Everyone’s going mobile in travel these days—and if you thought you’d heard enough of that already, think again. It’s just the beginning. Proving that is Marriott Hotels, which today launches mobile checkout at all of its 329 hotels nationwide and another 20 international properties (all 500 will be on board later this year). While other hotels and resorts have individually brought mobile checkout to life—I just checked out of the Aria in Las Vegas without even stopping at the front desk—Marriott’s move marks the first brand-wide conversion of its scale, and is no question a signifier of what’s to come for the rest of the industry.
Said Paul Cahill, Marriott’s senior vice president of brand management, “When we asked our customers to help us prioritize what they wanted in the mobile sphere, several things rose to the top: ordering room service, talking to service staff via text, and most importantly, checking out.” Given the brand’s recent inclination to cater to millennial travelers, we’re willing to bet more things are soon to be checked off that list.
So how does it work? Marriott guests should start by downloading the brand’s namesake app (free on Android and iTunes) where they can already manage reservations, access rewards points, and seek out destination-based tips. Early morning on the day of departure, guests will receive a push notification allowing them to receive their bill by email. The credit card on file gets charged, room keys can be left behind in the room, and guests can efficiently be on their merry way to the airport—no pit stop at the front desk needed. The only catch? It only works for members of Marriott Rewards, though joining that program is free of charge.
For those keeping tabs, this marks the second step towards mobile-ization at Marriott—the brand made mobile check-in a global perk just a few months back. (Unlike Aloft, which recently debuted a Bluetooth-enabled system that puts the room key in your phone, they still require you to pick up a trusty keycard). But count on more app- and mobile-based innovation from Marriott in the near future. Says Cahill: “The Marriott app is a great platform that will continually see added functionality.” Up next? A text-based communication system helping guests convey immediate requests—calls for extra pillows or a plea for late checkout—in real time.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.