Would you Check-in with a Smartphone?

The French hotel company Accor has announced it is rolling out a new smartphone “solution” that will enable travellers to check in and provide credit card details before they arrive, pause merely to collect a keycard, and then check out without queuing to pay the bill. The chain – which owns the Sofitel, Novotel and Ibis brands among others – says the new system will be up and running at 1,000 of its 3,000-plus hotels by the end of this year, giving hotel staff more time to meet and greet their guests.

Frankly, I’m not convinced. Regulars on the London Underground will be familiar with the Oyster Card system, which enables passengers to stump up for their fares in advance, obviating the need to queue for tickets. According to Accor’s theory, that should give London Underground staff more time to meet and greet their travellers. I for one have yet to experience that pleasure!

Travel website momondo.co.uk has published the results of a survey to show that British travellers, by and large, opt for either three- or four-star hotels. While 35 per cent of us go for three stars and 33 per cent go one star better, only eight per cent of UK residents, the pollsters say, opt to stay in five-star establishments.

The statistics come as no surprise. What is rather more perplexing, however, is that momondo should have spent time and money “researching” something that most of us knew already – we have a tendency to opt for mid-market accommodation.

Another survey, by “hotel solutions provider” HRS, suggests that Budapest is the place to go for cheap accommodation; the average price for a room in the Hungarian capital is a mere €66, or something over £54.

Budapest is an unquestionably lovely city, but if you choose to go there because the rooms are cheap, I suspect you’re missing the point.