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Madison, Indiana, home to state’s first ‘contactless’ hotel

The Chandler Hotel on 2nd Street in downtown Madison, Indiana. Owners of The Chandler say it's Indiana's first "fully contactless" hotel, meaning everything is done digitally and there are no staff members on site. (Provided Photo/The Chandler Hotel)

MADISON, Ind. (WISH) — An Indiana community that celebrates the past is now home to a hotel that may represent the future. Madison, along the Ohio River, has a fully “contactless” hotel.

Guests check in through their phones rather than a front desk. Then, throughout their stay, they use apps and in-room technology for any needs that arise. The net effect is an experience entirely free of contact with anyone else, if the guest wishes.

“Travelers are looking for a convenient and efficient experience with as little human friction as possible,” Matt Chandler, owner and operator of The Chandler Hotel, said in a comment provided to News 8.

The hotel opened early last year on Second Street in Madison’s historic downtown. Chandler says it’s the first of its kind in the state and was designed specifically with a high-tech experience in mind.

“We knew that Millennials and Gen Z, in particular, prefer the simplicity of touchless check-ins and digital room access,” Chandler said. “It also eliminates the need to fully staff the hotel and those cost savings go right back into the customer experience.”

The claim of “first” contactless hotel is ripe for some degree of debate.

Major chains from Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, and more also offer automated check-in processes, relying on unmanned kiosks and technology that allows phones to act as keys. Unlike The Chandler, though, those properties largely still have manned front desks, too, for guests who prefer more traditional processes.

Room rates at The Chandler vary, starting in the low $100s and climbing to more than $200, depending on the date.

The operators of The Chandler acknowledge that the hotel’s procedures are similar to the processes used by short-term rental Airbnb or Vrbo, but they do point out one key difference: guests can summon a real-life staff member with the touch of a screen.

Interested in a night or two at The Chandler? Click here to find out more.