Self- service is fast becoming the nation’s favourite way to interact with businesses. From supermarket checkouts to airports, self- service kiosks are being implemented in all industries for one reason or another and none more so than hotels in recent times.
The applications of self- service kiosks in hotels are numerous and it is no surprise to see hotels up and down the country introducing the systems. We’ve investigated a few of the most common applications for kiosks in hotels and here are our findings:
Check In, Out and Room Selection
The check in/out process wasn’t exactly broken in hotels – it was a familiar process wherein guests would approach the reception desk and confirm their arrival or departure; simple. However, self- service check in/out systems are now present in 81% of hotels up and down the country. This is of great benefit to the hotel itself as it relieves staff of the responsibility – it may not sound like much but on reflection it could make a great deal of difference.
Many hotels have guests from overseas staying frequently but the staff they employ may not have the linguistic skills to converse with these guests – this is problematic if they have special requests for their room or do not speak English at all. The kiosks have multi-lingual functionality meaning they can communicate with guests the staff may not be able to.
The kiosks also improve the efficiency of the overall process; reducing delays and giving staff more time to complete other tasks.
Room Key Dispense
Most hotels have moved away from the traditional key in favour of the digital card key system and encoding these keys can be a frustrating process for the staff. The kiosks in use today have the technology in built to encode the key and dispense it to a guest who has arrived for check in.
The kiosks also accept the keys upon check out to remove the encoding ready for future use – to ensure the keys are returned; many kiosks will not allow customers to check out until the key is returned in a similar fashion to multi story car parks. Around 63% of hotels use this system at present and that is set to rise dramatically over the next few years.
In tourist areas, guests often ask the staff for their guidance on how to reach certain parts of the local area or for their advice on where to eat/drink. This places much responsibility on the staff members that they may not be prepared for. The kiosk systems can not only advise guests, but they can also print off maps and information should it be required.
Most hotels have some form of loyalty bonuses for repeat visitors and the kiosks can be used to endorse their accounts at the check in/out stage- reducing the risk of human error – another efficiency bonus.
Even in this digital age, not every hotel offers free wifi for guests. Whilst this is irritating, these hotels will likely offer some kind of pay per use initiative which can be managed entirely by the kiosks.
Unlike some kiosk applications, hotels don’t appear to be looking to replace their staffing teams with machines as the experience could become too clinical. The functions the kiosks handle at present will likely be as far as the technology goes for now outside of the largest cities – efficiency is key.