Today’s hotel guests want fast, frictionless guest experiences. Gone are the days of waiting in line, relying on physical keycards, and visiting reception every time you need something. Research shows that 52% of guests increasingly prefer digital service encounters over face-to-face interactions with staff – this number is only predicted to increase.
Digitization is happening all around us. Whether checking in online for a flight, tapping a digital wallet to make purchases, or even standing in Disney World’s new virtual queues, the world is increasingly becoming powered by our mobile devices – and guests now expect the same in hotels.
Digital check-in experiences have increased by 66%, and this year alone, 55% of hotels plan to offer mobile check-in. For hoteliers, digitizing the guest experience and making the leap to virtual check-in is a no-brainer. It’s fast becoming a case of keeping up with guests’ digital expectations or risk falling behind.
The hotelier’s guide to a successful virtual reception launch
So, you’ve made the leap, switched to digital check-in, and you’re ready to start welcoming guests (virtually) through the door. What’s next? Here’s our guide on ensuring your virtual reception launch is a success – and how to support guests checking in virtually for the first time.
Let guests know you now offer mobile check-in
Approximately three-quarters of travelers state that making reservations and checking in and out from a mobile device is important. So the first step is to let guests know that your hotel offers mobile check-in.
Guest engagement starts with a welcome email, so highlight your new virtual reception services and the benefits in initial guest communications. It’s also a good idea to include a link to the app so that guests can explore and familiarize themselves with it before they check-in.
Guide guests with mobile check-in instructions or a step-by-step guide
Despite the clear appetite for digital guest experiences, virtually checking in to a hotel is still new to many guests – so ensure they have all the support they need in the hotel lobby. Clear, comprehensive infographics guiding guests on how to use the lobby kiosk or their mobile device is essential. It can also be helpful to include tips and even arrows signposting check-in kiosks for new guests.
Incorporate into other marketing strategies and channels
There are plenty of other ways to spread the word and encourage using a hotel’s new virtual reception.
- Website homepage: Promoting mobile check-in and virtual reception kiosks on your website is a great way to boost engagement and even drive more direct bookings. For guests exploring your hotel online, knowing you offer digital check-in could be the difference between a booking and a guest looking elsewhere.
- Front desk: For guests still keen to visit the front desk, gently remind them that mobile check-in is available with a sign or infographic. When asking about breakfast options or check-out times, let guests know there are mobile-friendly solutions available should they want to use them.
- Rooms: Include a strut card in every room to remind guests they can use their mobile devices for in-room dining, to extend check-out, to request more linens, or book a treatment at the hotel spa.
- Social media: Nearly 60% of the total global population uses social media – so unsurprisingly, it’s a crucial part of any hotel’s marketing strategy. Be sure to promote your virtual check-in services across your social media channels, detailing special offers available through the app, and letting guests know exactly what they can do through the virtual concierge services.
Pay attention to the latest integrations
Recent research shows that the most important features in a hotel mobile app are the ability to book, modify, and cancel reservations; redeem loyalty points, coupons and discounts; request services; make payments, and control in-room entertainment.
Today’s virtual reception technologies extend far beyond digital check-in – so ensure you’re taking full advantage by keeping track of the app’s latest integrations. At Virdee, we’re continuously partnering with innovative companies to provide our clients – and their guests – with all-in-one, turnkey solutions that elevate the guest experience. For example, partnering with CLEAR enables easy and secure identity verification for guests, whereas integrating Crave Interactive’s digital services allows guests to order room service or book the spa at the touch of a button.
Once you’ve launched a virtual reception service, we’ll update you on the latest partnerships and integrations that may benefit your business. So you can rest assured that you’re always offering guests the latest, most advanced digital experiences.
Utilize guest trends and industry insights
For hoteliers, driving guest loyalty is important. How do you do this? Pay attention to what guests want. Aspects that made an excellent guest experience three years ago may land differently today, and what guests prioritized in their hotel journey last year may have already changed.
Keeping on top of industry topics and self-service trends is crucial. There are plenty of industry reports and newsletters to track that provide hoteliers with valuable industry insights, but don’t forget to take advantage of available guest data too. You can easily view and analyze guest purchases, requests, and patterns through mobile check-in apps, enabling you to provide a more personalized stay for repeat guests.
Virdee: The leading all-in-one guest experience solution
With Virdee, upgrading your hotel to offer virtual reception and concierge services has never been easier. We pride ourselves on providing clients end-to-end customer service that doesn’t stop after installation. Whether it’s letting you know about the hottest industry trends, highlighting the latest integrations that will benefit your business, or providing marketing tips, we’re here to ensure your launch is a success.
For more tips, support, or infographic instructions template to download, visit our guide on how to launch a virtual reception service successfully.