Online check-in completely transformed the Airline industry. Until now, the hospitality sector has been slow to follow.
NB: This is an article from GuestJoy
One reason has been the lack of strong business need, but also the complexity of the project. But as guests are demanding it, more and more hotels are embracing this technology.
“70% of hotels already are or are planning to adopt contactless technology for check-in, food ordering, concierge services and more” – Oracle
Each hotel is unique and there are many PMS vendors out there. This makes it very challenging for the hotelier to start planning their digital transformation.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of how to go about selecting the best check-in solution for your property. It’s by no means a comprehensive guide, but it will at least provide you with some general guidance!
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From the perspective of your guests, the hotel check-in process has been the same for a very long time:
All this can take a lot of time, and if your guest had a long journey to make it to your property, this is not what they will want. I don’t care if you have the best smiles in town. They just want to get into their room.
In the ideal scenario, guests will just enter their details before actually arriving at the hotel, in order to avoid this tedious experience.
Then, the hotel provides them with all the necessary details like breakfast arrangements, safety rules and also door access.
Prior to COVID-19, many hoteliers were feeling that by going digital, they would lose their personal approach.
But, in our new reality, guests actually prefer it. For guests, mobile check-in is about convenience, the speed of the process, safety, and freedom to choose when to do it.
“After a long journey, I love waiting in the queue, to get my room key” …… said no guest ever!
For hoteliers, it’s about saving on costs, but also increasing customer satisfaction. Handling each guest manually is a labour-intensive process, and during peak times can account for many man-hours.
As with any project, you need to define your goals for what mobile check-in needs to do for you. What do you want to achieve?
- Collect guest data to speed up the check-in process
- Need to collect credit card details for payment
- Ability to upgrade the room or other services
- Open doors or distribute key codes
By looking at each stage separately, we can start understanding which solution is most suitable for your hotel, as each feature comes with caveats and costs.
Next, we will look at each key component separately to make it easy to understand the project.
For mobile check-in to work, guest data needs to be in the PMS in a timely and correct manner.
This means the solution needs to to be able to get data from the PMS, and ideally, also send data back.
Many PMS vendors support connections with 3rd party systems. This is most commonly done via API. The better and more open the API is, the more solutions you’ll be able to choose from.