Is Humanless Reception the Next Big Thing?

With the boom of technology changing the face of hospitality industry, it is slowly turning into an unquestionable requirement for hotels to be able to connected to their more and more tech-savvy guests at all times. The hospitality industry is induced to offer higher level of personalized experience like never before and meet the growing expectations for value, quality, flexibility and responsiveness.

Some hoteliers have even taken a step ahead. Now there are unmanned hotels, or at least the only people there are the guests. You may say it isn’t possible, but it is – at the Henn-na Hotel in Japan, guests are serviced by robots, and at the Buddy Hotel in Munich, guests are greeted by a hotel kiosk instead of a receptionist to assist them in their check-in, getting a room key, etc. Yet another example that can be considered is that nowadays hotel management softwares are providing in-room tablets are no longer restricted to luxury hotels. This new innovation tremendously transforms the manual check-in & check-out process, gets rid of the paper thus making digital a reality for mid market hotels & witness luxury on the other end.

Is this the future? Perhaps it may be, however the question is “Can a hotel technology replace the human factor in the hospitality industry?”

We can undoubtedly say that these new type of hotels are an example of extreme digitalization in the search for competitive differentiation or a low-cost business model. But the fact remains that use of hotel kiosks and various in-room tablets is on the rise across the hospitality industry. Recent surveys show the main driving force behind this phenomenon is strive for boosting guest service and satisfaction. With a hotel kiosk or in-room tabs, the options for guest engagement can encompass every aspect of a guest’s journey from booking a room and checking in to the use of various extra services and checkout.

And all these hotel self-service innovations don’t necessarily replace the manned front desk. Despite what might be expected is that it can supplement it.

Guests not only have a direct control over their stay at their fingertips, but will effectively skip all tiresome queuing in the line at the front desk. And that’s not all. Nowadays guests can use in-room tablets or hotel kiosk to:

  • Select their preferred room
  • Opt for an upsell of a room, package or extra services
  • Check-in and get their room key cards
  • In-room tablets give excellent opportunity to raise room service, food or other miscellaneous requests without having the need to pick up the hotel landline. Also one can fully take advantage of the automatic lights control.
  • Check and settle hotel and restaurant bills
  • Use digital concierge and get real-time content with weather and flight information, entertainment options, local event updates, area maps etc.
  • Connect with the hotel staff via real-time messaging service, e.g. clean room requests, personalized food order requests, do not disturb etc.
  • Leave guest feedback or review of the hotel

At the point when all the exhausting formalities of check-in are addressed in a few clicks by the guest themselves, a receptionist can have much more time to properly attend to the other guests’ needs and with more ‘human touch’ too. The end result of this collaboration between hotel personnel and technology is more than positive – it is a success story of elevated guest experience and greater than ever sense of customer loyalty to the brand. Therefore, the face of the hospitality industry is changing rapidly as it holds one of its key segments – the unique personal touch of various hospitality brands.