Embracing Self-Service Check-in

A Gateway to increased operational efficiency in hotels

29 November 2023

By Nick Lidington

In our last article – Self-Service Hotel Check-in – A must have or a hotelier’s nightmare? we looked at the continuing rise of self-check-in /out systems in the hotel industry. Is it an essential feature? What are the advantages, what about initial set-up complexities, the cost involved and the most important – culturally, what does the hotel guest want?

So, what about the hotel guest angle – let’s look in more detail:

In a fast-paced world, technology and customer service have become interlinked and everyone must continually innovate to meet the expectations of travellers and keep ahead of the competition. Self-service check-in is one game changer that offers much more than its headline suggests. Putting in the technology gives many advantages and speaks volumes to your guests. But how that happens?

Streamlined Guest Arrivals

Streamlining is checking in without hassles while enabling guests to breeze through the check-in process quick and easy providing simple room access. Guests can either check-in before they arrive or use in-hotel self-service kiosks, no queueing in long lines at the front desk. But in any case, room access needs room keys to be programmed by either a kiosk or the front desk. Using the self-service approach means no waiting, as it is part of the self-check-in process, and more smiles, creating a great welcome for a fantastic stay.

Using staff resources to better effect

With guests handling their own check-ins, hotel staff can spend valuable time on engaging with customers. Supermarkets have a troubleshooter for multiple self-service check-outs instead of numbers of staff operating their own check-out – but in the hotel case, a member of staff can be welcoming guests, ensuring that they are ok using the self-check-in and answering guests’ questions – all for that great welcome and speedy check-in as soon as they enter the hotel. This rearrangement generally means that just one staff member is needed to be in reception welcoming and ensuring smooth running of guests self-checking in without queues, even in the busiest of times. Guests feeling like they have been properly welcomed for their stay with a fast lane to their rooms.

Enhancing Guest Satisfaction

Modern travellers love technology and want things to be easy and seamless. Self-service check-in is now at a point where Wifi was a few years back, in that, if your hotel did not have it, guests went elsewhere. Self check-in technology shows that a hotel is keeping up with the times and cares about tech-savvy guests and making life easy when travelling. It's quick and convenient, making guests happy, which leads to loyalty and good reviews.

Expanding mobility and Accessibility

More freedom and accessibility for all guests. You can use self-service check-in from your phone or from in-reception or entrance lobby touch screen kiosks, at anytime. No need to worry about check-in hours. Using kiosks offers a certainty of operation for all hotel guests at any time, including those with special needs, making sure that everyone can enjoy their stay with no hassles.

Data collection and insights

Smart Data for Smart Decisions. Self-service check-in systems collect useful information about what guests like and when they show up. Hotels can use this data to great effect, like tailoring services and marketing to make guests feel special. Unique offers to regular guests, Local events that suit particular guests based on previous stays. This engenders hotel loyalty on the part of guests who have an increasingly tailored hotel stay experience and, of course, improving hotels revenue. Win-win!

Cost savings and sustainability

Saving money and being green it’s the way forward for all of us. As well as reducing staffing needs and improving customer interaction, Self-service check-in kiosks can now offer “no plastic key card” room access by using the guest’s mobile phone wallet to download the door pass for their room. This also enables those guests staying for more than a few days and/or with partners and children to not need a plastic card – just their mobile phone for room access. Easy for the guests, no cost for the hotel. Most guests care about the effect they have on the environment when travelling and add it to their hotel of choice decision making.

In summary

Regarding all, self-service check-in is a smart move for hotels and can be considered an easy win. You are more competitive and guest friendly. By making check-in easy, using staff wisely, and using data to enhance your service offering, you save money and help the planet. Adding self-service check-in shows that the hotel industry is keeping up with the times and meeting the needs of modern travellers. So, for hotels to stay ahead, it's time to welcome self-service check-in as a tool for better operations and unforgettable guest experiences.

But, like many things, including jokes, – it’s the way you tell them or in the case of  self-check-in, it’s the way you deploy it that makes it successful – or not. So, how to do it?