Why is the hotel online check-in experience so important? A guest’s arrival is the most impactful part of a hotel’s customer service journey, and anything that can simplify and optimise the check-in process can go a long way. Since the pandemic, guests prefer to use online check-in via a guest-app or a web-based check-in portal. The pandemic further amplified the need for contactless transactions and experiences, and the majority of millennials are also drawn to faster, more efficient hotel online check-in processes.
There are a lot of reasons hotels should offer online check-in, and we are going to discuss them one by one.
Why Is the Hotel Online Check-in So Important?
Every hotel’s goal is customer satisfaction, and a huge part of that is about simplifying the user journey.
Giving guests options, reducing wait times, direct guest messaging via an app, along with the overall check-in process can make or break a hotel’s ultimate guest experience and brand loyalty.
Below are some of the biggest reasons hotels should offer online check-in:
Address all guest’s needs and minimise wait times
Guest needs are now changing rapidly, and technology is no longer an addition but a must in this day and age. What guests need is something efficient, fast, and time-saving when checking-in online. If the guests have the option to take care of the check-in process before arrival, they can achieve a more straightforward, convenient arrival without having to queue up at the front desk.
During peak hours, guest have to wait in line before they get to finally settle into their rooms. If the guests are given the option to check-in online, wait times can be reduced significantly and customer satisfaction will be better achieved.
Using embedded payments with your Property Management System (PMS) can help hotels deal with one of the biggest problems in the accommodation industry– no-shows.
In the Pacific Islands alone, “hotels lose an average of $137,000 annually because of no-shows, and hotels that take payment only upon arrival experience 44% more no-shows.”
PMS platforms with embedded payments using Kovena can considerably help hoteliers reduce no-shows to improve online check-in processes. Kovena’s advanced payment system enables guests to pay for their stay before arriving at the accommodation.
Reducing contact with online check-in
Contactless transactions have become more and more imperative, especially because of COVID. Guests not only want convenience but safety, as well. As the guests go through a hotel’s online check-in process, hoteliers can use this chance to send important health updates and acquire necessary health documents (e.g. vaccination cards, etc.).
Hotel online check-ins can help guests and even hotel staff-members see your brand in a positive light in terms of health and safety while also helping your staff evade the delicate parts that may predominantly matter to some guests.
Offering a secure payment integration
Guests will always appreciate a frictionless payment process that is secure. Nowadays, many hotels are at-risk for identity fraud due to mishandling their guest’s card details. As a hotel, ensuring that your online check-in process allows guests to create a secure payment through a Booking Engine or Virtual Terminal, will enhance their experience and will build trust as they create they prepare for their stay.
When selecting a payment solution to offer for your guests, you’ll want to ensure they abide by Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). In order for a payment solution like Kovena to achieve compliance, they need to undergo and meet a number of stringent requirements in enforcing data security for the hotels it conducts business with.
The importance of secure online payments in the travel industry cannot be overstated. Countries that do not integrate secure payment technology and enhance their connectivity are bound to get left behind. In Europe for example, all online payments have to be authorized, so hotels can better avoid credit card scams, forged bank notes, and the like. Cash payments definitely carry more risk both for the guest and the hotel. Seamless online payments and integrations can indeed pay huge dividends in the hospitality sector.
Hotel online check-in systems can also detect expired or missing payments. It’s then easier to flag the reservation and have the payment method settled before giving access to the room. Integrated payment solutions can offer a whole range of benefits that can improve how the hospitality industry manages and secures payment.
Reduce overhead expenses
Human resources can take up a huge chunk of the overhead costs in the hospitality industry. About 30% of the gross sales in the hospitality sector go to payroll. Hotels Invest in hiring more front desk staff to avoid having customers wait in queue in order to promote the best guest experience possible. But a Property Management System (PMS) can help you take care of your check-in process seamlessly and easily help you eliminate the manual work if online check-in is provided, so your hotel staff can focus on providing guests with excellent service and support. When you’ve managed to automate the check-in process, employee training and productivity can be better routed to customer service, crisis management, customer retention, and overall customer relationship management.
Drive traffic to your Booking Engine
Guests can book their hotel stay using various distribution channels such as Booking Engines, Online Travel Agent (OTAs) or with travel agents. Since the online check-in system requires guests to check in online, this will increase the possibility of the guest visiting the hotel’s website. This is then a great opportunity to highlight the hotel facilities, room upgrades, and overall brand identity and may compel them to book direct for their next stay.
It’s also an opportunity for SEO as you tap niche keywords like “frictionless check-in” or “online check-in”. Being able to add these narrow, high-quality keywords can help you target users and potential customers who are looking for the exact check-in features and level of convenience that you offer.
Capture upselling opportunities
Non-room revenue is important for a hotels’ growth and their operations. However, some front desk staff might forget or feel hesitant to upsell and promote your additional offerings such as your restaurant or spa services during a guest’s stay. If the online check-in process allows the guest not only to check-in, but provides them with upsell opportunities, this will create a positive user experience as they await their stay at the accommodation.
Online check-in improves overall guest experience
Without an online check-in option, guests would have to approach the front desk upon arrival with their heavy bags to supply their personal details, follow the check-in steps, validate the room key, sign the paperwork, and make a payment. Investing in online check-in can make their arrival smooth and easy. Online check-in also enables hoteliers to send pre-arrival emails to start engagement and ideally gather information that can make their arrival extra special.
With the guest’s authorization, the hotel can even make express check-out possible. Guests won’t have to go through the front desk to settle the bill, and they can receive the invoice via email. This is an added convenience to guests who always run late, who don’t want to miss their departure time, and who have other things to attend to and can’t afford to waste time in long lines.
From the check-in to the check-out process, an online check-in/out system can make the guests’ hotel stay fluid and effortless.
The above-mentioned points are the core reasons hotels should integrate with a PMS with embedded payments. Kovena is an embedded payment solution that enhances and transforms how Property Management Systems (PMS’s) operate.
Contact us if you want to know which PMS system we can recommend for your hospitality business.