NCR's new Express Key check-in and key-dispensing kiosk. — Photo by NCR

NCR Corporation today launched NCR Express Key a hotel check-in kiosk that lets guests who have checked in online or via a mobile collect their room key without queuing at reception, meeting consumers" needs for the same convenience and speed they get with airline and car rental check-in.

Research conducted by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) on behalf of NCR found that 76% of people said being able to check-in ahead of time would minimize potential frustration, and 41% indicated they would be more likely to select a hotel that offers the convenience of advanced check-in via web or mobile device over one that does not.

NCR Express Key, part of an advanced hotel check-in solution portfolio that optimizes the mobile experience, allows guests who have checked in via online or mobile channels to bypass the front desk and obtain room keys by scanning a printed or mobile-delivered confirmation barcodes, NFC enabled mobile devices or mobile acoustic keys. The low-profile kiosk can be placed on counters or table tops throughout a hotel, in elevator lobbies and other convenient locations, giving more options to guests who have lost their keys, left keys in their rooms or arrive at their rooms to find that keys will not work.

Despite widespread adoption of mobile in other areas of travel, few hotels offer the convenience that consumers say they want. Survey results found that while 65% of respondents have booked a hotel room either online or via mobile device, only 20% have actually checked in using either of those methods. Yet if it were available, 57% of those surveyed indicated they would check in online or via mobile.

"Travelers have come to expect mobile convenience throughout their journey, and many hotels are beginning to offer the ability to book a reservation and check in on-the-go," said Tyler Craig, vice president and general manager, NCR Travel. "But what is the point of providing this capability if guests are forced to queue for their keys upon arrival? NCR Express Key completes the advanced check-in experience by giving guests control over the entire process and eliminating the wait."

Results from the ORC survey found that 25% of respondents have waited 30 minutes or longer to check in. Compounding that frustration, more than half (53%) said they had been issued a key that didn"t work and had to trek all the way back to the front desk to get a new one.

NCR Express Key enables hotel operators to provide better service for all guests by freeing up staff time and reducing queues for those who prefer personal service, and eliminating any need to stop at the front desk for those who do not. Currently in pilot with a leading hotel chain, the solution is now available in North America and will be launched in Europe later this year.

About the research

This online survey of 1,013 U.S. consumers was conducted in January of 2012 by ORC International, a leading global market research firm.

Mark Scott