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  • Writer's pictureAnu Metsallik

Reducing Stress for Reception During High Season: The Power of Online Check-In, QR Kiosks, and Mobile Keys

As the high season approaches, hotel managers brace themselves for the inevitable influx of guests. This surge can lead to long check-in lines, overwhelmed reception staff, and frustrated guests. While both guests and the management expect the Reception staff to provide excellent customer service, the reality can be very different: increased workload, longer working hours, more human mistakes, rising stress levels.

The best managers know that regardless of how impressive the hotel facilities are, it is the quality of customer service that ultimately defines the guest experience.

Therefore, during the high season, all managers should ask themselves: What can we do to ease the workload of the reception staff to keep the best employees from burnout and create the space for them to deliver exceptional customer service?

The integration of modern technology solutions like online check-in, QR kiosks, and mobile keys can transform these challenges into opportunities for enhancing guest satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Happy receptionists, happy clients!

Online Check-In: Minimizing Administrative Burden

One of the most significant stressors for reception staff during peak times is the repetitive and time-consuming check-in process. Traditional check-ins, which can take an average of 7 minutes per guest, and require the receptionist to complete afterwards the guest profiles (quite often still manually), update payment information and other comment fields. This ties up valuable staff resources that could be better utilized in delivering personalized guest experiences.

Benefits of Online Check-In

Guests can fill their profiles and add all required information in advance. This not only reduces the administrative work - knowing the guest preferences in advance helps during the room assignment (high floor, quiet room etc) and preparation of the arrival, reducing room changes and last minute guest requests that are difficult to accommodate during high season.

With guests filling in their personal information, making prepayments, and even upgrading rooms online. Receptionists are relieved of much of their administrative burden and can now assist guests in planning their best stay and give recommendations while they stop at the front desk.

By implementing an online check-in system, hotels can not only streamline their operations but also enhance guest satisfaction by minimizing wait times and making the arrival experience less administrative and more pleasant.

Guests can fill in all their personal data and book extra services before their arrival day.
Guests can fill in all their personal data and book extra services before their arrival day.

QR Kiosks: Cutting Down Check-In Lines

For guests who have not completed the online check-in process before arrival, QR kiosks offer an excellent alternative. In many cases hotels don't even have guests e-mail to send them the online check-in invitation e-mail.

QR kiosks at the lobby enable guests to check in using their smartphones, simply by scanning the QR code displayed. From a hotelier's perspective, Hotelbuddy's QR kiosk check-in offers operational efficiency and cost savings: by leveraging guests' own devices, you can save on hardware costs associated with traditional kiosks. As QR kiosk allow many guests to check in simultaneously, this alleviates further the pressure on reception staff during peak hours.

Advantages of QR Kiosks:

- Queue Reduction: QR kiosks help to eliminate long lines at the front desk, as guests can quickly and easily check in using their mobile devices.

- Increased Efficiency: With fewer guests requiring manual check-in, reception staff can focus on other tasks, such as handling special requests and resolving issues promptly.

- Guest Empowerment: Guests appreciate the convenience and speed of self-service options, which align with the expectations of modern travelers, particularly Millennials and Gen Z.

Guests simply scan a QR code to start online check-in on their phone.
Guests simply scan a QR code to start online check-in on their phone.

Mobile Keys: Enhancing Guest Convenience

The introduction of mobile keys takes guest convenience to the next level by allowing guests to proceed directly to their rooms and reducing wait times upon arrival. This feature eliminates the need for physical key cards and further reduces congestion at the front desk.

Benefits of Mobile Keys:

- Immediate Room Access: Guests can use their smartphones to unlock their rooms, open corridor doors, gym and spa entrances and even parking gates.

- Enhanced Security: Mobile keys provide a secure method for room access, reducing the risk associated with lost or stolen key cards.

- Seamless Integration: Mobile key technology integrates seamlessly with online check-in and QR kiosks, creating a cohesive and streamlined guest journey.

Guest Communication: Enhancing Guest Experience

Another helpful tool for making your guests happy and your Reception more effective is to improve guest communication and look into automated messaging systems.

Most common guest inquiries (FAQ) include

- Requests for additional amenities (e.g., extra pillows, manipulating the AC).

- Information about service times (e.g., breakfast, gym opening, checkout).

- Recommendations for activities and restaurant bookings.

HotelBuddy’s chat feature enables guests to communicate directly with the Reception staff and vice versa. For guests, this means prompt answers without the need to approach the Reception desk or start looking for answers in the hotel directory. The Reception can send guests instant messages asking them questions, informing them about important events happening in the hotel and eliminating language barriers while crafting well-written messages in different languages.

Designating a separate person, such as a reservation agent or a guest services manager, to handle chat questions can ensure that guest inquiries are promptly addressed, even when the reception desk is busy.

It is important for hotel managers to remember that younger generations have grown up with technology and find it indispensable. Your introverted young receptionist who may still be shy in face-to-face communication can excel in written interactions and chat, providing prompt and professional responses to guest inquiries.

Chat is the preferred communication channel of younger generations
Chat is the preferred communication channel of younger generations

Express Check-Out: Streamlining Departures

Providing express check-out options can greatly enhance the guest experience while reducing the burden on reception staff. Guests can check out on their phones through the HotelBuddy web app and automatically receive an updated invoice generated from the PMS. HotelBuddy also prompts guests to rate their stay and leave a review directly on TripAdvisor. In the case of negative experiences, comments are forwarded to the hotel for a prompt follow-up.

Implementing a Holistic Digital Solution

HotelBuddy's comprehensive digital solution, which includes online check-in and check-out, QR kiosks, mobile keys, and guest communication tools, exemplifies how technology can revolutionize hotel operations. This platform is designed to seamlessly integrate with your existing PMS and door lock systems, providing a digital layer to your guest experience.

We automate all the non-value adding tasks to give you more time for meaningful engagement with your guests.

Key Features of HotelBuddy:

- All-in-One Admin Tool: Manages guest profiles, inventory, orders, and tasks from a single dashboard, providing a holistic view of hotel operations.

- Guest App: Enables guests to check in, pay, unlock their room, order services, communicate with staff, and check out all from their mobile device.

- Paperless Operations: Reduces environmental impact by eliminating the need for printed registration forms, paper invoices and plastic key cards.

Hotels that have adopted these technologies have reported significant improvements in both guest satisfaction and operational efficiency.

We invite you to read our case studies conducted with 5 Estonian hotels during the lowest season (1.01.2023-29.02.2024) for more insights and detailed results.

Ready For the High Season?

The high season doesn't have to be a stressful time for your Reception staff. By embracing modern solutions like online check-in, digital keys, and efficient guest communication, hotels can significantly reduce administrative workloads, shorten check-in lines, and improve overall guest satisfaction. As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, staying ahead with innovative technology is not just a competitive advantage—it's a necessity.

For more information on how to implement these solutions and transform your hotel's guest experience, please send us a email or book a discovery call!


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