Touchless Check-In For Hotels: How to Choose the Best Vendor

August 20, 2020

More hotels than ever are turning to touchless check-in solutions in a bid to adhere to new government health and safety guidelines and to improve their guest experience.

With travelers actively opting to book stays at hotels with touchless check-in, it’s never been more important for establishments to stay ahead, especially if they want to gain a competitive edge.


The Benefits of Touchless Check-In


Check-in carried out via mobile device doesn’t just align with the current need for reduced interactions and social distancing. It comes with plenty of other benefits that hotels are tapping into.


Firstly, it frees up staff time. Reception teams no longer have to spend the majority of their time providing credit cards, ids, and filling out guest forms on arrival and doing repetitive admin tasks. Instead, they can focus on providing a great experience for guests. 


Touchless check-in also improves guest satisfaction. More travelers than ever seek out hotels that provide the option to check-in via their mobile. This means guests can avoid lengthy queues at reception and get started with their stay as soon as they arrive. 



Finally, touchless check-in can drive extra revenue for hotels. Using features like Canary Technologies’ amenity store that directs guests to an ecommerce page after they check-in can boost the value of each guest. Through this tool, guests can book extras during their stay, like upgraded amenities, champagne on arrival, and onsite activities. 


For hotels, the decision to implement a touchless check-in isn’t hard. The difficulty lies in choosing the right vendor. How do you know which one is the best? Or, more importantly, how do you know which one is the best for the needs of your hotel? 


Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Touchless Check-In Vendor


1. Security: Are They Compliant?


Consumers these days, including travelers, always have security in the back of their minds. A number of recent and large data hacks have made people wary about handing over their details, particularly their credit card information and other key identity data points. 


To carry out touchless check-in, you need to collect credit card details and ID, so it’s important that the vendor you choose is legitimate and compliant. To securely process credit card data, you need a vendor that is PCI Level 1 compliant, not just PCI SAQ-D compliant. 


Level 1 compliance means that a qualified third party security assessor has completed routine audits of technology used. This level of compliance from vendors is table stakes when handling any sort of credit card information. 



Be careful, though, as lots of vendors claim to be compliant when they’re not. Look into whether the vendors that are on your list have a history of being compliant and secure. 


2. Capabilities: Do They Do Everything That You Need?


Many vendors may offer mobile check-in, but it is important to check if they actually provide everything you need. It’s worth looking into whether they have the capabilities to verify and validate credit card information and IDs, as well as any other information you require from guests. 


The easiest way to do this is to start by figuring out what you want the touchless check-in process to look like for guests and what features you want to include. 


For example, a typical touchless check-in process might look like this: 


-Hotel sends a link to the guest 24 hours before they arrive

-Guest fills out the required information

-Guest confirms their information, provides credit card details, uploads their ID, and signs a e-registration form

-Hotel checks guest in

-Guest is redirected to an online page where they can upgrade their stay with additional extras 


Make sure you’re peeling back the layers of the onion and ensuring all capabilities needed for check-in are being met. In particular, look for features like payment collection, ID verification, how the vendor collects guest information, and registration forms. 


You might also want a vendor that goes one step further and continues to create an enjoyable guest experience after the guest has checked in. 


3. Technology: Are They An Innovative Partner? 


You’re not looking for a one-and-done type vendor. Instead, you should view your relationship with the vendor you choose as a long-term tech-based partnership. 


The ideal vendor will continue to improve and enhance their technology and continue to create new features that improve your workflow.


Think about what type of technology the tool is built on, whether this aligns with your needs, and what plans the vendor has for the future. 


You’re well within your rights to ask what new features they have planned or what’s in the pipeline for the next six months, the next year, and even the next five years. A decent vendor will be able to answer these questions and give you the information you need to move forward and make a decision. 


4. Integrations: Do They Integrate With Your Property Management System? 


You won’t be using touchless check-in on its own. There’s a high chance you’ll be running other software in tandem, like software that manages your property or an email marketing platform. 


