We asked a few of our clients, what’s that one thing that puts your guests off the most when they come to stay at your hotel, and the majority of them had the same answer: “the wait before the check-in and the interaction with the front desk, especially when they are exhausted from being in the air or on the road for too long, and are in dire need of getting to the room, heading for a quick shower and getting fresh.”
Whether to interact or not with the front desk should be a choice, right?
The traditional operating procedure of going to the front desk for check-in and check-out now seems a little worn out as it poses a lot of inconveniences like long queues, extended waiting periods, bureaucratization, and of course, a pretty slow level of functioning for the hotel staff.
Let’s make this clear: There’s a need to introduce online check-in at hotels!
But, can you give your guests options to conveniently check-in online?
The answer is yes!
With the current digital technology in place, it is possible to achieve this.
…..But before that, let us touch base on what exactly is the traditional hotel check-in for a better comparison between the two.
The traditional check-in method involves:
• The guest checking into a hotel and heading to the front desk.
• The guest getting himself/herself registered by submitting the identity documents, fills up the registration form, makes the payment, gets his/her reservation information reviewed, etc.
• The front desk introducing the guest to the hotel and giving out the useful information (breakfast timings, amenities, WiFi password, house rules, etc.)
• Finally, the guest receiving the keys.
• The guest is escorted by the hotel staff to the room (optional).
While there’s nothing wrong with the process, it’s a bit more time-consuming for both the guests and the staff. Usually, the guests arrive between 12 pm-2 pm, even though the actual hotel check-in timing may vary and this results in long queues as most of the guests arrive at the same time.
Often the flight's landing time and logistics may not comply with the standard check-in time. In other words, it becomes quite stressful for both the guests and staff which takes away from the simplicity aspect which the former demands the most at every touchpoint during their stay, especially the check-in.
Keeping all these inconveniences in view, online check-in for hotels, or a seamless hotel online check-in system serves as a means to simplify the process of guest arrival. At the same time, it improves and increases the staff productivity level with the result being an enhanced guest experience!
1) Reduces the lobby queuing: Helps prevent the reception and lobby area from getting crowded during peak check-in and check-out times.
2) Puts the guests at ease: The convenience of an easy check-in at hotel is, undoubtedly, a boon for the hotel guests and helps improve the customer relationship and overall experience.
3) Reduces the staff workload and helps prioritize: Cuts down on the extra effort that the staff has to make and even with the reduced staff strength, it can be carried on effortlessly which, in turn, allows the staff to focus on providing a better service differently. For example, while the exhausted-from-the-trip parents finish the check-in process at a hotel kiosk, staff can help distract and entertain their kids. Again, it is a great way of cutting labor costs.
4) Showcases your website: It’s a great way of acquainting your guests with your overall hotel website. For instance, if a guest comes to your website to inquire about self-check-in/check-out procedures, they are likely to notice several other things that are listed on your website like the gallery, amenities offered, things to do, etc.
5) Comes with multilingual support: The language barriers that might come with a traditional check-in are generally erased with the multilingual support from the hotel online check-in system for the convenience of modern-day travelers.
6) No time-limits or restrictions: Travel plans and logistics are bound to vary from one guest to another. Again, most of the properties have a fixed deadline when it comes to check-in and the front desk might not be available at certain times of the day, such as overnight.
This is not practical for the visitors checking into a hotel since there is no guarantee that the flight timings would always be aligning with the check-in/out times.
7)Provides an opportunity to upsell: With remote check-in, you have the opportunity to generate extra revenue. Online check-in capability can boost your marketing and loyalty efforts, allowing the guests a choice to upgrade their stay by opting for more amenities.
Some hotels make their loyalty program more attractive by listing remote check-in as a reward for signing up, allowing the travelers to enjoy a special privilege that others are not getting.
90% of millennials said they would be interested in checking-in in a hotel through their mobile phones and skip slow service and long check-in queues in hotel lobbies.
Now that we are aware of the concept of the all-in-one online hotel system for check-in, let us discuss how it could be implemented effectively:
Going to the front desk for checking in is cumbersome and there are ways in which guests can bypass the front desk partially, if not entirely. One way of doing this is through the express check-in. Tell Me More
Express check-in is a form of electronic check-in which is quick (as the name goes) and usually involves completing the process with a few taps on the hotel online check-in app through a smart device, as a result of which guests are notified instantly about their room ready status.
For upgrades and special offers, some properties roll out a hotel online check-in form which requires the guests to put in relevant information and is usually a very quick process. Once this is done, guests can go to the front desk and collect their room keys from the receptionist without waiting. In other words, you don’t have to wait at the front desk for any sort of paperwork.
Some hotels are even going to the extent of revoking or delivering digital keys where-in one does not even have to go to the front desk to receive the keys. Right at the arrival, a guest can bypass the front desk entirely and gain access to the elevator and room through mobile keys. In other words, personal devices function as secure room keys to facilitate the digital guest check-in.
You can check out the short video below explaining the concept of "Express Check-in" in the simplest way possible:
Let us discuss more on this in the various methods/ways of allowing an express check-in at a hotel:
One of the common trends with big hotels like Marriott with heavy reliance on Bluetooth technology is to facilitate mobile self-check-in. That being said, mobile check-in at hotels has become pretty popular.
Not just this, some of the special benefits are also rolled out to the members of their loyalty programs like free of charge and complete personalization of check-in time with the help of this hotel online check-in system.
What is hotel mobile check-in?
Besides just acting as your digital key for unlocking the door, your mobile can also serve the purpose of a digital concierge providing all the necessary information which would otherwise have been passed on through a front desk staff by word-of-mouth (breakfast timings, Wi-Fi password, pool, gym & spa facilities, nearby sightseeing recommendation, things to do, etc.)
