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Hotel Mobile Check-In: All Things You Need To Know

One of the trendiest technologies at the peak of the COVID-19 was undoubtfully hotel mobile check-in solutions. These solutions helped hotels offer non-contact options to reduce human interaction and became a lifeline for many organizations.

In this article, we'll take a deep dive into hotel mobile check in solution and explain the key benefits - and disadvantages of them.


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What Is Hotel Mobile Check-In?

Hotel mobile check-in is a type of self-service technology that allow your guests to check-in in advance - before arriving at your property. You can think of it as a kiosk. But in the palm of your guest's hand.

The amount of steps the guests can independently complete depends on the vendor you use, country regulations, and the hotel's own policy.

In general, the system functions more as a pre-check-in solution and would still require the guest to complete some steps upon arriving at the property. But that being said, there are solutions whereby the guest can complete the whole process independently, receive an encrypted mobile key on their mobile device - and bypass the reception.

How Does Mobile Check-in Work?

In general, mobile check-ins are deployed either as a hotel application or on a web-based platform that the guest can access using their web browser.

In most cases, guests would receive an individual link to their e-mail 24-48 hours before their check-in date. Once opened, the guest would often have to follow predefined steps, which often include:

  • Upgrade room, or add incremental packages.

  • Review their reservation details

  • Read and sign the terms and conditions.

  • Upload their passport or other identification documents.

Once the pre-check-in is completed and verified, then the guest usually receives a QR Code or confirmation letter which they can display upon check-in and thus, reducing steps when they arrive on the property.

In some cases, the guest will receive a personal identification code to access the room or an encrypted mobile key.

What Are the Benefits of Hotel Mobile Check-In?

Taking advantage of a mobile check-in solution comes with many benefits. We've listed our top three favorites below.

1. Create a Frictionless Guest Experience

Today's digital natives are used to getting their way, on their own terms. They're not afraid of using technology to increase their convenience and save them time. Offering an alternative to them to check-in at home increases convenience and reduces the time spent in queues when arriving at your property.

hotel mobile online check in solution process flow

2. Increase Incremental Revenue Through Add-Ons

It's important to seize every opportunity in the guest journey to increase revenue, and one easy way to do that is by providing a mobile check-in experience.

Similar to the airline industry, where you can add an additional bag, select more comfortable seats, or add priority boarding - hotel mobile check-in offers plenty of opportunities to sell add-on packages or room upgrades.

Consider this, one upgrade of 50 Euro per day can lead to an increase in revenue of over 18.250 Euro per year!

3. Decrease Operational Costs

There is a clear reason why the airline industry was the first to pioneer and pushed hard on online check-in. Namely, because it is an effective way to reduce costs. It helps airlines free up time for their staff and cut queues at the counters - a win-win situation. And this is equally applicable to the airline industry as it is to the hotel industry!

passenger at the airport using a kiosk

Are There a Disadvantages to Mobile Check-In?

As with everything, there are always two sides to the coin. Below are some of the disadvantages of mobile check-in that you should be prepared for.

1. Mobile Check-in Reduces Human Interaction

While we love the efficiency benefits of contactless technology, it ultimately functions as a method to reduce human interaction across multiple touch points.

Although many guests appreciate the empowerment of doing things themselves, some may not be as perceptive as others. If your hotel is known for its service standards, then an online mobile check-in can conversely harm the guest experience.

2. It May Leave the Baby Boomers Feeling Left Out

Keep in mind not all age groups may feel comfortable with digitalizing the hotel check-in process. Although solutions are often intuitive and easy to use, some of your guests may have limited technical knowledge which makes them unable to complete the process. As such, it could be a good idea to offer this solution as an alternative to the manual check-in procedures - rather than completely replacing the traditional check-in.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to hotel mobile check-in:

What Is a Mobile Key?

A digital key, or a hotel mobile key, is a key application inside a guest's mobile phone. The solution is often integrated into the hotel's property management system (PMS) and embedded in a hotel's mobile check-in solution, and allows guests to unlock their room door using Bluetooth or NFC technology.

How Do I Use Mobile Hotel Check-In?

Hotel mobile check-in solutions are easy and intuitive to use. Typically, the hotel will send out a personalized email to the guest 24-48 hours before their arrival. The link will either let them check in on their website browser, or direct them to the hotel's mobile application.

From there, it's just a matter of answering pre-defined questions, including verifying the booking, signing terms and conditions, and sometimes pre-authorizing the payment of the room.

Do You Need an App for Mobile Hotel Check-In?

Yes and No. It depends on the vendor that the hotel chooses. Some vendors have designed a mobile application where guests can check themselves into their rooms using their smartphones, while others let guests complete everything through their browser.

Is It Safe to Use Hotel Mobile Check-In?

Yes, they are very safe to use. Most solutions are hosted in a secure cloud environment. As for the digital keys, they are securely encrypted and stored within the mobile device's vault. They use a secure communication channel to transmit the digital key data to the door locking system to grant access and entry into the room.

Conclusion: Hotel Mobile Check-In: All Things You Need To Know

Hotel mobile check-in is a form of self-service technology that allows the guests to independently check-in in advance before arriving at the property. They are either accessible within a hotel application or using a web-based browser.

It comes with plenty of benefits, such as creating greater convenience for guests, adding extra revenue and decreasing your hotel operational costs. But there are also some downsides a hotelier needs to be aware of. Especially with regard to conflicts of service quality.

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