In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the hospitality sector is turning to solutions that embrace new safety measures. For the past couple of months, hotels, guest houses, and B&Bs have been putting strict protocols in place to ensure their guests feel comfortable during their stay.
The need for social distancing and limited contact with other people means contactless check ins have never been more important as hotels around the world look for new solutions that protect their staff and guests.
Many hotels are stopping traditional check ins entirely and are instead adopting mobile check ins that don’t require any human contact. The quicker that hotels can set up this experience and make it seamless, the quicker they can welcome back guests.
Contactless check in isn’t a new phenomenon, though.
In fact, in a 2015 study by Software Advice, 60% of hotel guests said they’d rather book into a hotel that offers mobile check in. However, the need has become much more pressing today as it’s now mandatory to limit the amount of contact guests have with staff.
In light of this new need, here’s everything you need to know about contactless check in.
Think about the traditional check in process.
Guests would arrive at a hotel, maybe have a concierge carry their luggage in for them, and stroll up to the reception desk. There, they might have to queue for a while if other guests are also checking in.
When it’s their turn, they’re required to hand over a form of ID which staff would scan and check, then they fill out a series of forms before they are rewarded with their room key.
The whole process involves several touchpoints with staff, surfaces, and communal areas - activities that are supposed to be limited today.
Contactless check in eliminates the need for most of this process. Instead, guests can use a link or an app to fill out their details and scan their ID. Once complete, they get access to their room key via a smartphone or they can pick it up from a designated pick-up point in the hotel.
Technology today has made contactless check in just one part of the new-age guest experience.
An increasing number of traditional check in steps are no longer do-able. Valet parking is out of the question, concierge’s can’t carry luggage (or, if they can, they need to heavily sanitize it first), and people can’t queue in reception areas without flouting social distancing guidelines.
This means that the contactless experience must extend beyond check in and encompass every area of a hotel stay that no longer aligns with health and safety regulations.
Here are some key ways that contactless check in is being used:
- Mobile Solutions that allow guests to check in before they arrive, minimizing the amount of time they spend in reception and communal areas
- Check in points throughout hotels with self-service technology to avoid guests grouping in communal areas
- Technology for contactless payments at F&B outlets to allow for no-contact payments in line with health and safety regulations
These three methods dramatically minimize the amount of time guests spend in reception and limit interactions with staff without ruining the guest experience. The key for hotels that are going contactless is to create a journey for guests that is still enjoyable but doesn’t need hotel staff to assist them.
Plenty of hotels are taking advantage of contactless check in, from big name brands to smaller, independent hotels.
Aside from the benefits that contactless check in has for recent health and safety measures, it also helps staff and guests leverage other information:
- It significantly saves time and effort for both staff and guests. Check in links and forms can be sent ahead of time to avoid queues at reception, and hotels can send documentation, agreements, and T&C’s to get a digital signature prior to a guest’s stay
- It helps hotels gather additional data about their guests and build their email lists for future promotions
- It’s safe and secure, using advanced technology to check ID photos
- It integrates well with other systems to provide an all-round guest experience
- It allows guests to check in from anywhere
- It can be used as a casual marketing tool to let guests learn more about a hotel. It can serve exclusive offers, upsell amenities, and create a branded experience
- It allows guests to skip the line and securely share keys with their party
- It frees up staff time by automatically carrying out tasks like the administrative components of check-in
- Allows hoteliers to focus on the hospitality rather than the admin of collecting guest info during check-in
Contactless check in needs to be tighter than ever. Not only does it need to do the traditional task of digitally checking in guests, but it also needs to align with current health and safety measures.
This is how to implement contactless check in today.
Start communicating with your guests before they arrive on-site. A contactless check in experience lets you walk them through the new check in process and make sure they’re comfortable with everything in place.
Send Check In Links Ahead of Time
Share a contactless check-in link with guests at least 12 hours before they are due to arrive at your hotel. This gives them plenty of time to check themselves in and read any accompanying material you send.
Prepare Information for Guests
In light of the new rules and regulations, it’s your priority to reassure guests that your facility is safe and following protocols. To do this, create informational material that outlines your COVID-related initiatives and the processes your hotel is putting in place to align with current needs.
This might be a list of your updated cleaning schedules, how often you clean guest rooms, and updates to the use of communal spaces like gyms and restaurants.
Scandic Hotels does exactly this. They mention the enhanced cleaning that’s taking place, the new sanitization points, and how they are adhering to physical distancing by limiting chairs in the bar and dining space and implementing floor markers.
Even though you’ve already sent a link to check in, it’s still important to inform guests that might have missed it about how they can check in under your new guidelines. This will eliminate gatherings in the reception area and create a smooth check in flow onsite.
Create Additional Signage
Signage helps guests understand where they need to be and when. Let them know how they can check in, where they can check in (if you have designated check in points), and what they need to do next.
Verbiage like “we support contactless check in at our hotel” will prompt guests to use that option.
As you welcome guests to your hotel, make sure you’ve taken the time to consider the new health and safety regulations and have done everything you can to ensure your guests feel safe during their stay.
- Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and guidance for staff on how to use it
- Sanitizer stations in key public areas and in staff workspaces
- Signage to highlight new social distancing measures and floor markers to adhere to physical distancing protocols
- Individual guests amenity cleaning kits and personal-use sanitizer - The Eccleston Square Hotel in London has a whole page dedicated to its new rules post-COVID and it offers guests an Enhanced Personal Protection Equipment Package for £35 per stay
Once you’ve mastered using a contactless check in solution like the one we offer at Canary Technologies and you’ve created a seamless experience for guests, you can start to think about the other ways you can provide an excellent contactless service.
Contactless check in has never been more important. With new health and safety measures in place, hotels must adhere to strict guidelines around physical distancing and limit guest interactions with staff. Contactless check in and other technologies allow you to reassure guests while maintaining an enjoyable experience throughout their stay.
Canary Technologies’ contactless check-in solution lets you seamlessly check-in guests without exchanging credit cards, IDs, or registration forms. You can get started in 10 minutes and start checking in guests right away.
- Automatically send check-in links via email or text message to all guests that are due to arrive
- Guests submit their credit card information, upload their ID, and sign the hotel’s registration card all in one place before they arrive
- Canary verifies the information and enables the hotel to check the guest in
Contactless Check-In is easy with Canary Technologies. It’s quick to set up and lets you check guests in safely right away - no training needed! A range of integrations with property management systems, payment providers, and mobile key solutions ensures it ties in with your long-term holistic solutions.
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