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Instead of a courteous human, guests checking into some hotels across the country are now being greeted by touch-screen computers or rows of keypads.
The lodging industry has decided to take a second look at self-service check-in systems, an idea that's generated much talk and little action over the years. Now, robo-concierges are starting to see more use. A half-dozen hotel chains are currently experimenting with the concept. Several have even made self-service check-in a standard part of their operations.
"We played with these things 10 years ago," says Jules Sieburgh, vice president of hotel systems with the London-based Intercontinental Hotels and chairman of the American Hotel and Motel Associations technology committee. The early systems got a lukewarm response from hotel operators, he says, because prototypes were clunky to use and expensive to boot. Today, many hotel …