hospitalityPulse Poll: 23% of Travelers Using Mobile Check-In “Never” Found Their Room Ready at Time of Arrival

hospitalityPulse said results from its “2016 Check-In Experience Survey” are raising flags about pre-assigning rooms, assigning them quickly and on-the-fly at arrival, and even getting guests into the room type they booked when making their reservations. The current influx of mobile check-in solutions further fuels the need for an automated solution for assigning the most optimal room for every guest – every time – with consistent efficiency.
Room assignments might not match consumer expectations due to several factors, including overbooking situations, housekeeping status or competing last minute guest requests. Nonetheless, guests are often unsatisfied with the rooms they are receiving – especially if they are a frequent customer or loyalty club member with a specific profile and known preferences. When guests don’t get the rooms they thought they booked, or that they expected, guest satisfaction decreases, reducing repeat business and denting ancillary revenues. From a hotel’s point of view, sub-optimal room assignment leads to significant financial impacts due to unnecessary upgrades and downgrades.
Data from the “2016 Check-In Experience Survey” reveals:
  • Only 5% of respondents said they are actually assigned the room they thought they booked, with 95% of respondents only getting the room they thought they booked “sometimes.”
  • Nearly 20% of respondents said they never receive their status-based complimentary upgrade from brands to which they are loyal.
  • “Sometimes” was the majority response of loyalty guests when asked if they feel they get a better room assigned as a loyalty club member than a non-member.
  • 66% said they “always” or often have to wait for their room to be ready, even if they arrived past standard check in time.
  • 23% of those travelers using a mobile check in solution said they “never” found the room they checked into being actually free and ready at time of arrival. And 54% said the room they had checked into was “sometimes” ready.

These findings seem to indicate that mobile check-in options are not solving the problems they were designed to solve. Travelers expect that room feature requests explicitly submitted before arrival should be fulfilled by the hotel. Ninety-six percent of respondents expect that hotel room preferences they specify as part of a brand's loyalty program, or that they specified during the booking process, are honored when their room is assigned for an upcoming stay. It seems that all of the data collected and stored in CRM and loyalty systems is not being used well when it matters most.
According to the 2016 Customer Engagement Technology Study, 58% of travelers said “belonging to a hotel’s loyalty program influenced their decision to select a hotel,” and 56% said the “ability to make reservations from a mobile device” was a key factor in choosing where to stay. hospitalityPulse’s “Check-In Experience Survey” reveals that hotels aren’t doing enough to reassure guests that these positive engagement factors are not only valued, but also fully supported.
Identifying the Problem, Implementing a Solution
To be competitive, today’s hotels need a mobile strategy that includes mobile check-in, but there seems to be a piece still missing. The problem to be solved is less about the ability to show guests a room number at the time of advanced mobile check-in, but rather about the automation of the underlying assignments, based on guest and reservation value, optimal feature fulfillment, and expected time of arrival. The findings of the ‘Check-in Experience Survey’ illustrate that guests having checked in early, often still have to wait for a room once they arrive at the hotel because it is incredibly difficult to correctly anticipate and match up arrival times with cleaning schedules and departure predictions.
Additionally, when there aren’t enough rooms available for pending check-ins, or when available rooms aren’t matching with what is needed for arriving or expected guests, the competition for rooms among front desk agents can become heated, hospitalityPulse said. Guests that arrived early, or checked in through mobile or web, may find themselves at a disadvantage with regards to feature fulfillment. All too often, rooms are then rushed, leading to additional inefficiencies, and tensions between housekeeping and the front desk.
To avoid early check-in and mobile check-in issues, it is necessary to make the process for early or mobile check in as seamless and integral as possible to room assignment overall. Using mathematical modeling and a multi-dimensional inventory engine such as roomPulse from hospitalityPulse, hoteliers can now automate all room assignments, streamline their check in process, and dynamically optimize each assignment in real time.
About the Survey
From August 15 to September 15 hospitalityPulse posted a nine-question survey on its website, promoted via the news and through targeted marketing. Four hundred sixty eight hoteliers and travelers visited the survey site, with 285 participants, or 61% completing the survey. 

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