Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
A guest’s arrival and check-in at your property is the most important part of their customer service journey. You want them to walk in and feel recognised, attended to and most importantly welcomed. This is their first impression of your property after all.
The check-in and check-out process at a hotel should be simple, and adopting intelligent software to take care of this is necessary. A hotel check-in system will let your guests breeze through their arrival at your property, get to their room quicker and begin the more exciting or important parts of their trip.
But what kind of check in software do you need? And which solution is the best?
To get the best results for your property there’s no point have separate software to handle check ins, because this is just one small piece of a much bigger puzzle. You should be able to find providers who can do it all with one system – not just manage check ins, but also bookings, distribution, guest communications, housekeeping schedules, reporting, and more. That means, instead of looking for a hotel check in system, you should be looking for a property management system (PMS).
In the hotel industry, check in systems come under the broader property management system umbrella. But don’t just take our word for it – do a quick Google search for “hotel check in software” and you’ll see that most results relate to PMSs, hotel management systems, hospitality property management software, and front desk systems (all of which are synonyms!).
Hotel check in system functionalities in a PMS
A PMS handles all of your operational tasks, including check in and check out. That means no more being scared to leave your desk because you’re not sure when guests will check in. With a PMS, you can automate the check in process, and plan the day ahead (from your bed… or the breakfast table… or in between holes on the golf course) by doing the following with just a few clicks:
- Specify your property’s check in and check out times
- Enable guests to alert you to their check in time
- See your check ins and check outs for the day
- Allow guests to check in ahead of time
- Process check out payments and print/email invoices
- Send pre-check in and post-check out emails
Features that make Little Hotelier better than standalone hotel check-in software
Let’s look at 5 features that make Little Hotelier’s PMS superior for managing check ins:
1. Check in/check out calendar – With Little Hotelier’s calendar, staff can get a clear view of which guests are arriving on a given day. You can choose from two views; two weeks and one month, and see the reservations, availability of rooms, occupancy percentage and housekeeping status for these periods. This visibility helps you prepare for future check-ins and plan accordingly. You can also set check in and check out times, let your guests tell you when to expect them, and print out a run sheet so you are totally organised for the day.
2. Check in/check out housekeeping schedule – Housekeeping is a very important aspect for hoteliers to be on top of, and one that is closely related to the check in/out process. With Little Hotelier’s housekeeping feature, you can view the list of rooms with their status (check in, check out, stay through) and see the “cleaned” status of the rooms, for today, tomorrow, a specific date and for a duration. Print-outs can be given to cleaners and notes can be recorded to personalise housekeeping for particular guests.
3. Hotel mobile check in software – Check ins and check outs can be done anywhere, anytime with Little Hotelier’s app which is available on both Android and iOS. The app enables you to create and edit a reservation, create and reopen a room closure, check in and check out guests, switch to another property, and set up mobile notifications for any cancellation, new reservation, check in and check out. All you need is an internet connection and your smartphone or tablet to keep an eye on your hotel.
4. Use hotel check in software to send email to guests – Little Hotelier allows you to send customised pre-check in and post-check out emails automatically. For example, booking confirmation, reminder of check in times and other information before their stay, tips during their stay, and a hotel review request sent upon check out.
5. Easy check out payments – With Little Hotelier’s in-built payments feature, you can accept deposits, payments, and process refunds instantly within the same system you use to process the check out, making payment seamless for you and your guests.
6. Incentivise remote/early check in – Little Hotelier enables you to create online codes that allow guests to check in on your website 24 hours prior to their arrival. This means that when they arrive, they can head straight to their room without waiting. Alternatively, if you want to be there to greet your guests when they arrive, you could create a check in code that guests can input into their computer, phone or tablet that alerts the front desk staff that they will be arriving shortly.
As one of our customers, Hotel Manager Lincoln Baker, says, “The Little Hotelier app speeds up the check-in process and allows for a faster and more personable experience for our customers. It is going to make it much easier for me to implement a check-in from the bar, where most of our customers arrive.”
Is hotel check in software free?
You might be able to find check in software – that is, check ins only – for free. But if you want a complete, lasting software solution for your hotel, such as a PMS, it’s going to require some investment. That doesn’t mean it has to be a big one, nor does it mean having to pay anything upfront (that’s the beauty of Little Hotelier being a “cloud” solution – you just pay a monthly subscription fee).
To achieve a level of quality that hotel operators like you are happy with, technology has to be sophisticated and requires constant improvement. We have a team of product developers here at Little Hotelier just for this purpose!
Hotel check-in software free trial
That being said, you should always try before you buy. The most reliable software providers should offer you the opportunity to trial the products for free, ensuring you can experience all the benefits without needing to make a purchase commitment.
