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Self check-in & out kiosks are transforming the guest experience: Are they right for your hotel?

Many hotels are introducing self-check-in kiosks but is the technology right for your property & do potential drawbacks outweigh benefits?

From supermarkets and airports to service stations and fast-food outlets, self-service kiosks are everywhere these days. And for good reason, they deliver the fast, convenient, frictionless experience that today’s consumer wants.

So, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of hotels are introducing kiosks that allow guests to self-check in and out. But is the technology right for your property, and do the potential drawbacks of the technology outweigh the benefits? Let’s dive in.

The Rise of the Self-Check-in/out Kiosk

According to a recent survey, 73 percent of guests say they’re more likely to stay at a hotel that offers self-service technology. And when it comes to the check-in/out experience, it’s easy to see why.

Digital kiosks are just plain convenient: by completing the check-in process themselves, a guest can skip the front desk and potentially reach their room faster than waiting in a queue. The same perks apply to check-out day.

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With fewer guests to check in and out, the technology also takes the burden off the front desk team. This in turn can give them the time to offer a more attentive experience. Digital kiosks are also able to reduce labour costs — automating a process that has traditionally required human oversight.

Kiosks can also help to drive ancillary revenue by automatically offering upgrades and services to guests. This is something that a front desk team can forget during hectic periods. And crucially, kiosks can gather data on guests (such as their purchase history and room preferences), which hotels can then use to offer more personalized recommendations and service in future.

Potential Drawbacks

Kiosks can be confusing for guests that aren’t familiar with the technology. That’s fine if you have staff available to help them, but a potential point of frustration if you don’t. Like any technology, kiosks can also experience technical glitches that inconvenience your guests and ultimately slow you down.

But perhaps the biggest drawback, is limiting human interaction. Yes, lots of hotel guests say they want self-service options. But there’s a balance to be struck and different preferences to be accounted for. That’s a decision for the individual hotel, but my view is that kiosks should never eliminate staff altogether. In the end, there’ll always be guests who value the personal interaction of a traditional check-in/check-out experience. In my experience the best way to deploy kiosks is to have ambassadors at the kiosks who can help guests check-in or for that matter with anything they need at all.

What do you think?

Self-check-in/out kiosks can genuinely enhance the guest experience and streamline a hotel’s operations. But what do you think?

Let me know if you’ve used the technology, what you think the potential drawbacks are, and how you think self-service can benefit hotels.

Previously published in technology4hotel HERE

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