In a world where technology grows more advanced by the day, hotels are increasingly moving towards digital experiences. And by doing so, providing better experiences for tech-savvy guests.
One such experience — or tool — is digital check-in, which exploded in popularity during the pandemic because of its ability to facilitate social distancing. According to a 2021 Skift report, 54% of travelers said that they’d most like to see contactless check-in and checkout permanently adopted over the next three years in hotels.
Today, digital check-in continues to rise in popularity — even without the pandemic.
What Is Digital Check-In for Hotels?
Digital check-in is the process by which guests check-in to their hotel rooms using a mobile (or other) device. This allows guests to complete tasks such as submitting their ID, filling out paperwork, signing a reg card, and more, without the need to queue at the front desk or speak to a front desk agent.
During a digital check-in, guests typically provide their personal information, such as name, email, phone number etc. This helps you collect as much relevant guest information as possible to personalize the guest’s stay and market to them. And collecting this information is especially important for guests who booked through online travel agencies (OTAs) as OTAs don’t always supply hotels with this valuable data.
Why Has Digital Check-In Become so Popular?
Digital check-in has become popular for both hotels and guests for a myriad of reasons.
For years, hotels, airlines, and other types of businesses had been increasingly incorporating digital experiences into their customer journeys. And when Covid-19 hit, consumers began to expect contactless, digital technology due to a need for social distancing. Contactless digital technology allowed guests and consumers to shop, pay restaurant checks, and check into hotels with minimum contact.
Big hotel chains like Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Wyndham, and Marriott have all implemented digital check-in. And the technology that has retained its popularity for a multitude of reasons:
Convenience: Digital check-in allows guests to skip the line at the front desk and check-in to their hotel room quickly and easily.
Efficiency: Digital check-in streamlines the check-in process and reduces workloads for hotel staff, allowing them to focus on other tasks.
Customization: Digital check-in also allows hotels to create custom workflows that gather information about guests' preferences and needs before they arrive. This can help hotels personalize the guest experience and provide a more tailored service.
Innovation: The technology tools that enable a digital check-in process have grown exponentially more powerful in the last few years.
Why You Should Implement Digital Check-in at Your Hotel
Hotels that implement digital check-in could experience a wide range of benefits, including:
Improved Operational Efficiency
No one wants to walk into a hotel after a long journey and stand at the back of a long line of stressed travelers.
One of the best things about hotel technology is its ability to free up time and relieve stress for your staff members and guests. With Canary Contactless Check-In, for example, guests can check-in on their mobile device with no app downloads required.
With shorter queues and less administrative work at reception, front desk agents can spend more time serving your guests. Digital check-in can help you reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve guest satisfaction by streamlining the check-in process and improving efficiency.
Huge Cost Savings
Digital check-in can help you cut costs without compromising on the guest experience. Here are a couple of ways you can save money:
Labor Costs: Traditional check-in processes can be time-consuming and require multiple staff members at busy times. Hotels can reduce the need for front desk staff by using digital check-in experiences. While you’ll always need front desk staff, this technology can help you cut spending on staff.
Reduced Material Costs: Registration cards and keycards, for example, are costly to produce, especially when your occupancy level is high. Digital check-in eliminates the need for physical materials.
Better Guest-Staff Interactions
With fewer people queuing, your front desk agents are free to spend more time delivering excellent, personalized customer service.
Using digital check-in, hotels can collect important guest information and gain valuable insights into guests’ preferences and needs. And that means you can better tailor your recommendations, services, and marketing to the individual.
For example, if a guest has indicated that they prefer a firm mattress, hotel staff can proactively provide the right one without guests having to request it. This is a great way to deliver a personalized, memorable experience which boosts the likelihood of loyalty and good guest reviews.
More Options & Control for Guests
Giving guests a great in-stay experience can be as simple as giving them more control over it — and digital check-in makes empowering guests incredibly easy. As guests go through a digital check-in flow, they can be presented with upsell or room upgrades options before their stay even begins. And of course, upselling is a great way to increase revenue.
