Automated hotels: Checking-in to a Post-COVID world/ Check out the new check-in tech (Part II)
One such technology that fits the bill is AirHost, a Hospitality Management System (HMS) specially developed for small to medium sized hospitality properties.
Established in November 2015 in Japan, AirHost was developed by AirHost Pte. Ltd and has had a base in Singapore since October 2018. AirHost provides a range of cloud-based accommodation management tools such as AirHost Property Management System (PMS), AirHost Channel Manager, AirHost Booking Engine and AirHost Smart Check-in System. To date, AirHost HMS has a track record of providing services to over 280 properties and maintaining more than 14,000 rooms.
AirHost provides a comprehensive way to streamline and organise essential guest data from the moment a guest makes his booking. Once it’s installed, activating AirHost sets up a universal PMS, Content Management System, automated messages and payment gateway for the operator so that when a booking comes in, rooms are automatically or manually assigned (whichever is more suitable) and payment status verified. The system automatically sends guests a message to start self check-in in advance and the operator will be able to track a guest’s progress from check-in to check-out remotely. This seamless operating process continues even after guests check out as hotel cleaners are notified via email to turn the room. Post-check-out, operators may peruse a report of the guest’s stay which will no doubt help to analyse revenue for future bookings.
From a guest’s perspective, their automated hotel experience does not deviate much from a typical hotel stay except when it comes to the physical check-in, this provides sufficient familiarity to make them feel comfortable with the novelty. With Air Host, they’ll be able to book their stay using Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) or Booking engines as per normal after which they’ll receive an automated welcome message and other check-in information. They can then access a pre-check in webpage to complete additional information in advance. On arrival to the property, a tablet replaces the traditional reception and the guest’s identity is verified remotely using a “video chat” function installed in the check-in tablet. Once this is completed, guests are provided with their room number and a PIN Code for their room’s smart lock. The AirHost HMS is compatible with a range of smart locks including KeyWe, Keycafe and highly integratable to other cloud-based Smart Locks. Check-out is just as convenient or more so as guests may do so at their preferred time by merely entering their information in the front desk tablet.
For properties that would like to ease into being fully automated, the introduction of AirHost HMS as an accommodation management tool can be used to complement their existing staff. Automating the clerical work needed for guest check-ins frees up the staff’s time for tasks that are more pressing or allows them to focus on hospitality. As a matter of fact, the Owl Group in Japan which pioneered using the AirHost system in their properties have reported high ratings on Booking.com in all three properties, with a rating 8.5 out of 10 in the first, 8.9 out of 10 in the second and 8.3 out of 10 in the third.
For an industry that is built on human interaction, it would seem a full recovery maybe still be remote for the hospitality sector. However a report by global real estate services firm, JLL, is forecasting the same level of recovery that hotels have shown after the SARS outbreak quietened down: “Hotel trade performance recovered only five months after the SARS outbreak. Only two months after Singapore was declared SARS-free on 30 May 2003, market-wide occupancy rapidly recovered and exceeded the 70% threshold in July 2003.” With the hospitality industry still grappling with the devastation of the global pandemic, now is actually the most opportune time to put into place technology that will ease properties into a post-COVID world. Technology such as AirHost will help hotels and the people who manage to be competitive, resilient and smart enough to thrive in the direst of circumstances, while also designing experiences that continue to delight guests.