6 Ways to Elevate Your Hotel Check-In Experience
July 13, 2022
The check-in experience is often the first impression that guests have of your property. When you improve the hotel check-in experience, it leads to more satisfied guests. One of the easiest ways to welcome your guests, and help elevate your brand experience, is to improve your check-in experience.
Get with the Times
As you enter many hotel lobbies, you’ll probably observe a guest standing in line at a front desk, while a hotel front-desk clerk takes their information and enters it manually into their database. Sometimes they’ll even have to print out a form for a guest to fill out with actual pen and paper. All of this clerical work is happening while a guest has to hold their luggage or wrangle their children — frustration builds.
It’s 2022. These days, most guests are carrying smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Guests are becoming more familiar with new hotel technology. As a sophisticated hotelier, you can make their stay more convenient by allowing them to check in themselves, and it will also speed up your check-in process. This can often provide a more simplified, streamlined, and stress-free experience for your guests.
Always Make it Personal
The guest experience is what will make or break your brand. Nowhere is this more true than at the front desk.
The front desk should be staffed with people who are friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. You want to create a personal connection between your staff and the guest so that they leave with a positive feeling about your hotel.
Have guest services staff available to help create a more personal interaction, and greet guests — even greet guests by name! Be thoughtful about the team you put at your front desk, and ensure these are the all-stars who will put their best foot forward to represent your brand.
A Welcoming Environment
Hotel lobbies are often the first and last impressions that guests have about your hotel. The lobby is where guests check-in, where they wait for their rooms, and where they spend time lounging in the evening. It’s also a place where guests can feel comfortable or uncomfortable at your hotel.
Make sure your lobby is well-designed, welcoming, well-lit, and clean. Make sure the conditions of the hotel are consistent with the expectations you’ve set with your guests. For example, if you want to project a luxury brand image, then make sure there is no clutter on the desktops, no dirty carpets or walls, and no noise coming from other rooms or hallways that would distract from the guest’s experience.
The Small Details
Whether it’s a business traveler or a family of five, providing thoughtful amenities during guest check-in makes a big difference in how they perceive your hotel and the experience they have there.
Have additional amenities on hand, like room service menus and maps of the area. Don’t forget about the little things, like water or coffee for thirsty guests.
Treat them like they’re not just checking in but rather coming home. Make them feel welcome by showing them around and giving them tips on how to get around town.
Ask questions and listen to their answers. This will help you determine what they need while staying at your hotel and whether there are any additional services that you can provide them with (such as restaurants or attractions).
Keep it Speedy
When it comes to check-in, the faster you can get your guest into their room, the better. Efficiency and speed will help reduce stress levels, which is good for both you and your guests.
Be organized. Offer a separate sitting area for those checking in or out to wait or relax. Quickly provide all necessary information and have registration materials ready to go so there’s no delay in getting guests into their rooms.
Checking in can be stressful for any hotel guest when there are long lines or confusion with paperwork. Also, make sure that there are no surprises when it comes to charges, taxes, etc., by clearly explaining everything during the check-in process.
Train Your Staff
Your hotel is a reflection of your brand, and the customer service you offer is a key factor in determining your reputation. The way you treat guests at check-in can have a lasting effect on their overall experience with your hotel and brand.
Make sure the desk staff is properly trained to understand your hotel’s policies regarding check-in times, guests’ requests, etc. Train your staff to smile at guests and make eye contact with them when they are checking in or checking out.
The more you train your staff on how to effectively handle questions from guests, the more likely they will be able to provide a positive experience for all involved parties.
Given that your competitors are likely working to make their check-in experience as good as they can, you would be smart to do so as well. The more time, energy, and money that you invest into the check-in process, the better your hotel will ultimately be. Your guests will have a great time during their stay if you set them up for success from the beginning.
Partner at Longitude°
Jeremy is the author of Future Hospitality and Brand Strategist at Longitude°. As a member of the Education Committee for The Boutique & Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) and a content contributor to Cornell University’s Hospitality Vision and Concept Design graduate program, he is a committed thought leader in hotel branding, concepting, and experience strategy.