Little Hotelier offers a 30-day free trial, so you will have a clear overview of what impact has been made on your business. After one month the results should speak for themselves. Your daily tasks should become quicker and easier, while the long-term benefits of such a product should also be evident.
When you sign up for a free trial by filling out this form, you will be contacted within one business day to get set up, with local training and support staff guiding you through the entire process.
Check in hotel software cost
Small accommodation providers have to be extremely careful with how they spend their budget. The cost of using PMS software will either be in a commission-based or monthly subscription format. A monthly subscription is better for budgeting purposes, and will allow you to reinvest most of your revenue back into the property as you grow (instead of taking a significant chunk of it). Little Hotelier pricing is a pay-as-you-go monthly subscription – just a predictable, flat fee each month.
Little Hotelier’s PMS can be secured from USD $109 (GBP £87) per month if your property has five rooms or less. The more rooms you have, the more you will be required to pay. A property with 15 rooms will be charged USD $139 (GBP £111) per month. This is more than competitive, with some other major providers charging USD $159 (GBP £127) per month for 15 rooms. With Little Hotelier, you can also choose to pay annually for a discount.
To find out exactly how much Little Hotelier will cost for your property, try out our pricing scale here.
Hotel check in system software comparison
As with any new investment, you should think carefully and compare the various options available to you. When it comes to a hotel check in system, you can narrow down your focus by looking at some important factors:
- Price – As a small operator, you probably have a strict budget and want a quality solution that’s affordable.
- Functionality – Obviously you want to be sure the product can deliver exactly what your business needs.
- Ease of use – The whole point of making such a purchase is to simplify the way you run your business so the quicker you can learn the system the better.
- Reputation – Majorities aren’t always right but when it comes to technology, your peers will give you a good idea of what to rely on and what you shouldn’t trust.
- Support – It’s extremely important that any concerns or queries you have can be resolved efficiently throughout your trial and billed use periods.
These are just some of the influences that will sway your decision. One of the best ways to get a big picture look at all of this for multiple software providers is to visit review sites.
One of the most notable resources to see what customers are saying about hotel check in software systems is Hotel Tech Report.
You’ll find reviews and overviews for many brands, including Little Hotelier, that should give you the confidence you need to make a good investment. You’ll be able to see ratings on how likely a provider is to be recommended, the quality of customer support, ease of use, ROI, value for money, functionality, integration, and implementation.
There should also be a digestible summary of what features specific hotel check in software systems can and cannot offer, along with videos and screenshots where applicable.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this review sites is the customer reviews, where you can see direct feedback from other hoteliers about the software you’re considering. Here you can specific details on positive and negative feedback and weigh it against your own judgement. This is important since some people may have issues that are not a worry for you at all, and vice versa.
Essentially you want to find evidence that a solution is delivering on its promises, so it can also be useful to check reviews and customers on Facebook and other social media pages.
What is the easiest system to use to check-in hotel guests?
Little Hotelier’s PMS stands apart functionally as a leader in the check in software space thanks to all the features mentioned above. And if ease of use is what you’re after, then you’ll find that it delivers in this department too, with an intuitive design and user-friendly interface.
Little Hotelier was created for small accommodation providers (30 rooms and under) who want to spend their time on their guests rather than on technology and admin.
Many PMSs, on the other hand, are built for larger hotels, which often have the resources to dedicate to managing such systems. But when you own and operate a B&B, inn, motel or hostel, you don’t have time for complicated technology.
That’s why Little Hotelier was built to be a complete online reservation and property management solution, packed with value-adding features to help you run your business with ease. As well as a front desk system (which provides the check in and check out functionality), it offers:
- An online booking engine – to take commission-free reservations on your website and social media pages
- A channel manager – to manage the distribution of your rooms on booking sites like Booking.com, Expedia and Airbnb
- A website builder – to create a beautiful, functional website that converts lookers into bookers
- A payments solution – to process deposits, payments and refunds quickly and easily
Get a quick look at these features in this short video:
Hotel check in & check out software: Key takeaways
When your guests arrive at your small hotel, their first experience with you and your brand is check in. You need to make sure that your check-in process is as efficient as possible.
If their first experience with you is marked with friction, it will be hard for guests to recover from this initial impression. As every small business owner knows: first impressions count.
Creating an effective check-in process with a PMS will allow your guests to get settled into their rooms as soon as possible and begin enjoying their stay. A PMS will make sure guests know exactly when they can check in and check out before they arrive and they can also let you know when to expect their arrival so you can accommodate this.
By being organised and keeping all your data in one place, rather than multiple systems, you’ll never be taken by surprise or be behind schedule again.
Watch a video demo of Little Hotelier now by clicking below.