Hey, This Room Is Occupé

351206750_c2e1f9862d_zHave you ever been in a hotel room and had someone else enter (or try to) because they were assigned the room at check-in? I have, with the discomfort compounded by being in the middle of the night and the person trying to enter only speaking French. Most business travelers I know have been in a scenario like this (minus the French), on one side of the door or the other.

This week I was working on a project that addressed the evolution and automation of hotel check-in. Here technology is moving towards web check-in and eventually keyless entry to your room via smartphone. As I thought about this I realized I am a little uncomfortable with it, precisely because of the situation I described above. Somehow, I trust the technology less than a human to be sure I’m given an unoccupied room. Silly, I know, but it’s my instinct.

I’m curious now to learn more about the technology behind smartphone keys and how the digital safeguards will prevent this uncomfortable (at best) and unsafe (at worst) rare-but-real snafu of sending a guest to an already-occupied room.

In the meantime, maybe I’ll remember to resume an old-fashioned practice I’ve gotten away from: I’ll put out the Do Not Disturb door hanger. That should be clue enough, even for the exhausted guest just off an Air France flight from Paris, that the room is occupé

Have you ever checked into a room that was already occupied, or vice versa?

Photo: Flickr/JoeShlabotnik

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