By Sophie Cartwright, Marketing Communications Manager – Guestline.
The swift acceleration of technology and adoption of mobile across the hospitality industry has influenced many areas of operations. Perhaps one that has seen the biggest step-change is the guest check-in and check-out. Both important and valuable parts of the guest journey that can create lasting first impressions and encourage repeat bookings.
Much of this change has been characterised by a more ‘self-service’ approach to manage the administration of a hotel stay by guests. Put simply, self-service can be defined as guests taking on responsibility for, and carrying out, tasks that historically have always been handled by hotel staff. This can include reservations, check-in and check-out procedures and F&B orders.
Looking more broadly, a self-service approach to customer service is well established in many industries including retail and more closely to home from a travel and hospitality perspective, airlines and fast-food outlets. Self-service offers operational efficiency, autonomy and with the continued maturation of the digitally-savvy, internet-first generations, experts predict it is here to stay.
It is important to bear in mind that whilst the rise in self-service continues and its functionality and capabilities develop, this does not mean operators have to abandon a personal approach to guest relationships. Quite the opposite. Self-service can and should be seen as an ally to the face-to-face guest experience, rather than a competitor. But whilst many operators recognise the benefits that self-service offers in terms of enhancing operational efficiency and supporting staffing gaps, how can they encourage guests to also consider and adopt it? The answer lies in understanding how, and where self-service can support each step of the guest journey so that it can be profiled accordingly:
Inspiration – Google My Business and OTAs are popular platforms for guests when searching where to stay so be sure to include details of any self-service options within any listings so they are aware from the very beginning
Reservation – Again as with inspiration be sure that any self-service options are clearly visible at the point of booking to once again ensure guests are aware and encouraged to adopt
Pre-arrival communications – Once booked this is the next opportunity for operators to follow up and showcase the self-service options available. This can include signposting where self-service kiosks are located on-site
Digital registration – To support guests who are new to the process of digital registration a short video to talk through how it works and its availability can help them familiarise themselves ahead of arrival. This can be shared either on the website or included in any pre-arrival communication.
Check-in – Any kiosk that you do offer must have clear instructions available and an intuitive guest experience to help ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible and support future adoption.
In-stay – Apply a self-service approach to F&B ordering by offering menus that can be viewed via scanned QR codes and secure online payment options via the EPoS system.
Check-out – Prior to a guest’s departure, consider sending the guest a departure email which includes details of mobile check-out options.
Payment – Likewise prior to departure ensure that guests also understand the options for settling their final invoice via a secure payment transaction that is either online and self-service or in person.
Post-stay communication – To go full circle following a guest’s departure, encourage guests to leave reviews of their self-service experience as part of their own reviews as a way to showcase to future potential guests.
To find out more about how Guestline’s GuestStay Kiosk can support you and enable your guests to take a more self-service approach the team will be at this year’s Independent Hotel Show which takes place at London’s Olympia on 16th and 17th October.
Please come and visit the team on stand 1338 to see the Kiosks in action.
Further information is also available on the Guestline website: Hotel Check-In Kiosk | Self Check-In/ Check Out Kiosks for Hotels