Can self-service fully replace hotel staff? And should it?
Our focus is on providing a good self-check-in service, and check-in is far from the only thing hotel staff does. For us, the approach is really to say that letting self-check-in handle the administrative process of check-in instead of valuable staff. Asking for the guest's name, credit card, your room is 250, here is your key, etc. does not provide “real value” for the guest compared to a self-service kiosk. Hotel staff should rather be used for more “valuable” tasks involving true interaction. This includes welcoming guests, show them to their room, answer questions and be generally available. So for us, the technology is really streamlining the process so that technology helps the staff rather than replacing the staff.
Streamlining the process so that technology helps the staff rather than replacing the staff.
A kiosk isn’t really contactless, you need to touch the screen to use it, how do you see that it can reduce the risk related to COVID-19?
The Coronavirus spreads through contact with people and when we touch objects. Being in contact, we know we need to wear face-masks, we need to do social distancing and for this purpose, kiosks are obviously really great. We know that the other issue is about touching objects, and the only answer for that is to clean your hands and have good operational procedures for staff to clean all common touchpoints in the lobby.
Only 10-20% of the overall check-in is actually about guest interaction
Does self-service take away the job of our staff and does it also take away the personal welcome the hotel industry is known for?
We like to say to the contrary! An average check-in takes 2 to 3 minutes. If you analyze these 2 to 3 minutes - how much of the time is actually dedicated to guest interaction? Hotels will be very surprised to learn that only 10-20% of the overall check-in is actually about guest interaction.
Most of the time is spent working on a computer to try the check the guest in, not a nice guest experience and not really great interaction between staff and guests. Our vision is that if we can take away admin tasks the guest can do better on his own we will find that he actually feels “in control”. The guest is also quite likely to enjoy the experience because it is digital and we like to do things ourselves.
So, we believe that if we can take away that admin time and ask the staff to exclusively focus on the guest experience and the guest interaction then we benefit from all of the advantages of the technology. We have great examples where our customers offer mobile check-in, a couple of check-in stations installed in the lobby, and the staff is no longer behind the desk, but in the lobby welcoming people and say “We are happy to see you in our hotel! If you need anything I’m at your service. How was your trip?”. This is much more valuable to the guest than watching the receptionist trying to find your reservation in the hotel PMS.