How to speed up and improve the hotel check-in process

29th January 2020

hotel check-in process

The importance of a speedy check-in

First impressions are lasting impressions and this is particularly important for hotels. On arrival, guests are usually welcomed by staff at reception to go through the check-in process. However, this process is not always smooth and the relationship with hotel guests might start off on the wrong foot (as Michael McIntyre reflects in his show). 

Research clearly shows that a 5 minute wait to check-in lowers guest satisfaction by 50%. We live in a fast-paced world and mobile technology has accelerated the way we consume content, spend money, communicate and travel. While it wasn’t the case just a few years ago, online check-in is now a standard process when taking a flight, via the mobile app of an airline.  Checking-in is now as easy as simply tapping twice. 

Serviced apartments and properties listed on Airbnb are increasingly adopting self check-in solutions to make it easy and quick for guests to access the space they have booked and enjoy their stay. 

The shift towards mobile technology

Hotels who aim to offer a superior guest experience and streamline their operations while avoiding queues at reception, can leverage the power of mobile technology. According to, by 2021 mobile app downloads worldwide are expected to reach 352.9 billion per year.  Clearly solidifying mobile technology’s position as the way of the future. 

Of course, superior guest service will always involve personal interaction, but hoteliers who evolve with this shift toward mobile will also be able to provide instant access and self-service options to guests, particularly millennial's, desire.

There are even hotels who have taken a step further and, to reduce costs and be more efficient, 'employed' robots rather than people to look after their guests, as Spencer Kelly shows in the episode of BBC Click where he visited Henn Na Hotel in Tokyo. 

PMS integration and digital door key for a seamless arrival

Mobile apps can enable a truly seamless arrival experience for guests. Through integration with the hotel’s property management system (PMS) check-in can be done pre-arrival on the app to avoid waiting around or queuing at the front desk. This, combined with a digital door key contained within the app, allows customers to go straight to their rooms upon arrival. 

The ever-increasing integration of systems and data within the hotel industry is making it possible for mobile apps to become the platform that brings all these connections together and presents them to the customer. In-app check-in, for example, is made possible by integrating mobile apps with the hotel’s PMS.

Services like Impala are making this connectivity increasingly simple by allowing easy integration with the most common PMS's such as Guestline, Suite 8, Oracle, Mews, Clock, Sihot and Protel. Data is extracted from the PMS and displayed for the guest, with two-way connections guests can access live hotel rates to book their stay through the booking engine. Requiring less technical involvement from the hotel while driving more sales opportunity.

By connecting with lock and entry systems such as Assa Abloy, a hotel app provides keyless room entry. And by integrating with Google Maps, social media and review platforms like TripAdvisor, trip planning, information and picture and review sharing all become accessible in one single platform, guests’ own device.

This makes guest's arrival easy and stress-free, enhancing their experience from the offset. From the hotel’s point of view, a hotel app frees up front-of-house teams who can then concentrate on providing hospitality and guest service, instead of performing repetitive admin tasks. It also provides enhanced data and analytics on how guests are engaging with the hotel.

Overall, mobile apps allow independent properties to achieve the same customer-facing technology prowess that big branded hotels provide, without expensive in-room technologies. 

Case study | Hilton Honours

Hilton Honors app allows guests to check-in, choose their room and open their room door, all on their mobile device. Removing the need to physically check-in frees up the front of house staff to concentrate on enhancing the guest experience. "We are able to come out from behind the desk and provide more hospitality,” said Stuart Foster, Hilton’s VP of global marketing.

How Criton can help you

Criton is an award-winning technology provider which enables hotels and serviced apartment operators to take the guest experience to the next level with a sophisticated mobile app. Criton helps hotels to streamline the entire guest journey and maximise in-stay revenue. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your business. 

book a demo

Download Criton Demo app
Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store