Hotels Can Benefit From Self-Service Kiosks
By Tina Stehle Senior Vice President & General Manager, Agilysys Hospitality Solutions Group | May 19, 2010
Enhanced customer service, reduction to staffing costs, and a better utilization of hotel resources are just some of the hotel benefits obtained by successfully implementing self-service kiosks. Many customers are already accustomed to using self-service alternatives for airline check-in, rental cars and supermarket check-out. Today, customers are demanding the same convenience and ease of use in the hotel check-in process.
Changes in consumer attitudes and in the technology itself have brought about a general acceptance of self-service both in terms of ease of use and overall comfort level. Customers are demanding choices and convenience in order to maintain control over their experiences.
Self-service kiosks are changing what guests expect from their hotel experience and what hotel operators expect from their technology. The demand on many hotel operators is to run on thin margins while simultaneously having to address issues like systems integration, occupancy and customer service levels.
Self-service can boost guest satisfaction and hotel efficiencies when deployed well. Kiosk check-in and personalized service are not mutually exclusive. In fact, kiosk check-in is another avenue for hotels to provide a service alternative that an increasing number of guests demand. Not providing this alternative as a critical component of the hotel business strategy will only impact the guest satisfaction levels and may alienate well-traveled guests.
For hotel operators, the ultimate goal is providing guests with a high level of service. How that service is provided, be it through a quick and easy self-service experience or through interaction with someone at the front desk, is less important than the guest's satisfaction and the delivery of the desired service. Self-service can help hotels deliver that service efficiently, accurately and with high customer satisfaction. Service should not be defined by the amount of time guests spend waiting in line. Hotels face distinct periods of heavy activity. Those periods can be more efficiently handled by offering guests a self-service alternative.
Hotels ultimately want their agents to be less transaction oriented and more customer service oriented. Hotel guests now have a choice whether they want to visit the front desk or use the kiosk to expedite their arrival and departure. This translates to fewer agents behind the desk, allowing them to assist guests in other areas. With today's traveler exposed more and more to the do-it-yourself option, hotels can provide alternatives to their guests.