Self check-in? Where is the receptionist!

Finally! After weeks of pre-travel-fun, it is the day that you go and explore Amsterdam. To stay in a nice and comfy hotel and discover the museums from your bucketlist. You have booked the hotel, knowing for sure that your partner will be completely happy with: XO Hotels Park West. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, 4 stars, good reviews. You have of course reserved directly at the hotel, so you can be sure that you have the best price and your double bed is automatically guaranteed!

You drove to Amsterdam early and enthusiastically enter a long queue at the reception …. For real? Great minds think alike, don’t they? Other guests decided the same as you: to be in the hotel early, so you can spend a long holiday in this beautiful city. So many plans ….
After a quarter of an hour waiting, it is finally your turn. Your room is not ready for check-in yet, which is a shame. You leave your luggage in the luggage room and finally start your visit to Amsterdam!
Is the above an nightmare or reality?

Until June 2017, this was reality every day. Guests came to check in and check out at the same time and caused a long queue, even blocking the entrance, meters away.

A solution had to be found, because this was frustrating for both our guests and our receptionists.

The problem was fixed through automating actions at the reception. Not to replace receptionists, but to relieve them. The “kiosk” was copied from airports and railways. Instead of checking in for the guest, we now check in and check out with the guests. The kiosk will take you through the name / address details, the email address, checking the arrival and departure dates items. Instead of the receptionist who asks if breakfast or a late check out may be booked, the kiosk askes you. The room assigning, as efficiently as possible, is done by the kiosk. And you make the room key yourself. With an average of 3.55 minutes you are through the entire check in process.

Checking out is even faster; in just 45 seconds you are ready to leave for home or continue your journey.

Some guests find this system impersonal and devaluates the experience of “staying in a hotel”. Before we started this project, I shared this opinion. After an hour of reception service, I knew enough: we had to find a solution for this queue. As the guests check in and out themselves, we as “ambassadors of our hotel” have the time to give attention to guests who need help or want information about Amsterdam. Many companies have already adapted to this approach of the automation of simple, standard procedures, so that consumers can do this themselves much more efficiently. Just think of checking in at the airlines, railways or supermarket.

What do the receptionists think of it themselves?

Conchita: “The atmosphere at the reception is much more relaxed. Because you are standing next to the guest, instead of facing the guest with a desk in between, the feeling is different, there is no stress, it is more personal. ”

Luna: “The contact with the guest is better. Instead of the business handling of the reservation, I now have more time to have a chat ”

Aleksandra: “We are now checking in together with the guest. At a reception desk you soon have a hierarchical approach: I stand behind the desk and I am the boss. That is completely different now ”

This way there is always something to improve, with or without the help of automation. What will the next project be? Maybe a robot that can get us coffee!

Angelina Motzo, Sales/Marketing/ICT/Reservations Manager XO Hotels