More and more hotel guests are skipping the front desk and heading straight to their rooms. Corporate travellers especially expect this convenience, but now even leisure travellers are following suit. And this is all possible with online check-in technology for hotels. In fact, a survey in 2020 found that 80% of travellers prefer to check in prior to their arrival.
If you’re interested in providing this safe and convenient option to your guests, keep reading to find out how online check-in can fit in with your standard operating procedure (SOP) and discover the 6 benefits of online check-in that you can look forward to.
How does mobile check-in work for hotels?
As the name suggests, online check-in lets hotel guests conveniently complete the check-in process on their mobile phones, tablets or laptops prior to arrival.
The online check-in process can be fairly simple if you’re using a Property Management System (PMS) that supports this function. Here’s how it works:
A pre-stay email is automatically sent from the PMS to the guest. The guest can then click on the link in the email that redirects them to an online page where they then fill out their personal details like ID number and home address and provide a digital signature - all the typical guest information that usually takes front desk managers up to 10 minutes to manually enter into the system.
To let guests completely skip the front desk, you can include a digital hotel key like a door code or bar code in the online check-in email.
6 Benefits and Advantages of Mobile Check-in for Hotels
1. Promote safety and social distancing
This is not news, we are in the midst of a global pandemic after all. Travellers, especially those coming from abroad want to stay at hotels that prioritise their safety.
The silver lining is that online check-in is not only a convenient option for tired guests who travelled from far and want to kick up their feet sooner rather than later but it’s the ultimate contactless experience. Guests don’t have to exchange any documents or sign papers at the front desk. Better yet, there will be no need for guests to wait in a queue purely because you can only allow a maximum of five people in your hotel lobby according to COVID protocols.
2. The most opportune time to upsell
No one likes to be bombarded with offers when they arrive at their destination. And chances are, your front desk manager doesn't have the best sales skills. That’s why online check-in has been identified as the most opportune time to upsell, particularly to millennials who don’t like to make snap decisions but rather make buying decisions in their own time and collaboratively, according to an article by Forbes.
But how do you upsell during online check-in? Easy, you can activate an automated upselling list to appear on the online page in your PMS that allows guests to purchase in-room extras, experiences, and room upgrades before checking in. This way, you can increase your hotel revenue without lifting a finger.
3. Balancing staff workload
Many hotel businesses had to deliver the same if not better quality of service with less staff during the pandemic. As a result, hotels have started to use hotel technology to do things like automating guest communication and providing guests with in-room self-service options.
Now that the self-check-in process is popular among travellers, you’ll have more time to focus on your customers. And when your staff is no longer tied up by checking in guests during busy periods, they can focus on greeting guests, giving them tours of the property and answering any questions they may have.
4. Identity card scanner
We didn’t think it can get more efficient than online check-in but now guests can scan their own identity documents with OCR technology that auto-populates their information into the correct fields. This includes passports, driver’s licenses, and other forms of ID.
In the future, hotels may no longer have to ask guests for identification. This makes everything more convenient for the guests and helps hotels to save a lot of time and money.
5. Self-service meets personalisation
The great paradox. Millennials, the largest generation of travellers between 24-39 years of age, demand self-service solutions but also crave true, authentic and personalised experiences. This is where hotel online check-in lends itself as the perfect middle ground between the two strong preferences.
It’s both a self-service solution and hotel managers can add the human factor with personalised welcome emails and targeted upsell lists.
6. Better guest experience
It’s no secret that a great guest experience is the key to success, and providing an exceptional experience starts long before guests arrive. Offering online check-in services is one surefire way to meet guest expectations and maintain a flexible business in a hyper volatile industry.
Online check-in is one of the most sought-after features in hotels. It's convenient, quick, and best of all? It can be used in clever ways to increase your revenue per available room (RevPAR). If you’re interested in providing this service to your guests, simply click on the link below to request a demo with a local member of our team.