One of the effective measures of preventing COVID-19 spread is social distancing. Will you choose to check in a hotel via the counter service or a self-service kiosk, if you have to stay at a hotel for business or leisure travels?
City Suites is a hotel chain of eight hotels which are all conveniently located near the international airport and in biggest cities in Taiwan. Their self check-in kiosks are especially popular during this special time of COVID-19 pandemic.
Actually City Suites have implemented this self check-in kiosk system before the pandemic. Back in 2017, City Suites started a project to improve the check-in workflow, so as to increase both service efficiency and customer satisfaction. They had hotel guests coming from all over the world. During peak times, there were always lines of guests waiting for check-in.
Two big challenges were pointed out during the discussion of project requirements.
First off, shorten the processing and increase the data accuracy of the guests’ identity documents, in order to minimize the waiting lines. Front desk staff asked guests for their personal identification documents, walk a little away from the counter to make a copy, and then come back to face the customer and keep typing in the hotel system. After a long drive or flight, most guests were just too tired to go through this check-in of tedious paperwork to finally get their room cards.
This check-in process would need to be improved with automated digitization, in order to eliminate the labor-intensive and error prone manual key-in from guests’ passports or ID cards. Besides, international guests use passports, and Mainland China guests use Residence Permit. For local Taiwan residents, either ID card or healthcare card is accepted. The system must be able to tackle the complexity of extracting the key data correctly from these different types of identity documents.
Although the hotel service staff can speak English and Chinese, many of their guests were not native speakers of either language. This brings another challenge to ease the check-in pressure for foreign guests.
Among the many proposals offered to City Suites, a complete self check-in kiosk solution offered by BONJAY Corp. met all requirements. Hotel guests can use this kiosk to check in, check out and even check the room availability for onsite booking if they have not made the reservation before the trip. BONJAY Corp., a leading hospitality solution provider in Taiwan and a company under the Flytech group, provides not only software-hardware system integration solution according to the different needs of customers, but also system operational planning consulting service.
The kiosk includes a computer with big touchscreen display, a scanner to scan the guests’ passports or ID cards, a payment instrument to read credit/debit cards, and room card machine.
The key to automated digitization success of the check-in process is to scan guests’ identity documents, intelligently extract the needed data, and automatically route these data to the hotel’s system.
Choosing the right scanner is important, because the scanner is the starting point of this digitization process and good quality of scanned images can increase the accuracy of the recognition and data extraction processes. Hence, BONJAY Corp. uses Plustek’s ID and Passport Solution which has scanning hardware and data extraction software seamlessly integrated: SecureScan scanner and robotic ID/Passport data extraction technologies.
During the check-in, the hotel guest simply follow the screen instruction to put his/her passport or ID card into the Plustek SecureScan scanner. The process automation starts from here. When the Plustek scanner detects the passport or ID card, it starts to scan automatically and output images with good quality. The images are analyzed and recognized. The needed data from the passport or ID card are intelligently extracted, and then are automatically routed to the back-end hotel PMS system. Next, the hotel PMS system will prompt the guest on the screen to proceed the payment and/or room card steps.
A guest’s arrival and check-in is the most crucial part in the customer service journey. After City Suites implemented this kiosk solution of automated digitization, foreign and local guests can check in with ease by following the onscreen instructions in their preferred language. The average time of each guest’s check in is reduced. Both face-to-face interaction and waiting lines are minimized. City Suites get to ensure safe social distancing to all guests and employees, while offering the entry convenience and friendliness to their guests.
This kiosk solution of automated digitization also allow City Suites staff the freedom to provide personalized service to guests. The City Suites staff get to focus on important areas, including guests’ concerns and interests, which lead to enhanced guest satisfaction.
Have fun in your trips and stay healthy!