The pandemic pushing hospitality tech revolution
The pandemic and lock-downs have left definite mark on the hospitality industry: most hotels around the world experienced a decline in revenue and occupancy levels, as well as the loss of trained staff.
Now, that the isolation requirements and travel restrictions have been lifted, hotels are facing a tourist surge, that is putting them in a challenging position. The demand is back, but finding qualified employees can be difficult. Therefore, recovering from that low point in an efficient and quick manner is essential for staying competitive and continuing to provide excellent customer service.
This is where leveraging technology can come in handy: digitizing standard procedures gives guests the possibility to use all hotel services at their convenience, reduces reliance on the front desk, and allows reception staff to interact with guests to provide personalized information, advice, and offers tailored services to meet their specific needs.
Top 5 reasons why all hotels should offer online check-in:
- Saving time: Checking in online eliminates the need for guests to stop at the front desk and wait in a line. The majority of guests prefer self-service over waiting to be served. In addition, when guests check in online, the front desk’s workload is reduced.
- Making it easy and convenient: Checking in online allows the guest to provide all necessary information prior to their arrival, from the comfort of their home, just like checking in on a flight. Guests will receive their room number and digital keys via e-mail or text message, allowing them to enter their room using their smartphones.
- Reduces dependency on staff: In times of staff shortage, online check-in relieves pressure on front-desk staff while providing guests a quick and seamless check-in experience they desire. It is also an excellent way to minimize contacts if social distancing is recommended.
- Selling extra services: Hotels that offer online check-in can use guest data to make personalized offers and sell extra services like transfers, tours or room upgrades to guests while they are planning their stay.
- Enhancing the guest experience: Using technology to automate time-consuming paperwork gives the front desk staff more time and opportunities to connect with customers on another level to provide a more personalized service that will exceed guest expectations.
What are hoteliers saying?
A Stayntouch/NYU Tisch Center of Hospitality survey conducted October–November 2021 revealed that 81.7% of the 525 hotels surveyed had already deployed at least one new technology during the pandemic and/or had plans to do so in 2022. Self-service check-in was the technological innovation that grew the fastest during the pandemic. According to hoteliers surveyed, technology enabled them to enhance the guest experience, and hotels should offer contactless experiences as an option to hotel guests so that the customers can choose what is best for them.
What are guests saying?
People’s familiarity with online services has increased as a result of the pandemic, and surveys show that many people now expect hotels to offer online check-in and digital keys instead of filling out paperwork as part of the standard check-in process. When arriving at a hotel, business guests expect quick and easy access to their room; millennials and new generations who have grown up texting and buying everything online expect service providers to have easy-to-use and up-to-date technology. According to a survey conducted by Hotels.com, 70% of guests prefer to use their smartphone to expedite check-in and services, and 67% of travellers are more likely to choose a hotel that allows guests to check in and open doors with a smartphone.
How can Hotelbuddy help?
Hotelbuddy provides hotels with simple check-in solutions that integrate with the hotel’s communication channels and invite guests to check in, book extra services, and prepay prior to their arrival. Using the Hotelbuddy web-based solution, the guests do not need to download yet another app on their phone. They can check-in online and receive their room number and digital keys via e-mail or text message, allowing them to enter the room with their smartphones.
To summarize, the adoption of contactless technology such as self-check-in is a trend that is expected to continue throughout 2022 and beyond as more hotels move towards digitalization to improve guest experience and meet evolving demands for prompt hassle-free solutions during their travel.