Contactless Check-in for Hotels: 2023 Free Guide + Tools Review
By Jordan Hollander
Last updated February 16, 2023
4 min read
The adoption of hotel check in software accelerated during the pandemic but contactless check in is here to stay. In it’s simplest form, hotel check in software enables digital authorization and payment processing through a direct integration with core hotel management software like a PMS. This functionality enables hoteliers to automate check in and allows guests to quickly give hotels their information with just a few clicks prior to arrival. Hotel check in software creates a better experience for guests, simplifies hotel operations on property and creates new opportunities for upselling.
One way hotels can protect the health and safety of their guests is by providing a frictionless guest experience starting with a contactless check-in process. Recent surveys have found that contactless check-in and a touchless journey can help guests feel more comfortable staying in a hotel, with 26% of consumers indicating they want digital room keys and 35% asking for contactless payment options.
Many hotels are already implementing contactless check-in procedures by partnering with top-rated contactless check-in software providers. From virtual credit card authorization forms to passport scanning property management systems to mobile key to QR code menus, the hospitality industry has been innovating at a rapid clip to stave off the effects of the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns. Here’s what that means in practice – and how your hotel staff can use technology to help enforce social distancing with long-term benefits.
This article outlines contactless check-in for beginners in the hospitality industry, if you're looking for a more advanced strategy guide to implementing these processes at your property - check out our 2023 Contactless Check-In Buyers Guide.
Download the free 2023 Contactless Check in Solutions Buyers Guide
What is Contactless Check-in Software?
Hotel contactless check-in is a process that allows guests to check-in to their hotel room without having to physically interact with hotel staff or touch surfaces such as check-in kiosks or registration cards. This type of check-in typically involves the use of digital technology, such as mobile apps or self-service kiosks, to complete the check-in process.
With contactless check-in, guests can use their mobile devices to check-in, access their room key, and even make room service requests. This helps to reduce the need for face-to-face interactions with hotel staff and minimize the risk of spreading germs or disease. In addition to being more hygienic, contactless check-in can also save guests time and streamline the check-in process, making it more convenient and efficient.
The most critical component of contactless check in lies in payments and digital authorizations enabling guests to complete all payment processing, passport scanning, etc. from their mobile device without the need for bureacratic paperwork upon arrival at their destination (i.e. your hotel).
What are the most popular contactless check in tools used by hotels?
We’ve surveyed 890 hoteliers across more than 53 countries to understand which are the best Contactless Check-in vendors, along with everything you need to know in order to buy the right Contactless Check-in for your hotel. We also aggregate key decision criteria data including integration availability, partner ecosystem, expert recommendations and more (learn more about HTR’s ranking methodology).
Choosing the right Contactless Check-in for your hotel depends on several variables some of which come down to personal preference but most of which come down to the characteristics of your property. Is your hotel a small property with limited budget? Or is your property a luxury resort with lots of outlets and high ADR?
The Benefits of Contactless Check-in Tech
Contactless check-in isn’t just a pandemic work-around: guests like the efficiency and convenience of managing their own arrival process. And, hotels can save time and money by adding technology to their check-in process.
Even before the pandemic, keyless entry was an increasingly important feature for travelers. According to survey data from Openkey,
- Keyless entry leads to an average increase of 7% in guest satisfaction scores
- Guest satisfaction scores drop by 50% when there’s a 5-minute wait at check-in
- 46% of travelers say a mobile key solution is an important on-property feature for them
- 49% of travelers say “their hotel selection is influenced by high-tech features in the hotel room, i.e., mobile key.”
Likewise, hotels are able to run more efficiently through mobile check-in and keyless entry technology. Mobile check-in saves time and effort for staff, as documentation, T&Cs, and on-site offers can be sent to guests pre-arrival. Mobile check-in solutions help hotels gather customer insights about their guests: learn what their preferences are with a pre-arrival questionnaire, and see which offers and amenities a guest chooses to learn about before their stay. It’s also a simple way to send through upsell offers, highlight on-site features, and capture ancillary revenue without having to meet face-to-face.
Tips for Making Check-in at Your Property Contactless
With the right technology, implementing contactless check-in is relatively painless. It does, however, take some proactive communication with guests so that they know what to expect before arrival.
Send pre-arrival emails detailing the check-in process and what security measures your team has put in place on-site. This email should accomplish two things. First, it should reassure guests that you are taking their health seriously. Second, it should give guests step-by-step instructions for how to check-in through their mobile device or onsite kiosk, as well as how they will receive their room key. Share this information at least 12 hours before their arrival.
Make sure to send information about every step of the arrival – including whether there will be a valet, what the mask requirements are, and if someone can expect to have their temperature taken and recorded.
When the guest arrives, make sure that there’s clear signage to let them know what to do next. Provide the same step-by-step check-in instructions that you sent via email. Include directions to find different areas of the property and to help guests learn how to use keyless entry. And, of course, provide hand sanitizer stations throughout the lobby.
In the post-COVID hospitality industry, implementing contactless check-in has become increasingly important for hoteliers, providing peace of mind for both hotel staff and guests. Contactless check-in reduces the need for physical contact during the check-in process, and hotel guests can use their mobile phones to complete the digital check-in process, rather than filling out a registration form at the front desk.
Hotels like Hilton have adopted new technologies such as mobile apps, QR codes, and kiosks to enable mobile check-in and generate a check-in link for guests. With mobile check-in, hotel guests can access their guestrooms and use their mobile devices as a digital key, eliminating the need for a physical registration card or room key.
Contactless check-in is a touchless and self-service process that improves the guest experience by providing a more personalized and efficient check-in experience. Hotel staff can focus on delivering better service and personalized recommendations instead of managing the check-in process. By integrating contactless check-in with the property management system, hotels can streamline the entire check-in process and reduce the need for concierge and front desk staffing.
Overall, contactless check-in is an essential feature in the "new normal" hospitality industry, helping hoteliers to maintain social distancing, while improving guest experience and reducing costs. By adopting contactless check-in, hoteliers can leverage the latest mobile technology to offer guests a more efficient, convenient, and personalized check-in experience, while ensuring the safety of guests and hotel staff during the ongoing pandemic.
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