Increased Revenue Opportunities
Digital check-in can increase revenue for hotels in the following ways:
Upselling Opportunities: During digital check-in, hotels can offer guests the option to upgrade their rooms or purchase add-on amenities/services that enhance their stay. This can increase your revenue per guest.
Reduced Costs: By streamlining the check-in process, hotels can reduce labor costs and allocate resources more efficiently. This can increase profitability and provide opportunities to reinvest in the business.
Improved Guest Experience: Digital check-in can enhance the guest experience, leading to positive reviews and word-of-mouth referrals. This can attract new customers and increase revenue.
Data Collection: With digital check-in, hotels can collect valuable guest data that can be used to inform marketing and sales strategies, drive customer loyalty, and improve revenue management.
Improved Guest Satisfaction
Consumers increasingly demand more from hotels — that’s no secret. As technology grows more advanced and available, hotel guests expect it to form part of their stay.
Digital check-in can help you improve guest satisfaction in several ways:
Convenience: Digital check-in allows guests to skip the long lines at the front desk and check-in to their room quickly and easily, which can reduce stress and increase guest satisfaction.
Personalization: Digital check-in allows hotels to gather guest information and preferences in advance, which can help them personalize the guest experience and offer customized services. This can make guests feel comfortable, valued and enhance their overall satisfaction.
Enhanced Communication: Digital check-in systems can facilitate communication between guests and hotel staff, allowing them to send messages, make requests, and receive updates in real-time. This can help guests feel more connected to the hotel and improve their overall satisfaction.
Fraud impacts the hospitality industry in a big way. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners 2022 Report on Occupational Fraud, 5-6% of the industry’s annual revenue is lost to it.
Digital check-in technology, like Canary Contactless Check-In, protects your hotel from fraud with built-in fraud detection and keeps your customers’ data safe.
Consumers are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability. According to Operto, 85.6% of travelers say that they’d pay more for an eco-friendly hotel.
Digital check-in eliminates the need for paper registration cards, thereby reducing waste and conserving natural resources. By adopting digital check-in, hotels can contribute to a more sustainable future while also improving operational efficiency and guest satisfaction.
What Should Hoteliers Look for in a Modern Digital Check-In Solution?
Not all digital check-in solutions are created equal — some are, in fact, superior to others. Here are a few things to keep in mind while evaluating solutions for your property:
Ease of Use: What’s the point of providing digital check-in if guests have to deal with the hassle of app downloads or a long-winded process? Allow guests to check-in via the web and make sure the solution is user-friendly.
Flexible Deployment Options: Digital check-in works well on its own, but it shines when combined with technologies such as dynamic upselling, contactless checkout, or digital tipping.
Integrates Easily: When researching hotel technology, one of the most important features to look for is the ability to integrate with your hotel’s tech ecosystem. Ensure that the digital check-in solution links with your property management system (PMS). You can find a full list of Canary Technologies’ integrations here.
Customer Data Capture: The ability to capture guest data like emails and phone numbers during the check-in flow is a vital part of the guest stay. If a guest books through an OTA you don’t typically receive this information. Canary, for example, provides a workaround so you can still build your marketing list.
Security: One of the main reasons hotels implement digital check-in is to reduce fraud and improve the security of their guests’ data. Look for a contactless check-in solution that uses encryption and other security measures to protect customer data and ensure that transactions are secure.
Customization: Canary Contactless Check-In allows you to customize the solution to the needs of each hotel. This includes upsell options, language options, and registration flows.
Scalability: As your business grows, you need a solution that can grow with you. A dedicated support team and ongoing innovation from an engineering team are key to look for when evaluating providers.
As consumer demand shifts, technological investment is needed in order to stay ahead of your competitors and meet consumer demands. Guests want convenience, care, and personalization. Digital check-in technology can help you provide all three.
Not only that, but you can improve operational efficiency, drive revenue, cut costs, build better in-person interactions, give guests more control over their stays, improve security, and reduce your carbon footprint.
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