The days of waiting in line in the hotel lobby are numbered. As technology continues to transform the hotel industry, travelers are ditching the desk in lieu of a wealth of more choices. While the front desk still provides a personalized touchpoint for high-quality guest service, a proliferation of new ways to check in are providing service for guests who are looking for speed, convenience and self-service over a traditional experience. As guest preferences evolve, hoteliers must expand their check-in capabilities to remain competitive and keep their guests happy in the new norm – or risk getting left behind in our digital age.
A Personal Touch for the Tech-Savvy Traveler
When is the last time you saw someone use a paper map? Along with many traditional traveling necessities, smartphones have quickly rendered paper maps obsolete. With our heads down and phones glued to our hands on a daily-basis, it should come to no surprise that in today’s day and age mobile devices are a travelers’ best friend and number-one travel accessory. The great news for the modern-day hotelier is that they can tap into this trend with remote check-in options. Whether web-based or through a dedicated mobile app, allowing guests to check in with their own devices can be a game-changer for the hospitality business.
More tech-savvy guests can use these services to browse and book their room of choice, and check-in at the airport, in the car or wherever they feel most comfortable. This gives them both the convenience, flexibility and the technological touchpoint guests crave, but also reduces lines and foot traffic at the front desk. This allows staff to focus on other tasks that offer the personal touch and interaction that support a truly superior guest service. Hotels such as Marriott are already taking advantage of this feature.
Put Mobile “Magic” to the Test for the Scurrying Guest
A study at Cornell found that after waiting just five minutes at the front desk to check in, U.S. hotel guest satisfaction levels drop by a whopping 50 percent. While traveling can be a stressful experience in itself, waiting in a line can push a strained and rushed traveler over the edge. For guests who value speed and convenience, mobile Property Management System (PMS) can be just the solution they need. Hotel staff can use mobile PMS solution to line-bust by checking in guests and setting up their room keys before they even reach the lobby.
This not only speeds up the process but ensures that guests feel their time is valued. Whether staff are meeting them to check-in outside the hotel or in the lobby, guests can rest assured that they’ll get to their room quickly and with much less friction. This interaction also creates opportunities for the hotel staff to upsell on additional services such as booking a dinner reservation, spa appointment or even reserving a tee time at the golf course.
Kiosks for the Autonomous Traveler
Kiosks have become a staple for airport check-ins and have expanded to become a fixture in hotels as well. Kiosks allow guests to check in, review and make edits to their reservation, and even program their RFID room keys. They’ve become a preferred method of check-in for many, with a recent Travel Leaders Group study finding that 78 percent of consumers would like to see self-serve kiosks more widely available for this purpose.
Not only do kiosks help satisfy more independent guests during check in, they can also help hotels to upsell things like room upgrades and other services in a non-intrusive way.
The check-in experience sets the tone for a guest’s stay, particularly after a long day of travel fiascos and headaches. It is critical for the hospitality business to provide the best experience possible, not only to win the trust of their guests, but also to build loyalty. This does not mean taking away classic features of a hotel, such as the front desk, but adding innovative and more unique options to choose from.