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Will the hotels ever start charging for over the counter check in?

Will the increasing usage of technology in the hotels ever bring us to a situation where the hotels start charging their guests for over the counter check in? It is an intriguing question and we are certain that there are lots of opposing opinions out there. Although none of us carries a crystal ball, we would still like to try and do our best to anticipate what the future might behold. 

Aviation is always a step ahead of the hotels

If we take a look at the aviation industry then we see that online check in is not just an extension of a regular customer service, but it is actually made almost mandatory by most of the airlines nowadays. Alaska Airlines was the first to offer online check-in in 1999 and since then, a growing number of airlines have introduced the online check-in system. 

For some years following the initial release of the online check in system in aviation, it was still new to the passengers and often carried an additional cost and therefore was often overlooked by the customers. However the time went by and more and more people got more used to the online check-in, until in August 2006, a low-cost airline Ryanair started charging passengers to check-in at the airport, therefore reversing its policy of paying for online check-in. Today, Ryanair charges a whopping 60 EUR from those who fail to do an online check-in in time and need to do it at the airport check-in counter. 

The online check-in is becoming a new industry standard

The hotels have been technologically lagging behind the airlines for many different reasons, however the sector has seen a powerful growth of guest technology usage in the past few years and most probably the trend will only increase in the future. When more and more hotels are deploying online check in for the guests, it will probably quickly become a new industry standard and expected way of the service. Just remember- it was not too long ago when making a reservation online was only done by a minority of the people- a few decades ago most people would still be making their hotel reservations at the desk of a travel agency. 

The human resource is always more expensive

Once the hotel check in will be mainly done virtually, how far are we from removing people from the hotel reception desk completely? We would say that in due time we will see more and more fully automated hotels with minimal service and operations staff working in there. If our prediction is correct, it would also not be too far fetched to expect those hotels charging extra for on-site check in. Perhaps it will not be shown as transparently as Ryanair´s forthright check-in fees, however the guests will eventually pay for the higher staff cost, even if the fees are well disguised. 

What is your opinion? Do you think that the hotels will ever start charging the guests for showing up without a prior registration or will that be solely a feature policy of the airlines? Let us know by sharing this article and tagging us in your favorite social media channel. Or just get in touch for some industry talks and (virtual) coffee and/or if you are hotelier looking for a way to cut costs and offer contactless check in to your guests, then we’ll be happy to take you through our product.

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Projekt HotelBuddy on uudne lahendus hotellidele külalisteekonna digitaliseerimiseks ja automatiseerimiseks. EAS toetab projekti 270 645€ ulatuses “Perioodi 2014-2020 ettevõtja tootearenduse toetus COVID-19” meetmest.