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The beginner’s guide to hotel contactless check-in

Julia Pedrol

By Julia Pedrol | Marketing Director at Chekin

In today’s digital age, where convenience and efficiency reign supreme, it’s clear that the hospitality industry is evolving rapidly. One key innovation at the forefront of this evolution is contactless check-in. 

The technology that makes this possible isn’t just a fleeting trend; it’s quickly becoming standard practice, enhancing both operational efficiency and guest satisfaction. Let’s take a closer look at how contactless check-in could benefit your hotel operations and provide a better experience for your guests.

In this short video, Paula Carreirao, Partner Marketing Specialist at Cloudbeds, and Alexander Michailov, Head of Partnerships at Chekin, chat about what contactless check-in means and the benefits of adopting this technology.

Understanding contactless check-In

Imagine enabling your guests to skip the traditional on-site check-in formalities and head straight to their rooms with minimal fuss. Contactless check-in, sometimes referred to as online check-in or guest registration, makes this possible.

Contactless technology allows guests to check in via their smartphones, streamlining the process to be quicker and more user-friendly.

Contactless vs. standard check-in

Traditionally, guests arrive at the hotel, wait in line at the reception desk, provide ID and booking confirmation, fill out paperwork, and make payment if it has not been done ahead of time. The front desk staff then creates a key card and explains hotel amenities and room location. 

However, online check-in has emerged as a game-changer. This digital process lets guests complete their check-in before they even set foot in the hotel, revolutionizing their experience. This digital process introduces multiple new touchpoints where hoteliers have the opportunity to excel and make a significant impact on the guest experience. The typical online registration process unfolds as follows:



Pre-arrival communication. Once the reservation is confirmed, guests receive a pre-arrival email or notification on their mobile device with instructions and a check-in link to start the process. You can personalize the email with information captured during the booking process and automate the sending at different timings and scenarios, such as one week before arrival or two days after sending out the first check-in reminder, to ensure guests complete check-in upon arrival.

Guest information collection. Guests fill out necessary details online, including personal information, special requests, and estimated arrival time via a registration form. You can leverage this information to elevate your guests’ stay, upsell relevant add-ons, and coordinate your room cleaning services.

Digital identity verification. As part of the mobile check-in, guests are asked to upload a photo of their ID or passport for verification. Advanced biometric match systems can validate the ID or passport’s authenticity by comparing it to a selfie.

Legal compliance. Not visible to guests, guest registration slips are automatically sent to local authorities to ensure legal requirements are met.

Upsells. During the digital check-in process, you can promote your special add-ons or services to generate extra direct revenue. You can leverage upselling capabilities at any point until guest check-out.

Payments. Guests can securely enter payment details (via credit card or other payment method) for any outstanding charges, such as tourist taxes or added services.


Upon arrival

Unlocking guest rooms. Guests can bypass the front desk and proceed directly to their rooms. Upon check-in completion, they receive a digital key code via the registration web app or email, which they use as a room key to unlock their door. Eliminating the need for a physical key reduces costs for hotels and ensures that guests always have access to their hotel rooms via their mobile phones. 

Communications. During their stay, hotel guests can receive notifications about your hotel’s amenities, upsells, and check-out instructions through the mobile app, email, WhatsApp, or text message.

Homebooks. At any point, guests can access digital guides or homebooks with hotel rules and recommendations in the area.


4 benefits of contactless check-in

Adopting contactless check-in can offer numerous benefits for both your hotel and your guests:

  1. Improved efficiency. Eliminating the wait times and paperwork traditionally associated with check-in processes makes for smoother and faster guest arrival.
  2. Reduced operational costs. Minimizing the need for staff at the front desk can help you better allocate resources and save money, especially during busy periods.
  3. Increased revenue opportunities. The online check-in process can be a prime opportunity to promote additional hotel services and amenities, potentially boosting your revenue.
  4. Enhanced guest satisfaction. Providing a hassle-free check-in experience can significantly enhance guest satisfaction and loyalty.


A step-by-step guide to implementing contactless check-in

Step 1. Select the right technology

Opt for a check-in software that enhances the guest experience. Don’t limit yourself by choosing a solution that only enables guest registration; look for a complete automation solution. As discussed, select technology with functionality that covers all steps of the registration process, such as guest information collection, email communications, mobile key, guest remote access, connection with local authorities, upsells, and payment centralization.


Step 2. Connect with your tech stack

Explore your options and choose a contactless check-in solution that integrates well with your existing property management system (PMS) and other hotel management software. Direct integration with your PMS allows for real-time updates to guest profiles, room status, and billing information, ensuring that all departments are informed and can provide personalized service. 

Connecting with your customer relationship management (CRM) system and marketing tools to leverage guest digital data for personalized communication and marketing campaigns can also be beneficial, enhancing guest satisfaction and loyalty.


Step 3. Educate your team

Ensure your hotel staff is knowledgeable about the new technology and processes. They should be prepared to assist guests and address any technical issues that may arise.


Step 4. Communicate with guests

Inform your guests about the contactless check-in option as soon as their booking is confirmed. Providing clear instructions and emphasizing the benefits will encourage them to use it and elevate their stay.


Step 5. Evaluate and adapt

Keep an eye on the system’s usage and gather feedback from guests. Be open to making changes to continually improve the process.


Creating memorable experiences

Integrating self-check-in technology is a significant step forward in the hospitality industry, responding to guests’ needs for a more efficient experience. By embracing this technology and implementing it thoughtfully, you can not only meet but exceed guest expectations, ensuring your hotel remains competitive in this ever-changing landscape.

Remember, the shift to contactless check-in is more than just a response to a need for less physical interaction; it’s about using technology to make every aspect of the guest experience smoother, more efficient, and personalized. With a strategic approach, the simple act of checking in can become a highlight of the guest experience, fostering satisfaction and loyalty. So, are you ready to upgrade your hotel’s check-in process?


Explore Cloudbeds’ partnership with Chekin.


A post by Chekin

Chekin helps hotels and vacation rental managers automate the entire check-in process, from booking confirmation to check-out. With over 80,000 client properties worldwide, Chekin helps streamline operations, save time, enhance guest satisfaction, and generate additional revenue. 

At Cloudbeds, we’re proud to partner with leading solutions like Chekin to help lodging operators deliver better guest experiences at their properties. Click here for more information on how Chekin can help. 

Published on 07 March, 2024 | Updated on 12 May, 2024
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About Julia Pedrol

Julia Pedrol

Julia Pedrol heads up marketing at Chekin, an innovative check-in automation platform that helps over 80,000 properties worldwide enhance their digital guest experience. With a career in marketing spanning the hospitality industry, Julia is truly passionate about leveraging technology to advance the sector. Today, she works closely with accommodation brands around the world, thinking creatively about how to position them at the forefront of digital guest experience and check-in automation.

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