Contactless technology is set to make guests feel safer as hotels slowly start reopening around the world. Here are six ways in which hotels can help guests decrease human contact, without compromising on the quality of service.
Hotel front desks are usually the first point of human contact for guests, however there was speculation that hotels might do away with front desks even before the global pandemic started. In 2018, automated check-in was considered by establishments as a way to reduce overall costs. Today, automated check-ins (and check-outs) can be used mainly to guarantee the safety of both hotel guests and staff. Allowing flexible check-in times in addition to automation can also reduce a bottleneck of people arriving at the same time, and will further enhance a contactless check-in experience.
2. Keyless room entry
It’s safe to say that all hotel guests in this day and age will have a mobile phone. It’s also safe to say that no one wants to wait in line to receive a room key, or use keys that other people have touched since Covid-19. Keyless room entry allows guests instant access to their rooms using a key on their personal phones. This has an additional benefit of removing factors like lost or broken keys. Franchises like the Hilton have been using digital key technology for years, and today it’s much easier and more affordable for smaller or boutique hotels to get on board with this feature of mobile technology.
One of the most important features of a front desk is enabling guests to ask for information, including about the city they’re in and what attractions to visit. Chatbots are a great way to make sure guests are being acknowledged, feel welcomed, and are able to ask the questions they want answered.
A chatbot can receive messages across platforms, including Facebook, Whatsapp and SMS and can respond to guest queries with predetermined responses. For example, a guest could ask the chatbot to send fresh towels to their room, and it would be able to process the request including the number of towels needed. If a guest has a complicated question that can’t be answered by the chatbot, it will automatically direct the query to a member of hotel staff.
4. Contactless menus and ordering
Contactless QR code enabled menus allow customers to use their own mobile devices to view menus and place orders. It’s as visually appealing as paper menus with food photographs and significantly reduces contact. QR menus were being used by establishments even before Covid-19 as Millennial guests prefer new technologies to be incorporated into their hotel experience. Online menus are also beneficial as they can be updated more easily than paper menus. Five star hotels have been providing iPads in each room to allow guests to browse menus but rapid adoption and development of QR or NFC driven digital menus have made this technology affordable and accessible to all hotels and restaurants.
5. Changing the room service experience
In-room dining, turndown services, mini bars and cleaning services are all part of the hotel experience, however these are all elements that require human contact. Many hotels are choosing to eliminate mini bars and cleaning services for the time being, and reducing contact in room service by leaving pre-packaged food outside guest rooms instead of bringing food in and serving guests. Cleaning supplies like disinfectant wipes can also be provided, guests can leave dirty towels in a basket outside their room if a change in towels is needed, and they can request cleaning services if needed.
6. Paperless and Cashless Bill Settlement
People around the world have been using credit cards in lieu of cash for a while now. Paperless payment systems go a step further by removing paper invoices from the equation. Guests can be sent their invoices via email along with a payment link and then pay by card to minimize human contact.
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