Many chain hotels now offer online check-in in advance of a stay. How does this work (I still need a key / keycard so I still have to queue when I arrive, surely) and what would be the advantages (to me rather than the hotel)? Would I be more likely to be upgraded if I arrive late without having already checked in if the hotel is busy?
1Some hotels use key codes for the rooms, rather than keys or cards. In those you would not need to queue.– Willeke ♦Sep 7, 2022 at 19:09
1I never used the online check-in before, so I cannot tell what information they ask for, but when we last stayed at a hotel with a family, my brother (who had chosen not to share his billing address when booking) had to fill out some paperwork upon arrival, whereas the rest (that had provided an address during booking) did not. Maybe online check-in does the same job?– SabineSep 7, 2022 at 19:31
Sarcastic comment - It enables the hotel to immediately bill you (if you haven't already pre-paid)– Peter MSep 7, 2022 at 19:51
@PeterM if you haven’t prepaid you are usually charged at check-out time, not check-in.– jcaronSep 7, 2022 at 20:28
In my experience: makes no difference whatsoever– HilmarSep 7, 2022 at 20:45
I still need a key / keycard so I still have to queue when I arrive, surely
Surely? Many large hotel chains (e.g.: Marriott, Hilton) offer digital keys that can be loaded on your phone and you don't in fact need to queue. If that's available for the hotel in question then you can in fact check in remotely and just walk straight to your room.
Would I be more likely to be upgraded if I arrive late without having already checked in if the hotel is busy
I doubt it. But all other things equal rooms are assigned on first come first served basis, so with online remote check-in you have a chance to choose a room that is more preferable to you.