The front desk was once the epicenter of the hotel, where guests did so much more than check in and check out. It was the place where they received answers to their questions, called in for a pillow or a hairdryer or a ride, ordered things up and got things sent down, and even made their next reservation. For requests that didn’t “belong” there, like housekeeping or a reservation at the restaurant, the guest’s only choice was to use the front desk as home base. The past several years have seen important efforts to decentralize the hotel experience, from equipping staff with tablets to allow them more mobility to giving guests mobile apps to communicate more directly with the service departments. As a result, the role of the front desk has become more singularly focused on processing guests in and out of the hotel. Get the full story at The Next Big Thing