Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. --
An Automated Lodging Reservation System mobile app is available to all Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
The ALRS app is available on both IOS and Android mobile devices, via App Store and Google Play respectively, where members from the 514th AMW can reserve lodging for the Unit Training Assembly weekend.
“The whole point of all of this is to make it easier for the members,” said Chief Master Sgt. John Reyes, 514 Force Support Squadron Air Reserve Technician superintendent here.
While the app does not require or ask for any personally identifiable information, members will need to provide their lodging monitors with their unit, rank, name, cell phone number, and zip code to access the app. Members can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with this information directly.
Upon giving this information to the lodging monitor or sending the information via email, members will receive text notifications, including an assigned member ID and a pin number which they can use to sign-in to the app, as well as reservation reminders and important disclosures.
Through the app, members are able to reserve lodging from their phone, ahead of time, for the entire fiscal year.
The hotels, however, may not reflect the reservation before the Wednesday the Wednesday of the UTA weekend.
“It’s best to wait to check your reservations with the hotel until the Wednesday before check-in,” said Reyes.
Furthermore, complications can arise if members fail to keep their reservations.
When a reservation is made but not kept without the member canceling, it is considered a no-show.
“No-shows are bad because we pay for the hotel and that’s money the government loses and tax-payer dollars thrown out the window because the member didn’t show up,” said Reyes.
In order to avoid a no-show, members should email email@example.com at least a week before check-in to cancel the reservation.
If members need to cancel within a week of the reservation they should call the hotel to cancel, obtain a cancelation number and email firstname.lastname@example.org to inform the lodging office of the cancelation and the cancelation number.
A member can also find themselves becoming a walk-in. A member is considered a walk-in when they make a reservation with the All American Inn the Friday and/or Saturday of the UTA without having set up a prior reservation.
“Walk-ins are bad because we have to find the member a room,” said Reyes. “The hotels only allocate a certain number of rooms for us and it becomes very difficult to get more rooms for walk-ins.”
To avoid becoming a walk-in, members should make reservations for lodging no later than 12 p.m. eastern time eight days prior to the reservation for the UTA weekend.
For instance, if the member wants to make a reservation for Friday through Sunday of the UTA, the member will have until noon on Thursday the week prior to make the reservation.
The loss of privileges means the member will have to obtain and pay for their own lodging while attending UTAs for the year. The year without privileges would begin immediately after the third lapse.
“If a member gets any combination of three no-shows or walk-ins, they lose their lodging privileges for a year,” said Reyes. “We’re trying to make sure no one gets to that point.”
In the last year, the app has grown in popularity and is being used by more of the Freedom Wing’s Reserve Citizen Airmen.
“The app is for the 514th AMW and we have 1200 lodging users, 712 of whom currently have access to the app,” said Reyes.
Among the 1200 reservists who attend the UTA weekend, many have circumstances, such as a lack of transportation, which require close-proximity lodging.
The requirement for close-proximity lodging can be checked off in the app and will be reviewed by the lodging office.
In the past, members have had to call the legacy ALRS via telephone and listen to an automated list of options.
“The legacy system will be around for a while longer because there are people that do not have smart phones,” said Reyes. “The purpose of the app is to make the process easier and more efficient.
If preferred, members can still reach the legacy ALRS at (609) 754-8150 to reserve lodging.
Members are encouraged to ask any questions and provide feedback via emailing email@example.com.
“It’s by no means a perfect app, but it can only get better if we get feedback from the members,” said Reyes. “We want to fix any problems and make the process easier for them.”
Members can also reach the lodging office at (609) 754-0556 with questions.