As a good host, we don’t want to keep guests waiting, whether in the restaurant, at the lift or – especially – at check-in. The whole check-in process should be completed in a manner of minutes, at which point the guest should have the key, their room number and any additional information pertinent to their stay. If, however, the front desk employee is too busy with the PMS system, this not only increases the duration of the check-in process but reduces the possibility of good communication with the guest as well as the opportunity to sell an upgrade or additional hotel services.
Ideal preparation and processes at the front desk is the way to go. Some processes can be improved through the implementation of modern technology. But sometimes a few simple tips that you can almost certainly do with your existing technology can reduce waiting time and improve communication with the guest.
During the night shift or the morning shift, assign most of the rooms for the expected arrivals that day. This way you are more likely to fulfill any special requirements of your guests, thus reducing check-in time and increasing guest satisfaction at the same time.
Tip 2: Pre-code keys and prepare registration forms
When pre-assigning rooms you can also pre-code the keys and print the registration forms so that the guest only needs to sign and fill out any missing information. Make sure that the registration forms are pre-filled out with all relevant data, even if the booking came from a third party. Again, this is not just a time-saver, it’s a good service for the guest as well.
Tip 3: Pre-paid Rates
Consider offering pre-paid rates. This means you may not even have to check the credit card number of the guest upon arrival. The guest may still need to sign the registration form and collect the key, but that’s about all.
Tip 4: Early check-in
The „night-before check-in“ is already common practice in the airline industry. But it can work for hotels too. Assuming the rate is pre-paid, you can generate the key and the registration form in advance and hand it to the guest even prior to arrival, for example on the airport shuttle or group tour bus.
Tip 5: Establish and follow standards at the front desk
Define exactly what information you want to provide your guests at check-in and train the front desk staff to provide this information to every guest. On one hand, nobody wants robots at the reception reciting scripts. However, a clear structure gives the employees confidence and enables a consistent check-in process as the employees don’t need to reinvent the wheel with each arriving guest.