You can find yourself without a room, even after receiving an online check-in confirmation. Here’s how to deal with the situation.
Hey, gang, Gunnar’s VEGAS JUSTICE column has been in a holding pattern for a while. Your investigative pal hasn’t gone anywhere, y’all just haven’t sent me any conspiracies or scandals to tear into. But this week I found myself in a situation you need to hear about. So I’m gonna do that for you.
We all know that companies are pushing that self-service stuff to eliminate staffing costs, right? Walmart‘s done it, and so have airlines, grocery stores, and banks. But when it comes to the “hospitality industry”, we crave a personal touch. That’s why you’ll often see those self-check-in machines (above) unused, with arriving guests choosing to wait in line for an agent. Nothing beats face-to-face interaction when reaching your hotel. And how else ya gonna score an upgrade if you can’t flatter the staffer?
CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT, which operates Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Flamingo, The Linq, Cromwell, Horseshoe, and Paris Hotels, doesn’t give a darn about your desire for interaction. Not long ago, I arrived for a stay at Harrah’s. An agent was directing everyone to self-service machines. When I told her that I preferred to see a live clerk (neither of which had any customers) she said they were only for those of certain CAESARS REWARDS status. How’s that for hospitality?
Your buddy Gunnar’s day job is delivering packages to homes and businesses. It’s nice to share a smile and ask “How is your day going?”. But these big companies are stripping the human element away from service. Heck, they’re even making self-serve McDonald’s restaurants now! It won’t be long before you have no choice.
After the Harrah’s schooling, I decided to get more proactive in using electronic methods. Booking directly through the CAESARS website allows you to choose your style of room, number and size of beds, arrival time, and more. You can also manage your existing reservations while on the go. Most importantly, you’ll be notified on the day of your arrival that you can remotely check in to the hotel. This is where I discovered a nasty NASTY flaw in the system.
The process is simple to navigate and follow. You receive an email the morning of your stay and answer some questions, including the estimated arrival time. You’re given an opportunity to upgrade your room (for a fee), accept the terms and conditions, then receive a confirmation email with a QR code.
When you reach the hotel, scan the QR code and your ID into any Express Check-In kiosk, it spits out your keys and you’re on your way. Some properties have kiosks scattered throughout the casino. No lines, no hassle. So far, so good. But the last few times I got this response:
It’s very shocking to receive this message deep into the evening, especially if you’ve traveled a long way and are tired. Are housekeepers still cleaning rooms? Of course not…they’re long gone. Fortunately, the kiosk attendant was able to hop behind the counter each time, type some things into their PC, and print my keys. It wasn’t until this week that I found out why this keeps happening.
I arrived at RIO All-Suite Hotel Casino just after 7 pm, QR code in hand. Once again, the dreaded “We Are Still Preparing Your Room” screen appeared. Since I had tickets to an 8 pm show inside the hotel, I selected “Email Me When My Room Is Ready” and dropped my bags back in the car.
After the show, I grabbed a bite near the reservation desk. It was now 9:40 pm and no email had come through. So I returned to the express kiosk and got the same friggin’ message. You better believe Gunnar was pissed. The thing was, this time the kiosk bank had no attendant and the line snaked down and back again.
I decided to consult IVY, a “24-hour virtual concierge service” that CAESARS offers. Once again, the electronic option was no help at all:
As you can imagine, I was frustrated, angry, and befuddled. What’s the point of electronically confirming a 7 pm arrival early that morning and still having to wait for a room less than two and a half hours before midnight? Now I’d be standing in a long line after all of those steps to avoid it.
It was well past 10 pm before I got to the counter, listening to other frustrated guests along the way. After demanding to know how my room could STILL not be ready this late, the agent’s response was “You requested a king bed. We’re out of king rooms. The kiosk is waiting for more to become available.” She stated it so matter-of-factly as if to suggest that it should have been obvious.
“I don’t care about the size of the bed. I want a room!” was my response, “I’m tired, have to be up at 6 am, and at this point can’t even get eight hours of sleep. How is this my fault?”
“The system can’t change the selection you made” she continued. “If there are no king beds, it will wait for more to come online. Only one of us can override the system and assign you a different bed type.”
When pressured, the agent admitted that housekeeping is not servicing rooms at that hour. So, no rooms were ever going to “become available” and I was never going to get that email. Despite every step I’d taken, the very system designed to eliminate human interaction had forced me to wait for a human being after all.
Since the kiosk check-in process already offers a profit-driven opportunity to upgrade your room choice, there’s absolutely no reason it can’t state “Your room type is no longer available, please select from these alternatives” and get you on your way.
But as CAESARS and new owners Eldorado Resorts have demonstrated with their ever-escalating fees, heinous upkeep of facilities, and an overall degradation in service, they really don’t care about your satisfaction or comfort. If they did, this lingering glitch in the system would have been corrected a long time ago.
So if you receive that dreaded message, head straight for the line, no matter how long. Otherwise, you’ll be, as they say in my neck of the woods, S.O.L. Gunner out.
“Gunnar McDixie” is the alias of an actual Las Vegas resident. – VEGAS 411
Do you know any talent agencies or producers who take advantage of entertainers? Any horror stories to share about backstage antics or workplace violations? Have you been treated unfairly or ripped off when doing an honest day’s work? Gunnar McDixie wants to know and will keep your identity confidential. Email me at email@example.com.
The Caesar’s check in system is the absolute worst. The whole “no lines” marketing is complete BS because check in is 4pm, so guess what.. 4pm is a huge line.
Here’s how you get to a real person. You tell the person directing people to kiosks that you need to change the form of payment. The kiosks ONLY accept the credit card you booked with. I used a virtual debit card number to make my reservation so have to complete the transaction with a physical card. That requires a human.