The hotel of the future will offer three primary ways for guests to check in. Which one(s) will your hotel choose?
Kiosk check-in. We all know this from the airports already and hotels often follow the lead of the air travel industry – albeit a few years later. Is a kiosk a sign of poor service? We think otherwise. A fast and simple check-in is always better than a slow and complicated check-in, especially when one has to wait in line.
Mobile check-in prior to arrival. We estimate that virtually 100% of your guests will carry a mobile device in the future, and the vast majority of these devices will be app-enabled smartphones. These guests will be able to check themselves in with their device, possibly choosing their own room number and then using their device to open the door, thus by-passing the check-in altogether. Good service? Absolutely! Guests want to be in control of the process and there is no better way to give them the control by building it into an app.
Roaming Receptionist Check-In. This is a slight variation on the traditional front desk of today. Instead of the guests walking to the desk, you walk to the guests, carrying your tablet computer. You can collect payment information, get the registration form signed (if these are still required in the future), generate a room key and send the guests on their way. This just might be the ultimate in service. Let your guests sit in comfy lounge chairs on in the bar while you check them in. Or take care of it in the hotel shuttle from the airport.
Will there be a fourth way? Comments welcome!