Thus, mobile check-in streamlines your check-in process, reduces the front desk friction, and frees up the staff to concentrate on the next significant levels of service.
In this connection, Guest Messaging is one of the effective solutions used by the hotels right from check-in to check-out, facilitating even the mid-stay recovery, along with the option of presenting a robust food menu from which the guests can order their meals and find it delivered right to their rooms.
Here is a real, quick video giving a demo of the mobile check-in process in brief:
Promoting exclusivity and minimal contact is the QR code check-in for hotels, the implementation of which has helped ease the daily hotel operations to a great extent. To facilitate express check-in, some hotels present QR codes to the guests on a printed page upon reservation which are to be printed by the latter right before the check-in.
How does this work?
• Scanning a QR code on the reservation page before check-in redirects the guests to the hotel’s check-in webpage which can be accessed directly from the phone. In ideal situations, usually, the link that redirects one to the check-in interface through a QR code contains a form with pre-filled information about the guests to be approved by the latter with a tap or two.
• On the webpage, the process is crisp and short with only a few basic questions to be answered to finish the express check-in process successfully.
Remember the kiosks at the airport? Yes, chances are that the property booked by you might have a similar facility for easy online check-in. Hotels can place these in the lobby to help their guests skip the traditional procedure. This is more on the self-check-in side, however, if you’re new to this concept, there is always personnel to help you out.
How does a hotel self-check-in kiosk work?
Marriott properties have installed kiosks that run using facial recognition. Whereas a traditional check-in process takes around 3 minutes to be completed with most of the time being wasted in queues, a kiosk can help complete the entire process in just one minute or maybe, less than that, making it one of the most effective components of the hotel online check-in system.
Guests are required to scan their identity documents, provide the relevant personal information, and take a picture. Once their reservation is validated by the hotel, the key card is printed out by the kiosk.
Need a demo? The video below explains just that within a few seconds:
Implementing the online check-in only isn’t enough. You need to make your guests aware of the same. This works best at the initial stage, let’s say, the pre-booking stage. Guests sometimes tend to get confused about the SOPs concerning the check-in and check-out, especially when there is not enough clarity about that from the hotel’s end. If the guests do not have the exact identity documents in hand, this can sometimes hinder the whole operation from going smoothly.
Hence providing guests proper information on this at the very outset helps tackle the problem to a great extent. Again, it is a good way of introducing the guests to the privilege they are entitled to.
Here are a few ways in which you can help your guests:
A lot of hotel websites have AI-driven chatbots or Live Chats wherein the agents or bots answer to the specific guests’ queries and questions which makes the booking process easier. In the era, where uber contactlessness or contactless hotel check-in is the need of the hour, WebChat can be a great way of providing the maximum possible information about your operating procedures.
While WebChat can help answer all the queries related to booking, breakfast, amenities, location, etc. there are certain preset queries too, more like an FAQ page under a specific category. In other words, under WebChat, you can have a readymade category of “check-in/check-out” under which guests would find all the preset and relevant information about the procedure. In case if there's something more that’s not specifically mentioned there, a WebChat enables the visitors to type in their query which is sent directly to the front desk and is answered in no time.
This is a quick and instant way of responding to the visitors’ queries making sure that you’re not missing out on a potential customer just because you were unclear in putting the valuable information across.
Less effective than WebChat but still effective as a part of the Hotel Online Check-in System, an FAQ page on your website is another way of helping the guests know more about your SOPs.
A section entitled “pre-check-in” or “e-check in” or “express check-in” devoted to all these queries can be a priceless asset for your hotel.
In this connection, we would also like to touch lightly on the subject of check-out. Hotels with electronic check-in can also make the final stage in the guest journey easier by implementing the rule of contactless or e-check-out. Even with a standard check-out time at hotel, guests will appreciate this move, especially when they are running late with flight departure time being dangerously close.
With this, guests do not have to worry about tackling the bills or saying a final goodbye as they can simply leave the keys on the front desk and get an invoice by email.
If managed with care and precision, the hotel online check-in/ check-out system can improve the guest experience to a great extent making it as seamless as possible.
As already mentioned in the opening statement, in brief, guests might not feel like interacting much with the staff members upon arrival, especially after spending a long time in transit. At this point, if the front-desk tries to upgrade or upsell anything to the guests, chances are that the latter might not be typically very receptive to these offers due to their trip exhaustion.
But, at the same time, a hotel has to have a baseline interaction with the guests to know their needs better: their purpose of visit to tailor their services accordingly. Online or self-check-in is the answer to this problem. Hotels must offer online check-in from the point of view of enhancing the overall guest experience. With hotel online check-in system and expedited arrival, there are higher chances of guests getting coerced into spending a little extra.
Even with a staff member appointed at the lobby kiosks, the choice to interact would completely depend on the guests. In other words, guests do not have to interact if they don’t wish to. On the positive side, this will help bypass the front desk queues, improve the overall efficiency and ensure the smooth functioning of the hotel operations, all of which will lead to one significant thing- an enhanced guest experience and heightened guest satisfaction.
Providing modern hoteliers with a cutting-edge solution is our ambition. Understanding the significance of going contactless and providing an online check-in experience, we offer solutions that are refreshingly simple and easy-to-use. Designed for hotels of all sizes, our best-in-class Guest Messaging helps cater to all the needs of the guests at every stage, right from check-in to check-out, devoid of all kinds of language barriers.
Our Hotel WebChat is designed to convert visitors into guests by answering their queries, including the ones related to the check-in and check-out, thereby breaking the boundaries of traditional WebChat with preset questions and enabling you to carry on the conversation with your website visitors unhindered. With easy set-up and endowed with a plethora of modern features, WebChat can be a crucial part of your entire hotel online check-in system.
Have questions? We’d be glad to answer!
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