COVID-19 Hotel Trends: Contactless Check-In

September 9, 2020
COVID-19 Hotel Trends: Contactless Check-In
contactless checkin

We can confidently say that we’ve never been so grateful for our ‘tap’ function on our payment cards ever since the beginning of the worldwide pandemic. More and more, our day to day life has been affected by the need for minimizing face-to-face and physical contact. We now meet and work online and have groceries delivered to us for example. Hospitality, being one of the hardest hit industries, has been rapidly changing their systems and procedures to better protect staff and guests, and that includes minimizing as many human touch points where possible. Enter: contactless check-in.

If hotels were slow to transition to the many new ways of checking-in pre pandemic, well they are definitely forced to think about it now. Traditionally, checking-in to a hotel is probably the most face-to-face time a guest has at a single hotel visit, and by doing so, minimizing the risk of spread of COVID-19, allowing your guests to travel comfortably and safely - a huge selling point <insert building trust link> nowadays. One day, the world will have recovered from COVID-19, but contactless check-in is here to stay.

Improve customer confidence and satisfaction

In 2015, 60% of hotel guests said they preferred to book with a hotel that offers mobile check-in. Now that was in a pre-pandemic world, imagine what that statistic would look like nowadays! Guest expectations are changing by the day. Without the human interaction, hotel guests need a little more TLC and engaging service when they’re required to connect through a device. Contactless check-in allows hotel staff to stay in touch with guests even without ever seeing them in person.

Being able to set up guests well ahead of time and allowing for contactless check-in before they ever arrive on site is increasing client confidence. Your guests will feel mentally assured and prepared for the visit, especially since traveling at a time like this may be a little scary.

In a post-covid world, this way of communication can be used by the hotel to learn about what guests are interested in during their stay, and hotels can send recommendations based on those details in a personalized way.

For hoteliers, not only will their guest have a direct line of communication to you which will increase their satisfaction, but you will be able to collect data and insights on the types of guests that stay at your hotel. Gathering this data over a period of time will provide you insights on their interests, demographics, and purchasing behaviour that will give you the ability to make better forecasts and improve your services to create even better experiences that future guests will love.

Increasing confidence and satisfaction at a time like this is crucial due to the uncertainty many guests feel while traveling right now. Creating that enjoyable experience for travelers now will, in turn, mean more positive reviews and referrals or future business when travel starts growing rapidly again.

Allocate labor elsewhere

The reality is, many hotels are running lean in terms of their staff roster and in some cases, on bare bones. This means that many staff members are wearing multiple hats and are stretched across other departments. With the benefit of contactless check-in, staff can interact with multiple guests by communicating through a device, versus one-on-one, face-to-face. The time-consuming task of check-in will now be allocated for staff to be able to prioritize their other many tasks. It’s win-win as well - guests ultimately just want to be able to get check-in over with so they can start their trip.

With contact check-in, your guest can have the freedom of checking-in anywhere before even getting to the hotel. Once onsite, they can simply collect their key and be on their way. Better yet, if your hotel offers keyless entry (for example a QR code entry), then guests can completely bypass the whole process. Having less people in the lobby at any given time is also an immense benefit for staff and guests at a time like this as well.

With all that freed up time of check-in, hotel staff can focus on the hospitality aspect, versus the administrative aspect of check-in.

Increases revenue

More and more, travellers are googling “hotels with contactless check-in” as this aspect of accommodation is highly being sought after. In a post pandemic world, this trend is likely to stay. By offering contactless check-in, guests will be more inclined to book with you, simple as that.

Contactless check-in will require a guest to enter some logistical information, which means you’ll have more access to data to better understand the types of guests that stay at your hotel, their interests and preferences. By capturing this data, you will give you the ability to better cater and offer unique experiences to your guests like a new spa or amenity at your hotel that they wouldn't have otherwise known about. Building your contact list, you will also be able to send exclusive offers and promos to guests in the future to generate return business.

Tips for implementing contactless check-in

If you’re in the process of implementing contactless check-in at your hotel, we have a few tips to ensure a smooth transition. It’s all in the preparation and communication before guests arrive at your hotel. This way, your guest is well prepared for the new check-in process and can travel comfortably.

A few tips for smooth implementation:

  • Send links on time: Ensure that your guests receive the check-in link at least 12 hours before their expected arrival. A CRM tool can help automate this for you.
  • Give your guests peace of mind: With everything going on in the world, your guests priority is to feel comfortable and safe while traveling. Send information on your new policies and COVID-19 protocols along with the check-in information. Things like cleaning schedules, certifications and designated sanitation points. This will be greatly appreciated.
  • Clear signage: Although the information will be outlined in the communications sent to your guest before arrival. It’s important to also create effective and clear signage that will explain contactless check-in to guests and the flow of traffic from the lobby to the elevators. Let’s face it: not everyone reads the communications so we need to make it extremely obvious and simple for travelers that may not be in the loop.

It’s a time of change whether we like or not. Contactless check-in is becoming the new standard in hotels, for the safety of your guests and your staff. This in turn increases guests confidence and satisfaction, frees up your already busy staff, and differentiates your hotel among the rest. If you’re not already adopting contactless check-in, it’s worth considering.

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