In the pre-pandemic world, limiting touch points was all about guest convenience and streamlining customer experience. Today, limiting contact points is more important than ever in providing a safe and healthy environment for your guests. Doing a few things to put your guests’ comfort and safety first is a great way to drive more bookings and more five-star reviews. So, how can you remove barriers and limit touch points (both physical and virtual) to get your guests checked in and settled in for their stays? Here are a few ideas to limit touch points at check-in without sacrificing customer satisfaction.
- Rethink housekeeping tasks and schedules
- Offer contactless check-in
- Provide Digital Key
- Communicate with staff via text
- Reorganize lobby layouts
Rethink Housekeeping Tasks and Schedules
How often does housekeeping enter guests’ rooms in your hotel? Before 2020, many hotels were already rethinking housekeeping tasks and schedules to reduce waste by eliminating daily room cleanings and allowing guests to opt in for cleaning and new linens when they needed them. You can make a similar update to your housekeeping tasks to decrease the number of times hotel employees enter guests’ rooms.
Some hotels have shifted their housekeeping schedules to clean guests’ rooms every other day or twice weekly, while others now schedule regular room cleanings only before check-in and after check-out to decrease potential contact and cross-contamination between guests and staff. Rather than daily room cleanings, you could have guests opt in for cleanings when they want a refresh.
This will not only decrease the number of times staff enter guest rooms in an average stay, but it will also free up housekeeping staff to spend more time cleaning common areas. This is a win on multiple levels because you want to provide a welcoming space for guests to relax when they’re not in their rooms. Paying more attention to shared spaces like the lobby, gym, and lounge areas will enhance your guests’ experience and improve overall safety. Further, if you have dining or lounge areas where guests enjoy breakfast, snacks, and/or happy hour, you can provide a better overall experience with enhanced health standards – without hiring more staff or adding to the burden on your current staff
Offer Contactless Check-In
Of course, while cleaner common areas and fewer touches in guests’ rooms are both great steps, what about check-in?
When you implement contactless check-in, your guests can bypass the front desk and go straight to their rooms. It gives them a more streamlined experience that’s tailored to their needs. Plus, since they won’t be checking in physically, they can breeze straight through the lobby and go directly to their rooms with no hassle and fewer touches.
Provide Digital Key
But mobile check-in is really only effective if you have Digital Key technology. Otherwise, your guests will still need to retrieve physical keycards from you, which essentially negates the point of mobile check-in. Instead, integrate digital key services, and you can take contactless check-ins to the next level.
With Digital Key, you can give your guests access to their rooms on their smartphones. Guests can go straight from the front door to their rooms. It’s a faster way for them to get settled in and start enjoying their stay. Plus, it eliminates several touch points at the same time. It works by sending an encrypted key to your guests’ smartphones when they check in, which uses Bluetooth technology to allow them access to their room. Instead of keeping up with keycards – which are easily lost and may pass through multiple people’s hands before they reach your guests – streamline check-in with digital key services.
Communicate with Staff via Text
You can also limit face-to-face interactions between front desk staff and guests by setting up a 24/7 texting portal for customer service. This enhances the customer experience by allowing guests to ask questions, request changes to checkout times, and answer location-based questions – all without leaving their room. Guests love it because they don’t have to call or go to the front desk to address their needs, and it creates an overall safer and cleaner environment.
Reorganize Lobby Layouts
Tech upgrades aren’t the only means to limit contact points, though. Try remodeling movement flows in lobbies and other shared public spaces, using diagramming tools to fully visualize changes before you make them. You might be surprised at which layouts are effective at streamlining foot traffic and reducing touches – and which aren’t. Utilizing outdoor spaces has been one of the key tactics hotels have adopted. Adaptable spaces will also become even more common in order to be able to spread people out more. A large lobby can be broken up into different parts by moving furniture around and using dividers.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have been a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, but it highlighted a number of longstanding challenges for hotels and the hospitality industry. Keeping guests safe and healthy is essential, but we need to do it without inconveniencing guests or dramatically increasing staff burden. With these tips and technology like Digital Key, you can delight your guests, streamline their check-in experience, and enhance their safety, health, and security throughout their stay.
Want to learn more about what Digital Keys can do for your hotel? OpenKey is the leading provider of digital key services. Schedule a demo today to see how you can do more for your guests and your staff with Digital Keys