February 12, 2008

Kiosks In Field - Blogger Sheraton troubles

It's a sad fact that a certain percentage of self-service devices just don't work for whatever reason. The good news is that the ratio of works to doesn't work has increased to well over 80%. The check-in kiosks for hotels at least by IBM seem to be snakebit for lack of better phrase. They are beginning to remind us of Kodak claim of 120,000 kiosks in locations (of which it seems maybe 20,000 don't have a black screen). Maybe grabbing the real-estate and client is more important in the long run but it still irks us to see.

PC World's Techlog Hotel Check-In Kiosks: Broken!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 4:59 AM PT Posted by Harry McCracken
Hotel Check-In Kiosks: Broken!

I apologize in advance if you find this boring, but as someone who spends a lot of time on the road, I'm both frustrated and fascinated by the fact that automated hotel check-in kiosks--presumably designed to make it easier to get a room--rarely give me anything but heartache. (I blogged about problems with one in New York here, and woes in Las Vegas here.)

Last night, I arrived in New York and took a cab to the Sheraton Manhattan, where I arrived at 11pm. There are two kiosks in the lobby. One had a blank screen; the other had a welcoming message.

"This probably isn't going to work," I thought to myself.

I touched the screen on the one that appeared to be working. It flashed, and gave me an apology and a request that I talk to a real person.

Here, incidentally, is a New York Times story from almost three years ago about glitches with hotel kiosks, including the ones at the Sheraton New York that have personally bedeviled me. As far as I can tell, the situation has gotten no better since the Times published its story.

Which leaves me wondering three things:

1) Just how hard is it to build a check-in kiosk that can actually check me in?

2) Why do Sheraton and other hoteliers continue to waste their patrons' time with kiosks that misbehave. (That's assuming that my run of bad luck is at least kind of typical.)

3) Just how long is it going to take until they get these things right--or give up?

Posted by staff at February 12, 2008 07:47 AM