A hotel’s front desk is the nervous system of a hotel. It’s the main contact point for guests throughout their entire journey with a property, from pre-arrival to checkout.
Traditionally, the front desk has relied on in-person interactions to provide guests with a great guest experience. However, more and more recently, hoteliers are turning towards digital solutions that help front desk staff meet the needs of their guests without the need for face-to-face engagement.
The right hotel front desk software can have a huge impact on the guest experience, staff efficiency and hotel revenue.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the features modern hotel front desk software should include and walkthrough some of the tell-tale signs to know if you’re working with quality solutions.
Now, let’s dive in…
What Is Hotel Front Desk Software?
Broadly speaking, the category of hotel front desk software can include a variety of systems and tools that front desk agents work with on a daily basis. Typically, tried-and-true softwares like property management systems (PMSs), such as OPERA are included in the category of front desk software; but so are everything from contactless check-in and checkout solutions to digital upsells and guest messaging tools.
Since there is a long, documented history of the importance of PMSs in the hotel industry, this post will primarily focus on the other key front desk softwares that help hoteliers create an outstanding modern guest experience.
Today, many of these solutions can be found under the umbrella of what is called a “Guest Management System.”
The Guest Management System
A Guest Management System is an important type of front desk software that property management teams should consider using today.
These systems generally contain a variety of important solutions such as, Contactless Check-In, Contactless Checkout, Digital Upsells and Guest Messaging.
Guest Management Systems are distinct from individual point solutions (e.g., a technology solution that only applies to one aspect of the guest experience) in that they address many of the overall needs of a guest during their stay at a hotel, instead of just one or two.
Here are the most important solutions that should be included in a Guest Management System that front desk agents work with every day.
One of the most obvious changes in consumer behavior due to the COVID-19 pandemic is an overall preference for contactless and mobile-friendly guest experiences. Contactless (also called “mobile) check-in solutions have now become an instrumental part of a modern hotel check-in experience.
However, it’s not just good news for the 73% of travelers who say they want hotels with self-service tech.
According to research conducted by Canary’s product team, ⅓ of all guests that use contactless check-in register a new updated contact in a hotel’s contact database. These are important pieces of contact information that can be used to drive customer loyalty programs and direct bookings.
Any hoteliers that are looking for a way to improve their online reviews on Google and Tripadvisor should consider using Contactless Checkout.
This powerful front desk software tool can help hoteliers save time by informing housekeeping teams when it’s the exact right time to turn a room. However, it’s also a fantastic tool for surveying customers as to their experience at a property.
Guests that submit a score of 5 stars or higher are then prompted to share their review on sites like Google and Tripadvisor. Anything below that is re-routed to the team at the hotel.
This keeps negative review in-house and pushes positive reviews to the forefront!
Front desk agents aren’t sales people. Let’s get that out of the way right now. However, that doesn’t mean your hotel(s) has to give up on the prospect of increasing the amount of revenue per guest.
Digital Upsells solutions like those provided by Canary integrate seamlessly throughout the entire digital guest journey. These touchpoints enable hoteliers to push upsell options, seamlessly and automatically. Everything from a bottle of wine to early check-in or checkout can be offered as an upsell to help increase hotel revenue.
In fact, many hotels have used Canary’s Upsells solution to increase ancillary revenue by $1000’s per month.
“The Coeur d’Alene was bringing in nearly $10,000 in additional upsell revenue every month.”
- Bailey O’Neil, Front Desk Manager, Coeur d’Alene Resort
Guest messaging is a critical part of any modern hotel front desk software. The front desk is where guest inquiries are meant to go and there are more ways to deal with these questions than simply picking up a telephone.
Many hotels have switched their front desks over to guest messaging software that uses their existing phone number (even if it’s a landline) to respond to guest needs. Any truly complete front desk hotel software will include a robust guest messaging solution.
Key Attributes of Hotel Front Desk Software
There are a few things that hoteliers and hotel management companies should look for when considering front desk software for their properties.
No New Downloads
Whatever guest management system a hotel deploys, it should be built to address the needs of the future guest. Native apps and check-in kiosks are yesterday’s news. Web-based solutions, like those provided by Canary, offer a frictionless digital experience that guests love. Up to 90 percent of guests will engage with a web-based solution, but even the best native apps will often see less than 20% of users download them.
The best hotel front desk software of this era will include an extensive amount of powerful tools on its platform. Point solutions, like those that only deal with self-check-in or hotel upsells, create an overly complex environment for hotel employees to navigate. Any new guest-facing solutions that hoteliers look for in 2022 and 2023 should include a variety of key features that help all aspects of the guest experience from pre-arrival through checkout.
The last thing any hotel tech team wants to deal with is a new integration that requires extensive development work and workarounds. And that’s why it’s incredibly important to always selected a front desk software, like Canary, that seamlessly integrates with your PMS and existing tech stack without the need for custom integrations.
With Canary, the integrations are already built for you!
There are a wide variety of hotel front desk softwares available today, but there are a few consistent platform features and solutions that you should always keep in mind:
- Always use web-based solutions
- Opt for platforms with a wide variety of guest-facing solutions
- Work with platforms that have a seamless integration with your existing tech stack
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be sure to deploy the perfect hotel front desk software at your property.