Contactless check-in has been implemented in many hotels due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as it allows hotels to adhere to all health and safety guidelines. However, this type of check-in has been around for years.
In fact, in a 2015 study by Software Advice, 60% of hotel guests said they’d rather book into a hotel that offers mobile check-in. However, the need has become much more pressing today as it’s now mandatory to limit the amount of contact guests have with staff.
And even though the COVID-19 pandemic will end one day, contactless check-in is here to stay. It’s a solution all hotels need to implement permanently and there are many reasons for that.
Our team at Canary Technologies has seen the direct impact contactless check-in has had on hundreds of hotels around the world. We’ve compiled our case studies and are excited to share the 5 powerful benefits of contactless check-in.
Improves guest satisfaction
When human interaction is limited, guests require a more personalized and engaging service – especially if they’re required to interact through a device.
Mobile check-in allows guests to stay in touch with hotel staff even if they don’t see them in person.
Setting guests up ahead of time and allowing them to check-in before they arrive onsite kicks things off on the right foot. The guest feels special and connected to the hotel without having stepped foot through the doors, while the hotel can learn more about the guest and offer them promotions in the future.
Moving forward, this might look like a hotel asking for information about the activities a guest is interested in and serving them recommendations based on those, which will allow the guest to create an individual itinerary catered to their specific needs.
This information can also give hotels an insight into the kinds of guests that stay with them. Collecting such data over a period of time provides key insights into the interests of target guests and the kind of information they like to get from a hotel. Hotels can then use this information to improve their service and create an experience that future guests will love.
Creating an enjoyable guest experience also opens hotels up to more reviews on TripAdvisor and other review sites. More positive reviews increases traveler confidence in a hotel and means they’re more likely to book a stay there in the future.
Allows check-in from everywhere
Mobile check-in allows guests to check-in from anywhere before they set foot in a hotel just by using their mobile phone. No matter if they haven’t left their home or they’re already close to their destination, they can check-in and start communicating with their hotel.
This isn’t only beneficial for guests but for hotel staff as well. They can collect information about their guests ahead of time and start providing a great experience as soon as the check-in process is complete.
This immediately builds a solid relationship between guest and hotel that’s particularly important today when human contact has to be limited.
Finding other ways to communicate with guests is key, especially for services that require lots of interaction.
Once a guest has checked-in via their mobile – whether it’s while they’re on the plane before they leave their home, or while on the road – the hotel can instantly start nurturing that relationship. So, by the time the guest arrives, they already feel special and catered for.
Increases staff efficiency
A good hotel runs like a well-oiled machine where each staff member can keep up with all of their activities without being overwhelmed. Unfortunately, many hotels that still practice traditional check-in have a problem with efficiency because their reception staff usually can’t keep up with the workflow. Guests want the check-in process to be as smooth as possible so they can get on with their trip.
In fact, in research by Forrester, guests wholeheartedly prefer mobile self-service technology and actually expect hotels to implement smarter and more efficient operations. This is one of the most pressing needs of guests right now, and hotels that are able to integrate tech like mobile check-in are swiftly gaining a competitive edge.
Think about the traditional check-in process:
When a guest arrives at a hotel, they have to queue up in the lobby to check-in. This would involve filling out documents and forms, verifying their ID, and presenting their credit card for any additional fees to be taken.
Reception staff would spend a significant amount of time checking in each and every guest, taking up precious time that could be spent improving the guest experience in other ways.
Virtual check-in makes it easier on both sides.
Now, instead of queuing in the lobby and waiting their turn, guests can essentially jump the queue by checking in via a link on their phone before they even arrive. Once they turn up, they simply have to collect their room key.
And, with time freed up not having to check-in every guest as and when they arrive, hotel staff can focus on the hospitality rather than the administrative components of check-in.
Canary Technologies’ mobile check-in solution lets hotels send check-in links ahead of time to ensure guests don’t have to queue. After the guest clicks the link, they are asked to enter their name and address, scan their ID, and add their payment information.
This also reduces the amount of time guests have to gather together in communal spaces and limits the number of potentially risky in-person interactions.
Drives more revenue
Access to an extensive and authentic data bank is the primary benefit. Mobile check-in tools capture customer contact data which help hotels grow their email lists. This data bank can be used for promotional activities and exclusive offers that induce guests to return while also keeping your hotel alive in their minds.
Regular updates help build brand loyalty by making guests feel like a part of your community, which in turn drives return customers and increased revenues.
Mobile check-ins are an excellent way to connect with guests through personalized services like informing them about a newly built spa or directing them to an amenity store or a private dining room, something they might not have known about otherwise.
Amenity store, a feature by Canary Technologies, allows guests to browse through hotel services and book an activity or purchase additional services on their account like special meals, a massage etc, immediately on checking-in or during the course of their stay. This helps them customize their stay according to their needs, increases satisfaction and builds loyalty while also increasing revenue for the hotel.
It’s safe and secure
Once a guest checks in, they entrust a lot of personal data to the hotel such as their full name and credit card number. If this type of data isn’t secure, a hacker can easily steal it and use it in a way that will hurt the hotel and its guests.
Naturally, people are worried about how hotels handle their sensitive data and if they feel like the hotel doesn’t have good security measures in place to protect it, they won’t stay there.
With contactless check-ins, guests won’t need to worry about if their data is secure because these types of check-ins use advanced technology to provide safe registration. Guests will only need to include minimal and necessary information, which gives them peace of mind.
Tips for implementing contactless check-in
If your hotel doesn’t already use contactless check-in, it’s time to implement it right away. To make the transition from regular to contactless check-in as smooth as possible, you need to start communicating with your guests about it before they even arrive at your hotel.
This way, they will be comfortable with the experience and have all the necessary information before they arrive on-site.
Implementing contactless check-in can be done in a few simple steps:
- Send links on time. It’s important to give your guest enough time to complete the check-in process before they arrive at your hotel. You need to send check-in links on time, which is at least 12 hours before their expected arrival.
- Gather all important information. Due to the ongoing pandemic, you need to assure your guests they will be completely safe when they visit your hotel. Send information regarding your COVID-related safety measures along with the check-in link, such as your cleaning schedules and designated sanitation points.
- Put up signs. Even though you will send all necessary information with the check-in link, it’s good to create additional signage that will explain contactless check-in to guests. These signs should explain how the check-in process works and explains where the check-in points are located in your hotel.
When you’re running a hotel, you need to think about guest satisfaction more than anything else. As both guests and staff spend a lot of time during check-in, it’s only natural to implement features that can effectively eliminate this problem.
Contactless check-in isn’t a new feature in the hotel industry, but it still isn’t used by a majority of hotels that have the means to implement it. If you want to improve guest satisfaction while also increasing your revenue and improving staff efficiency, contactless check-in is something you should definitely consider.
Jose Angelo Gallegos is an award-winning thought leader in the digital marketing and travel industries.
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