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As many as 35% of hotel guests are now checking in to hotels using a
smartphone or other internet-enabled device, as the COVID19 pandemic
drives behavioural changes and guests become more aware to increasing
awareness of such technology.

P3 Hotel Software, Oracle Gold Partner and supplier of online check-in
and check-out software to the hotel sector, is urging the hotel
industry to increase guest education programmes as a way to increase
this take-up, delivering immediate social distancing benefits in the
COVID era and longer term benefits for the industry as a whole.

Data shows that usage of online check-in is running at an average of
around 35% across 100 UK and Irish hotels in P3’s client portfolio
that have adopted the technology, with take-up is as high as 72% in
some hotels. There is clearly an appetite for the technology, which
can be unlocked through the communication of the benefits to the end

Phelim Pekaar, CEO of P3 Hotel Software, believes that the way guests
engage with their preferred hotels has already changed, and that the
consolidation and promotion of that change reaps benefits both for the
customer and for the hotel owner.

Phelim said: “Online check-in and check-out have proven extremely
valuable in the period immediately post-lockdown – allowing guests to
be safe in an hotel environment and, more importantly, to feel safe in
that environment.

“Now we need to reflect the change seen in other, related, industry
sectors – such as air travel – where automated booking, check-in,
weighing, tagging and drop-off have been commonplace since before the
onset of the pandemic.

“This is about guest education – getting them used to checking-in and
checking-out online, dispensing with the traditional desk and
receptionist, introducing lobby hosts and ambassadors and saving our
guests time and complexity. We know that, already, online check-in
lanes can get keys in peoples’ hands within 15 seconds, as opposed to
three minutes for a traditional check-in, and online check-out means
payment by smart device, bypassing delays at reception altogether.”

For the hotelier, this is key to the guest’s speed of transit through
the lobby, for ease, for convenience and – in the current climate – to
keep them safe by so doing. It’s also about the customer experience:
getting guests out of queues, into their rooms quickly, and being able
to treat them personally and according to their stated preferences.
The partnership offered by P3 Hotel Software creates a marriage
between the technology and the human touch. The technology removes the
friction points, freeing time for hotel staff to engage with  the
needs of their guests.

As an added benefit, the information that the online check-in software
provides has been shown to enable better staff rostering – ensuring
there are enough lobby staff on duty at the times that they’re needed
and that the right number of rooms are ready for occupation exactly
when they are required by arriving guests.

Phelim Pekaar said that guest education programmes could include a
number of different communication elements.

“Staff – enabling them to communicate the benefits of online check-in
in the right manner in the lobby environment – visual and written
communication, online and in the hotel at point of arrival, electronic
communication from senior management, video content for social media –
all of these things are easily leveraged and can deliver the
step-change that is required.”

“There is no doubt that increased take-up of online check-in and
check-out can improve the guest experience and, at the same time,
allow businesses to operate in a more agile and efficient manner.”

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