The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed how we travel in myriad ways. The guest of the future will have new expectations of their hotel stay; health and hygiene now take priority for hoteliers and guests alike.
One way hotels can protect the health and safety of their guests is by providing a frictionless guest experience starting with a contactless check-in process. Recent surveys have found that contactless check-in and a touchless journey can help guests feel more comfortable staying in a hotel, with 26 percent of consumers indicating they want digital room keys and 35 percent asking for contactless payment options.
Many hotels are already implementing contactless check-in procedures by partnering with top-rated contactless check-in software providers. From virtual credit card authorization forms to passport scanning property management systems to digital key to QR code menus, the hospitality industry has been innovating at a rapid clip to stave off the effects of the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns. Here’s what that means in practise – and how your hotel staff can use technology to help enforce social distancing with long-term benefits.
What is Contactless Check-in?
Many people perceive contactless check-in as a one-step process. In reality, contactless check-in involves everything from valet parking to keyless entry. For check-in to be truly contactless, your hotel needs to factor in each step of a guest’s arrival and anticipate the points at which human contact can be prevented or replaced with technology.
Consider the traditional check-in process. A guest would arrive at the hotel and be greeted by the valet or doorman. A concierge may ask to take their luggage to their room. In the lobby, normally along with other passengers, the visitor can wait to communicate with the front desk staff. Hotel guests must have identification verification such as a passport and credit card before giving them a key to their guest rooms so that the front desk agent can complete their registration card.
Throughout this whole process, there are many touch points, not to mention the unlikelihood that social distancing in the hotel lobby or front desk queue would be necessary. However, contactless check-in uses technologies to eliminate these points of contact.
Mobile check-in enables visitors to check-in through a self-check in kiosk before they enter via mobile device or on-site, thus reducing waiting time in communal areas as well as contact with front desk workers. Any properties achieve this by having an interface with which visitors can log in and tap their room information to obtain them. To validate their data and check-in, other properties include self-service technology, such as tablets or kiosks.
Keyless entry allows visitors directly upon arrival with keys to their quarters, using a mobile key on their smartphone to open the entrance. This technology removes the procedure of visiting the front desk upon arrival and also eliminates the inconvenience of demagnetizing keys or keys that are misplaced and need to be replaced during their stay.
The Contactless Check-in advantages
Contactless check-in is not merely a work-around pandemic: visitors like the reliability and flexibility of their own arrival phase control. And, by adding automation to their check-in phase, hotels can save time and money.
Even before the pandemic, an increasingly important function for travellers was keyless entry. According to Openkey’s survey results,
- In guest satisfaction ratings, keyless entry leads to an average rise of 7 percent
- If there is a 5-minute delay at check-in, guest satisfaction ratings decline by 50 points.
- 46 percent of travellers state that a mobile key solution is an essential feature for them on land.
- 49% of travellers say “their hotel selection is affected by the hotel room’s high-tech features, i.e. the mobile key.”
Similarly, through smartphone check-in and keyless entry technology, hotels can operate more effectively. Mobile check-in saves workers time and effort, as pre-arrival visitors will be sent paperwork, T&Cs, and on-site deals.
Mobile check-in solutions help hotels gain feedback from visitors about their guests: discover through a pre-arrival questionnaire what their tastes are, and see which deals and services a visitor chooses to learn about before their stay. It’s also an easy way to submit discounts via upselling, showcase features on-site, and collect ancillary sales without having to visit face-to-face.
Tips for Contactless Check-in at your house
Implementing contactless check-in is relatively painless with the right equipment. However, it does take some proactive contact with visitors so that they know before arrival what to expect.
Submit pre-arrival emails outlining the process of check-in and what on-site security procedures the staff has put in place. There are two things this email can do. Next, visitors should be told that you take their wellbeing seriously. Second, it should give visitors step-by-step guidance about how to check-in via their mobile device or on-site kiosk, as well as how their room key will be received.