As we live in the world of 2022, there is no doubt that technology has made our lives more convenient by changing the way we do many things. It does change how many businesses operate nowadays, the hotels have no exception to it.
Looking at the hotel industry perception, the way guests check in to the hotel has changed as well. There is a surge that hoteliers finding reasonable contactless service technology ever since the Covid-19 pandemic took place. Hence, there is no surprise if the hotel self-check-in kiosk becomes a big trend in the hotel industry.
The graph indicates the increasing trend of bookings made via hotel kiosks. Softinn has been seeing an increasing trend in the number of bookings and sales collections through hotel kiosks. Up until July 2022, the hotel kiosks have served 23% of hotel reservations. We are expecting more demand for hotel kiosks in a couple of months as we believe the automation made the hoteliers' life easier.
The Pros of Hotel Self Check-in Kiosk
Enhance guest experience
One of the major benefits of a check-in kiosk is that the hotel can prevent long queues at the reception counter. We have to admit that no one enjoys queuing. The manual sign-in form is no longer needed. Guests can simply check in using the hotel kiosk with their confirmed booking number, scan the IC or passport then get their room key. The existence of the hotel kiosks simplifies the entire check-in and out process while providing quicker services to the guests which in turn, increases customer satisfaction.
Increase revenue opportunities
Not only benefits the guests, but the ability to upsell hotel F&B, tour packages, and other extra services are also the green flag. Hotel management does not have to think about adding an extra headcount for promoting the hotel services. This can be easily done through hotel kiosk features. Hence, look for a kiosk vendor that provides the ability to upsell.
Reduce the headcount cost
While taking an extra headcount to provide 24/7 services at the reception counter is too costly, some of the hotels choose to have fixed check-in and check-out time. With the self-check-in kiosk, this is never an issue anymore. Imagine putting the self-service kiosk - a machine that works 24/7, assisting guest check-ins & outs and serving the walk-in guests.
Read also: 4 Benefits of Self-Service Kiosks in Hotel
The Cons of Hotel Self Check-in Kiosk
Even though technology is picking up, nevertheless, we can’t close our eyes to its disadvantages. So, what are the downsides of using the self-check-in kiosk at the hotel, and how to overcome them?
Lack of personal interaction and difficulty to use
While some of the guests are expecting a welcoming smile when entering the hotel lobby, it can be quite frustrating when it doesn’t meet their expectations. The less interaction will result in unhappy customers for those who love to have interaction, they might feel the hotel surrounding are a bit gloomy and have no human touch.
Besides that, not everyone embraces digitization. The self-service technology is user-friendly for those who are tech-savvy, but it will create confusion for those who do not have any idea about the self-service kiosk.
Malfunction and error
A machine is always a machine. The errors can occur anytime due to some reasons. It can be because of the loss of internet connection, the kiosk touch screen not responding, the system did not catch up with the bookings or it might be because of a user error.
How to overcome the downsides of self-check-in kiosks?
For the above reasons, that’s why some hotels are still retaining their hotels' front desk officers, especially during office hours. This doesn’t mean it is necessary for the hotels to hire a receptionist that serves check-in and check-out guests only, but it is crucial to have an officer to stay at the hotel especially during office hours to back up if such issues happened.
Other than that, there are many ways that you may consider such as:
- Make sure the hotel kiosk vendor that you choose provides you with such technical service and customer contact support
- While it is crucial to provide the best customer service to your guests, why not consider sending a welcoming message via WhatsApp before the check-in time and sharing the step-by-step video on how to check in by using the hotel kiosk
- Create a good atmosphere in your hotel lobby for example:
- Put some quotes and attractive artwork
- Turn on the music
- Provide an “Instagram-able spot” for the guests to take photos
- Display the phone number that can be contacted 24/7 if any emergency happens
Despite all the challenges, surprisingly, GM Hotel Sunway Metro not only provides self-check-in to their guests but also converted the hotel lobby into a Mart. The lobby is repurposed to welcome the hotel guests and serve as a convenient store. Such a good idea!
Hotels that are using self-check-in kiosks. What are their feedbacks?
Now the self-check-in hotel kiosk has been widely used by hotels in Malaysia. From big-size hotels - Resort World Genting (the first hotel in Malaysia that installed a hotel kiosk) to many more hotels including medium and small size hotels. Some of the hotels that have installed the Smart Hybrid Hotel Kiosk in 2021 are:
- GG Hotel Sunway
- Snooze Hotel Cameron Highlands
- Skyview Hotel Dengkil
Those hotels that have installed the hotel self-check-in kiosk at their hotel agreed that embracing the technology helps to level up their guests' experience while streamlining the hotel operations since it is connected seamlessly with the hotel property management system PMS.
Thank you to all of the hotel management systems and the hotel kiosk provider that makes this real. Still, there is always room for improvement. Some of the feedback that we heard from the hotel business owners above, they wish to
- Enable the cash collector instead of relying on payment via credit card, debit card, or e-wallets only. The cash collector can collect the room fees, collect and return the room security deposit, etc.
A kiosk with a cash collector is way pricey compared to a kiosk without a cash collector. There is also a concern about the room charges with “cent”.
- Support hourly check-in. Now the kiosk can only support daily check-in.
- Ability to extend & shortened the stay.
- Ability to check in early or check out late. The system can auto-detect how many charges the guests should pay if they are trying to check in earlier than the actual time or request the extra charges to the guests if they return the key card and check out late.
It is widely agreed that hotels that embrace the benefits of check-in and check-out kiosks will gain an edge over their competitors. Of course, there are also some that still look at the traditional way of check-in. It is depending on what kind of service and customer experience the hotel wants to provide and how efficient hotel operations want to be.