The use and the demand for self-service check-in and out in the hotel industry has recently seen rapid growth; by 2017 PwC predicts that at least two thirds of all hotels will provide a self-service mobile check-in option. With a combined 60% of travellers saying that they are “more likely” to choose a hotel that allows them to check in with a smartphone than a hotel that doesn’t (Software Advice) and 46% of millennia’s agreeing that being able to check in/out using a mobile device influences their return stay – it’s not hard to see why hotels are expanding on, if not phasing out, the traditional check-in experience at the front desk to give guests more control and a better first impression.
Self-service options increase flexibility and convenience by allowing the guest to check-in/out via the guest’s own mobile device prior to and/or on arrival, tablet check-in with a staff member, self-serve check-in via kiosk or if they prefer, they can do it the traditonal way, at the front desk.
While all of these options may be available to the guest, not all customers are aware that they are in place. Here are 3 ways to promote your hotel’s mobile check-in.
- Via your online channels: There are numerous cost effective and quick ways that you could start promoting your self-serve options… today.
Starting with your own website, include content within your “About” section, on your room description pages and promote it throughout the booking process / booking path pages. If your site design permits, feature a display ad on your homepage and throughout your website.
From a content marketing perspective, issue a press release and also create a blog post; both of which could be then promoted across your social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Similarly, use video and photo sharing social accounts, such as Instagram and YouTube, to showcase your self-service options in action!
Outside of your own site, consider updating the description of your hotel wherever it appears online, such as TripAdvisor, affiliates and any OTA websites. If you have the space, update your paid (PPC) ad copy to include content related to self-service check-in/out options that are available in your hotel.
If you have a little spend left in your marketing budget, allocate some of those funds towards a specific paid ad campaign on search networks (Google, Bing, Yahoo), display (banner) ad campaigns, and/or social media ads to boost awareness further.
- Email communications: A quick-win that should be considered is highlighting the option of self-service check-in on the guests reservation confirmation email. Similarly, while email marketing can be considered an old-school technique, when used properly, it can be a highly effective one. It’s an opportunity to further increase the awareness of your self service check-in/out options by sending an email to your hotel subscriber list, guests who stayed at your hotel or to prospects that didn’t convert in the past. An email explaining what facilities you have in place and a link to the targeted landing page on your site with more material and the benefits on your self service options would provide past and potential guests with the information they need.
- In-house: In-house promotion can include both awareness through branded collateral and also via staff communication and interactions with guests. A simple and effective method of making guests aware of your self-service options is to train your staff to inform guests on arrival.
In-house collateral can include anything from specific pop up stands in the lobby-using a slot in your digital signage, to leaflets at the front desk or information that is included on reading material in guests’ rooms. It can also be promoted on other relevant printed materials throughout the hotel. However, printed material can be costly and therefore branded collateral is not always frequently produced. So, just make sure that you plan ahead and get your copy about your self-service options included on the next printing run!
Aria, a StayNTouch client, employed some in-house promotional material to promote check-in options and as a result, they have seen significant growth in usage and increased conversion rates for their mobile self-service check-in.
Similarly, Marriott has seen great successes with their mobile check-in promotion. While Marriott first implemented self-service kiosks as part of a pilot program in 2004, it was only last year in 2015 that Marriott put a marketing campaign in place to increase the usage rate of its mobile check-in options and generate awareness that it was widely available in all their hotels. There efforts were incredibly successful; in fact, Marriott just celebrated their one-millionth customer check-in. Check out their grand celebration here!
Here’s to your one-millionth customer check-in!