It was only last year when big chains like Starwood, Marriott and Hilton announced their plans to roll-out special branded apps that will allow their customers to select a favourite room before arrival, to check-in remotely or even to use their phone as a room key. This appeared to be a mind changer for everyone else in the hospitality industry and soon after the news about Hilton, everyone was talking about guest-facing mobile enabled technology in hotels. Yet another proof came with a survey released earlier this year by Hospitality Technology Magazine, that puts customer-oriented technology as number one priority in hotels' IT investment budgets for 2015. Good news, as such technology was not unprecedented at the time but hoteliers seemed to lag behind the trend and hesitated to adopt the modern features.

While the survey unveils the change in demand and investment plans, the question remains who will be the first to implement guest self check-in and other digital customer-facing services to please their audience and establish their brands as synonymous with excellent experience. The sooner, the better. Big chains like Marriott and Hilton announced the start of their projects already in 2014 though many of the innovations are still in early stages of implementation. This is because of the big number of properties, the huge investment and the need for equipment replacement and reconstructions that have to happen in various locations worldwide. These processes involve research, development and realization phases that take time and resources to be finalized.

Independent hotels and smaller accommodation providers, however, rarely have the possibility to allocate so many resources on the one hand, and on the other, they have this one chance to act quickly and implement modern digital guest services before their competitors in order to take full advantage. Fortunately, some technology providers are well prepared for the situation and are ready to offer different solutions for immediate adoption, while new ones are popping up every other day. Among them, the level of integration with the hotel management software and the size of investment appear to play a big role for the seamless introduction of customer-facing features without operational disturbances.

One such solution is the guest self service portal in Clock PMS that we, at Clock Software, have included in the system functionality from the very beginning. Not so popular then, now this customer facing hotel technology is adopted by the most of our clients. And it works. From the feedback we receive, customer experience in those properties has improved and guest satisfaction has risen significantly - exactly the results we were targeting. This success has a simple explanation - the advantages the guest self service portal in Clock PMS has over other hotel apps:

  • It is available as add-on feature against a flat monthly charge.
  • It is actually an integral part of the hotel management system.
  • It is ready for instant implementation.
  • It requires no hardware equipment as guests use the feature on their own devices via Internet access.

For those not familiar with Clock PMS and its guest self service, here is a short overview:

Hotel guest self service in Clock PMS:

The guest self service portal on a mobile phone
  • Control of the booking
  • Self check-in / checkout
  • Digital signatures
  • Room selection
  • Nearby location notification
  • Bill preview
  • Secure online payment
  • Deposit and invoice management
  • Digital room service with eMenu

External resources:

The Hospitality Technology survey "2015 Lodging Technology Study" is available for download here (requires registration)

More hospitality industry media about the guest self service in Clock PMS in:
Hotel Guest Self Service Improves the Customer Experience, Saves Time and Money for Hoteliers Unique guest-facing features in Clock PMS