Most guests want contactless check-in. Here’s why it’s good for them and good for hotels.

Nobody likes to queue. And that’s certainly true for hotel guests — particularly at check-in when they’re tired, possibly jet-lagged, and eager to get to their rooms. Of course, for hotels, minimising those queues isn’t always easy during busy periods, or when they’re dealing with staff shortages. 

Which is where contactless, pre-arrival technology can help.

How contactless tech improves the guest experience?

Pre-arrival check-in is now commonplace at most airports, but the hotel industry has been slow to catch up. That’s despite the fact that, according to recent research, 73% of travellers want to use their mobile to manage their hotel experience, including checking in and out.


So how does pre-arrival technology work for hotels? 

Around 48-hours before arrival, a hotel sends the guest a link that lets them check-in on their mobile device. Typically, the guest just needs to provide photo ID, their credit card details and then sign a digital registration card. 

There are no downloads and the whole process takes around two minutes. So, on arrival at the hotel, the guest can simply grab their key from the front desk and head straight to their room.

Big benefit to hotels 

For hotels, pre-arrival check-in platforms reduce contact time at the front desk — typically from five minutes to less than one minute. And as a result, that can cut down front desk workload by up to 50%. But there are other benefits, too. 

Platforms likeCanary Contactless Check-In’ let hotels offer customised upsells, such as early check-in, or a bottle of wine in the room, all before a guest arrives. Aside from an additional revenue opportunity, this early engagement can help hotels build rapport with guests and tailor their stay experience in a way that might not have happened during a busy traditional check-in.

In addition, some hotels are introducing key dispensers to complement mobile check-ins. In a typical scenario, a guest that has checked in prior to arrival is issued a QR code. When they arrive at the hotel, they simply scan the QR code on a digital console to receive their key — a truly contactless experience. 

Give guests the choice 

Most hotel guests want a faster and seamless check-in. But the kind of experience I’ve described above won’t be for everyone, which is why offering a traditional check-in process is still important.  

Ultimately, a pre-arrival check-in should support (not replace) what most hotels offer today. But if rolled out effectively, it can relieve the burden on your front desk team, reduce admin and paperwork, and turn what is often a transactional process into a more welcoming and personal guest experience.