The technology operations playbook


How Contactless Hotel Technology Meets Evolving Guest Expectations

Contactless experiences like self check-in and keyless room access are not just a nice-to-have in today’s market. Short-term rentals have been fast to implement the requisite technology for their stays, and, as a result, it’s increasingly what guests expect from hotels, too.

Meanwhile, with labor shortages at a high, long lines at the front desk and guest issues can quickly accumulate. 


So, by moving to contactless hotel technology, and consequently being less reliant on your on-the-ground team, you can take pressure away from your front desk, and start better providing the personalized attention modern guests look for.  


Here, we look at what contactless technologies you can implement to improve the guest experience and successfully manage the labor issues impacting the hospitality industry.

Work with Operto to streamline your operations and connect every part of your guest’s reservation. 

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Merging of vacation rental and hotel experiences 

The consolidation of the hotel and short-term rental market, or the Great Merging, has pushed guests toward expecting many of the same experiences from a hotel as they do from a short-term rental (STR). 


And competing directly with STRs on the same OTA platforms only intensifies the need for hotels to offer more of the personalization and autonomy that STRs provide so well. 


Self check-in, digital guidebooks, and in-app communication, are all examples of areas where STRs have moved ahead of independent, boutique hotels in their ability to respond to modern guest expectations—which they’ve done alongside implementing automated processes that see benefits to both the guest experience and operational efficiency.  


Benefits of automation in hotels

87% of hotels are reporting staffing shortages, and automation provides an obvious solution. 


By automating processes like check-in, room access, and even concierge services, you can make guests less dependent on your team, and your team more focused on providing the attention guests actually appreciate.


Instead of a huge line of travelers forming at your front desk on a Saturday afternoon, guests can independently check in pre-arrival, use the information provided by your digital guidebook to go straight to their rooms, and enter using an auto-generated access code or mobile key.


With automated processes and contactless technology working hand in hand, your staff are freer to prioritize the most essential tasks, and build a more meaningful rapport with your guests.


Contactless technologies to adopt

Let’s look at what technologies can have the biggest impact on the guest experience and the efficiency of your operations.


Keyless entry

To give guests a contactless stay, you first need smart locks so they can have room access without having to wait around for a key or keycard. But, to make your operations scalable, you also need to automate how you generate and share access information.


Operto does this by connecting with both your smart locks and your PMS. When a guest’s booking is confirmed by your PMS, we generate a unique access code or mobile key for their stay. Guests then receive your booking confirmation email, which includes a link to the Operto Guest web app, where they can find their access details.


Meanwhile, you can retain visibility over which guests have checked in and out via a centralized operating system (which we look at later) and an access log for each individual smart lock.


Pro-tip: You can turn old locks into smart locks without the hassle or cost of replacement with Operto Boost.


Mobile self check-in

Self check-ins are more efficient for your team, and simpler and faster for your guests. 


For example, with Operto Guest, guests check in on their smartphones through the branded web app, which they can do before they arrive. 


As soon as their ID is automatically verified, their unique access code or mobile key is activated in accordance with their check-in time.

Screenshot of Operto’s mobile self check-in solution
Take stress away from your front desk with automated check-in.

Now, together with the information and insights provided by the digital guidebook (discussed below), your guests can be completely independent throughout the arrival and check-in process.


By automating check-in, the front desk no longer needs to be in operation through the night, and can be managed by fewer staff when it is in operation. Plus, your guests have the independent, contactless experience they want.


Digital guidebooks

Digital guidebooks are a key part of the contactless experience. 


Instead of turning to your staff at every step of the guest journey, guests can use a digital guidebook to find out about how to arrive, parking, how to connect to the WiFi, your menu, your amenities, and the local area.


And they can do all of this within a customizable mobile web app that reinforces your branding.


For example, Operto Guest allows you to create branded digital guidebooks with unlimited content to inform and enhance your guest’s stay. So over time, you can continue to add value to your digital guidebooks, and keep them up to date with your latest developments and recommendations. 


You can also use your digital guidebooks to offer personalized add-on services. With Operto Guest, these can include smart buttons—customizable call-to-actions so guests can easily hire equipment, book a guided tour, or even request poolside service.


With a digital guidebook, you empower your guests to be independent throughout their stay, and minimize the number of questions and requests to your team.

We may not be able to make housekeeping contactless, but we can automate and optimize your scheduling.

Discover the Operto Teams.

Two-way communication

More than just a solution for contactless experiences, in-app communication is easier to manage for your team and it avoids guests waiting in line at the front desk. 

As Curtis Crimmins, Co-Founder of Roomza, said, “to a lot of people, the front desk is just a nuisance. People don’t want to go there.”

And if you integrate your guest comms with your guest app, it makes for a more seamless, intuitive guest journey.

Screenshot of Operto Guest chat solution
Guests can use Operto Guest’s two-way messaging functionality to access virtual concierge support within a branded app.

That’s how it works with Operto Guest: Travelers have a place to turn to for any issues, even when staff aren’t available at the front desk, while you have a complete history of guest-team interactions within your Manager Dashboard.


Hospitality operating system to centralize your tech stack

With all your solutions in place for a contactless guest experience, you still need a way to efficiently manage them. 


You need a bird’s eye view of all your operations, so you can see at a glance who’s checking in and when, whether rooms are clean, which ones urgently need a turnover, and when each guest checks out.

Laptop displaying Operto’s Manager Dashboard
Operto’s Manager Dashboard offers a range of clear, instant insights.

With a hospitality operations system to bring all those elements under one roof, you can simplify your management processes, and make quicker judgment calls based on the latest, most accurate information.


What contactless technology to centralize and manage within your hospitality operating system:


The benefits of contactless technology in hospitality 

Contactless technology provides a much-needed solution to the labor shortages plaguing the hotel industry. Cutting down lobby check-in lines and relieving the pressure on staff, it gives you the efficiency your team needs and the autonomy modern guests increasingly expect.


Contactless solutions for check-in, access, and personalization, also offer benefits, like:


  • Better hygiene
  • In-app upsells
  • Streamlined communication

And by integrating all those solutions within one centralized space for your tech stack, you can have the 30,000-foot perspective you need to get the most out of your team and deliver more to your guests.

Frequently asked questions about contactless technology

How do hotels do contactless check-in?

Contactless check-in can occur through a number of methods without front-desk staff. Hotel kiosks that deposit keys after check-in are one solution. Alternatively, online check-in through a web app like Operto Guest makes keyless entry fast and simple. 


What are contactless technologies used in the hotel industry?

There are a range of contactless technologies in hospitality, all for different stages of the guest journey. Contactless solutions provide support during and before check-in, provide guests with digital guidebooks, deliver two-way messaging, and can be used for guest feedback. Keyless locks, and sanitization technology are also good examples. 


What are the benefits of contactless technology?

A contactless experience is a more efficient process for your guests and team. Guests can enter their hotel room with ease and with no need for front-desk staff. These technologies reduce stress, ensure high standards of hygiene, and allow for more flexibility. Guests can request amendments to their booking, contact support, and get personalized offers in just a few clicks.