Contactless Check-In For Hotels: Everything You Need To Know

Bryan Michalis
July 25, 2020

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, the hospitality sector was forced to adopt technology solutions that enabled them to embrace new safety measures. For most of 2020, hotels, guest houses, and B&Bs put strict protocols in place to ensure their guests felt comfortable during their stay. 

The need for social distancing and limited contact with other people meant that Contactless Check-In solutions became very important as hotels around the world looked for ways to protect their staff and guests. 

Many hotels stopped traditional check-ins entirely and instead adopted a fully mobile check-in model that doesn't require any human contact. As it turned out, guests actually preferred this and not just because of COVID-19.

A recent Oracle and Skift study, found that 73 percent of travelers are more likely to stay in a hotel that offers self-service technology.

And the desire for contactless check in isn’t a new phenomenon, either. 

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.  


And as can be seen from the study by Oracle and Skift, that demand has only gone up over time.

In light of this obvious new consumer preference, here’s everything you need to know about Contactless Check-In. 

What Is 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.

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Contactless Check-In eliminates the need for most of this process. Instead, guests can use a link they receive via email or text message to fill out their details and scan their ID. Once completed, they get access to their room key via a smartphone or they can pick it up from the front desk at the hotel. 

Technology today has made Contactless Check-in just one part of the new-age guest experience

Traditional Check In Vs Contactless Check In

An increasing number of traditional check-in steps are no longer necessary thanks to the emergence of Contactless Check-In solutions. In fact, many aspects of the guest experience can be transferred to the digital world.

Here are some key ways that Contactless Check-In and other contactless technology are 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

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.

The Benefits of Contactless Check-In

In addition to the benefits that Contactless Check-In provided during the pandemic, it also helps staff and guests in other ways, including:

- 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

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How to Implement Contactless Check-In 

There are a variety of ways to approach the implementation of a Contactless Check-In solution and build a user flow that works for your property.

Here is what you should consider...

Before Guests Arrive

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 COVID, it’s still a good idea to reassure guests that your facility is safe and adhering to best practices when it comes to mutations and case spikes. 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.

Guest Arrival

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 procedures. 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. 

How You Can Use Canary Technologies For Contactless Check-In 

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. 

How It Works

- 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

It’s Simple to Get Started

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. 

Get started with Canary Technologies’ Contactless Check-In Solution Today!

Last Updated September 30, 2022.

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