Choosing a vendor that doesn’t integrate with your PMS can be a huge headache. Instead of automatically updating information across all platforms, you’ll need to manually send out links to guests and input the information back into your PMS.  


Instead, make sure the vendor you choose is able to automatically capture information from your property management system and vice versa. Again, be careful here, as many vendors claim they have the know-how for major integrations but fall short when it actually comes down to it. 


5. Mobile or Web App: Which Do You Choose?


One of the biggest dilemmas hotels face when it comes to implementing touchless check-in is choosing between a mobile or web app. It can be tempting to go straight for the mobile app because it’s nice to have an additional company asset embedded on your guests’ phones. However, mobile apps require guests to download them. 


This adds extra steps in the guest experience and can create a barrier for guests which can limit the amount of people who will actually use it during their stay. As a result, your reception staff might end up doing even more work as they have to combine both in-person check-ins and touchless check-ins. 




A web app, on the other hand, only requires guests to click a link. It’s super simple and can be used by any guest, as long as they have a mobile device that connects to the internet.


You can customize a web app too so that it incorporates your branding and continues the guest journey after they’ve checked in by redirecting them to a page where they can make additional purchases, upgrade their stay, or find out more information about the facilities. 


6. Implementation Setup: How Long Does it Take to Get Up and Running? 


If you want to implement touchless check-in quickly, it’s worth finding a vendor that prioritizes speedy setup. 


As well as this, it’s worth thinking about who manages the implementation and set up: do you or your staff have to do it, or does the vendor supply a point of contact who goes through the process with you?


One key way to figure out what the setup process is like is to get in touch with past customers. Ask vendors to put you in contact with previous users and get references where you can to determine how long setup takes and whether you’ll need the resources to do it yourself. 


The length of the implementation process doesn’t necessarily indicate how involved you’ll need to be with the actual technology when it’s all set up. In fact, if a vendor has a comprehensive onboarding process that covers all parts of implementation, there’s a high chance you can be more hands-off when it’s eventually set up and running. 


7. Support: What Kind of Support Do They Offer?


Support is key when choosing the right vendor for your touchless check-in. If anything goes wrong, you’ll want a quick response and solution, but this isn’t always available. 


Look for the different ways you can reach a vendor’s support team and determine if those methods work for you or will allow you to get in contact quickly when you need to. At Canary Technologies, we offer phone, email, and chat support to provide users with a method of communication that suits them. 



8. Fees: What Costs Are Involved? 


Fees are a huge part of choosing a touchless check-in vendor. Expensive solutions might be out of your price-range, but cheaper options might not provide you with all the features you need to create a great guest experience.  Given reduced occupancy many hotels are seeing due to Covid-19, see if the vendor is willing to work with you on pricing now. 


It’s important to find a happy middle ground with a price that suits you and a vendor that has all the capabilities you need to provide a seamless touchless check-in experience for guests. It’s no good if you’re paying budget prices and are still having to manually carry out certain tasks - this defeats the point of having a vendor on side to automate the process. 


Make sure you understand the hidden fees that are involved and exactly what you get for your money, too. Often, the packages that are listed don’t give away the full story, so don’t be afraid to dig deeper and ask questions. 


9. References: Can You Talk to Other Hoteliers?


There are a number of folks who are now pitching their “contactless experience”, so be sure to ask for references of clients they currently work with. It’s easy for vendors to say that they offer everything you need, but you can easily uncover the truth by talking to past customers. 


A good vendor will have no problems putting you in touch with their current user base, and talking to people who are actively using the tool and are well aware of its pros and cons will provide you with more clarity than a features list on a website. 


Simply get in touch with the vendor and ask if they can link you up with a couple of customers. When you have their details, list out a few questions you’d like to know the answers to or hop on a call with them to talk about their experience. Remember to talk about the negatives as well as the positives, as this can often be the biggest eye-opener. 


How You Can Use Canary Technologies For Touchless Check-In 

Canary Technologies’ touchless 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

Touchless 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’ Virtual Check-In Solution Today



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