check in online you’re automatically assigned a room.

  • Chains like Hyatt don’t allow you to choose the type of room you want online, so you’re left hoping you get what you asked for and you’re out of luck if you wanted to change.
  • Many properties can’t change your room once it’s been assigned online, even if you go to the front desk
  • Hotel employees report you’re more likely to get upgraded to a better room in-person.
  • You still have to wait in line at the front desk to get your keys.

When Does It Make Sense To Check In To Your Hotel Online

Reader Brad, who has front desk experience, offered helpful insights on when you DO want to use online check in if it’s available:

I WOULD use online checkin if you…

  1. Are an Elite member that might be receiving a meet and greet or amenity in the room. We would get our most frequent guests keys waiting at the door so they would pick them up as they walk in because of this.
  2. Have requested a rare or highly desirable room type that is not guaranteed, like when you book through OTAs like Expedia. Sometimes they run out of double bedded rooms, and I hope the two couples showing up late aren’t shy when they have to share a king!
  3. Special Needs, allergies, handicaps, etc.

I agree completely with the commentors that once they launch “unlock your door with your phone” technology it will be a game changer.

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