Self-service kiosk was invented in year 1977 by Murray Lappe, a pre-med student at University of Illinois. Students and campus visitors used the kiosk to find movies, map, directories and bus schedules. Over the years, new innovations like touch screen, internet, and embedded computing have helped bring kiosk to the mass market. It's now being used in shopping mall as a interactive directory, government office as a 24/7 counter service and etc. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has foster the adoption of kiosk in the hospitality business.
I found that, after interviewing my friends and family, most of them wanted contactless hotel experience post COVID. On the other hand, the hoteliers prefer to reduce close contact with their guest to reduce the risk. Now, there are many things a hotel need to consider before buying a kiosk. I listed below some of the items that you need to find out before deciding.
What you will need to consider before buying a hotel kiosk:
- Location where you plan to install the kiosk. Single locations? or multiple locations
- Space available. Kiosk comes in different dimensions. Find out types of Kiosk available.
- Ability to serve walk-in guest (for reservation and payment purposes)
- Ability to serve in-house guest (for room extension and check-out)
- Integration with your current hotel pms. Find out the types of PMS available.
- Integration with your current hotel door lock. Find out types of hotel door lock available.
- Fallback service. In the event of hardware failure, will the kiosk provide fallback service like emergency contact and system notifications.
- Service and support to perform maintenance on the hardware.
What kind of integrations are needed between the self-check-in kiosk with your hotel pms:
- Room availability integration. Kiosk will get the room availability and room rates from your hotel pms.
- Transaction recordings. Kiosk will need to push payment as transaction to the guest folio (in your hotel pms)
- Guest check-in / out integration. Allowing guest check-in /out using the hotel self-service kiosk.
- Room status. Kiosk will need to get the room status and also room status will need to be updated on the hotel pms upon guest check-in / out.
Why a hotel should consider adopting hotel self check-in kiosk now? Amid COVID-19 pandemic, most of the hotels are not operating at full capacity, this is the best time to upgrade your technology. It's hard to replace your PMS, train your team while your hotel is operating at full capacity, or at least it's not easy. Kiosk is proven to be effective in reducing cost while providing a consistent experience to your hotel guest. It's not a COVID pandemic solution, the kiosk will be useful (if not more) after COVID to serve your hotel guest when travel rebound.
I imagine more technologies like robotic and IOT will be used in the hospitality business moving forward. Hotel self check-in kiosk plays a vital role as it could later be upgraded to work as the key interface between your hotel and your guests.