Check-in is a key moment in your guests’ stay. This first impression can shape how they feel about your property – something which can then influence both the entire stay and their final review score.
In this article, we’ll talk about hotel online check-in systems, and six key features that can really make the most of this first interaction.
1. Keep the welcome personal with automated check-in
When you break it down, what actually is check-in? It’s the moment your guest is welcomed to the property, but it’s also the time they sign all the necessary documents and you take a record of their stay.
What if you could cut the paperwork out of the process without losing the human touch? That’s what hotel online check-in systems offer. Guests can sign documents online with a digital signature, via desktop or mobile. This means when they arrive, all you have to do is give them a warm welcome and get straight to providing them a personal experience. Plus, it’s a whole lot less scanning, copying and filing for you.
This may sound fanciful or futuristic, but bear in mind that people are increasingly used to checking in for flights online – so it’s not as foreign a concept as you might think. The more properties that adopt this technology, the more expected this will become.
2. Give guests peace of mind with secure payment
Just like signing documents, entering payment details is a part of check-in (or out) that can be streamlined. And just like signing digital documents, typing out credit card details is something that most people are now used to.
With check-in technology, your guests can put in their payment information ahead of time – so that part of the admin is sorted. They can then enjoy their stay without thinking about the money side of things.
This brings an added benefit for you. Once guests have entered their details, they’ve already bought into the idea of staying with you, so they’ll be less likely to end up cancelling. That’s a win for your guests, and it’s a win for you.
3. Avoid misunderstandings by finding out guest arrival times
You’ll know from experience that when guests turn up at an unexpected time, it can cause problems. With hotel online check-in systems, your guests let you know when they expect to arrive, so your staff can be ready to welcome them.
On top of this, there’s also the option of getting more information from your guests before they arrive, such as dietary requirements, room needs or questions about your location. Knowing these details before the guest arrives is key to creating a tailored experience for them. In turn, this will most likely be reflected in their reviews at the end of the stay or even provide you with upsell opportunities.
4. Share information with local authorities instantly
Depending on where your property is located, you may have to share guest details with local authorities. That can involve scanning ID documents, finding the files, sending them – and if you’re doing that for all your guests, it can end up being quite a chore. What’s more, you’re handling sensitive, personal data, and with the current methods, it can fairly easily fall into the wrong hands.
With some check-in technology, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle in this area. Guests are asked to share a scan of their passport or ID document before arrival – something which, just like check-in, people are more and more comfortable doing through secure online systems. Then, all you have to do is click a button and all the necessary information is safely shared with your local authorities – and you can get on with looking after your guests.
5. Eliminate hassle with keyless entry
Room keys have always been a part of hospitality. But a world without them is also possible – and maybe even preferable.
With check-in technology, you have the option to get rid of your keys – along with the stress of organising and replacing them when they get lost. Instead, guests receive a code which they can use to open their rooms after checking in online. As a result, they don’t need to keep track of their keys during their stay, so it’s one less thing for them to carry around when they’re out and about. Also, if you’re already using a swipe-card system, you’ll know that guests can often forget their room number because there’s no indication on their room card.
With keyless technology, you can instantly solve both those problems and minimise hassle.
6. Ensure clarity with customised communication
Online check-in technology is about checking guests in, but it’s also about communication and establishing a relationship before a guest’s arrival. It gives you the opportunity to share information with upcoming guests about whatever you think could be relevant or beneficial for their stay.
Firstly, there are obvious details like check-in times and driving directions that can help ensure a smooth arrival. But aside from that, check-in technology also gives you opportunities to increase your revenue. For example, if you have a spa, another paid service or even a collaboration with a local attraction or restaurant, you can take advantage of the fact that you’ve already established a dialogue to promote it. Often guests will end up spending money on those experiences as a result.
As you can see, a hotel online check-in system has the potential to really help you in your day-to-day. You can save time on scanning, printing and filing – but more importantly, you can shape your guests’ first impression of your property. With check-in technology, a smooth arrival and a paperwork-free process can really get the stay off on the right note – allowing you more time to interact with your guests on a personal level.
To find an online check-in option that’s right for your business, visit our App Store.
And if you’d like more information about what check-in technology can do for your property, have a look at our free e-book.