According to this recent article in USA Today, it looks like some hotel chains are replacing the standard front desk with something more service friendly...pods. While it's definitely a step in the right direction, I think there's still room to remove them altogether, especially with the technology now available. I admit, that's a bit challenging in larger properties. But, in the end, it's what people want...to shake your hand, look you in the eye and be welcomed.
Bravo to those companies referenced in the article who are embracing this trend.