Hotel Automation: Tools & Tips for Better Operations Performance

If you’re experiencing staffing challenges, long lines at your front desk with little genuine hospitality are likely the first things your guests will notice as they begin their stay. Your staff may be stressed as they try to juggle various manual tasks, and your guests are far from getting the frictionless experience they’re looking for. 

Automation is a solution for your check-in process and beyond—a way to provide a better, more contemporary experience with fewer staff. Your teams can step back from manual repetitive tasks, and your guests can enjoy the line-free, contactless experience they expect.

In this article, we discuss how to implement automated processes at your hotel, looking at:

  • The benefits of automation 

  • How to get started 

  • Which tasks are worth automating

  • The best tools and software for hotel automation

Connect your operations

Take pressure off your staff, eliminate check-in lines at the front desk, and give your guests a better stay with Operto’s suite of automation solutions.

What is hotel automation?

Hotel automation tools turn time-consuming manual tasks into hands-off, efficiently managed processes without human error.

By implementing automation for processes like check-in, access management, and task management, you can save on costs, improve working conditions, and provide better service to your guests.

Benefits of using a hotel automation system

A hotel automation system can transform every stage of the guest journey, as well as how your hotel operates. Take a look at how.

1. A more independent guest experience 

The hotel and short-term rental (STR) markets are merging. Hotels and STRs list on the same marketing channels and travelers are open to staying at either during their research phase.

So, instead of focusing on the kind of stay they’ll get, whether that be a hotel, an STR, or an alternative, guests increasingly just want tech-enabled convenience, independence, and personalization. They expect to get to their room as soon as they arrive, and they don’t want to rely on keycards they can easily lose. 

By automating your guest’s check-in with smart locks and an access management tool, you can give guests the autonomy they look for as you take pressure away from your front desk. We explore how this process works with Operto later.

2. More guest engagement

Automation allows you to engage your customers with your hotel and services as early as possible in the guest journey with curated content about their stay. 

For example, inside Operto’s branded web app, you can create digital guidebooks with insights into your amenities, special deals, and the local area.

You can also provide all the information guests need for an autonomous stay, including parking information, check-in details, and WiFi access. Plus, you can include links to extras such as guided tours and poolside service.

Screenshot of Operto’s digital guidebook

Operto’s digital guidebooks provide a branded experience before your guests arrive

3. More genuine interactions with guests 

When your team is concerned with manual tasks like managing access, swiping keycards, and checking guests in, they naturally struggle to deliver a great guest experience

How can your front desk staff meet and greet guests if they have a line of increasingly frustrated individuals to manage? How can they guide your guests through their stay and introduce them to everything you offer if they have IDs to check, and keycards to program?

By implementing self check-in and automated room access, your team will have the breathing space they need to give guests what they appreciate most—time and attention. 

And with a scheduling and task management tool like Operto Teams, you can go even further by making it easy to create tasks on the fly and be responsive to guests’ special requests and needs.

4. Increased operational oversight 

Automated scheduling and task management tools can also allow you to better understand team performance by tracking tasks like departure cleans. 

For example, with Operto Teams you can pull data from the last quarter and compare efficiency across your team, with reports highlighting in red and green who’s going too fast and who’s going too slow.

Then it’s up to you if you wish to stick with those at-a-glance insights, or, since the reports are very data rich, drill down for further investigation.

5. Reduced staffing costs

Automation helps you spend less on staff by simplifying processes, replacing manual tasks, and reducing your need to operate the front desk—which you can do with an automated mobile check-in flow.

For example, after partnering with Operto, Prague Residences went from four front desks to one, and now saves $10,000 per month in operating expenses.  

What tasks are worth automating?

There are six main processes you can look to automate. These are: 

  • Pre-stay guest engagement
  • Check-in and check-out
  • Guest access
  • Employee scheduling and reporting 
  • Payroll
  • Energy-saving

In this section, we look at how you can get started.

Pre-stay guest engagement

As well as engaging your guests with digital guidebooks, you can use pre-stay communications to ensure guests have everything they need before they arrive. 

An in-app two-way messaging solution is simple for your customers to use, keeps them within your branded digital experience, and makes it convenient for them to book an upgrade or other upsells.

Check-in and check-out

By implementing mobile check-in, you give guests independence and convenience. Here’s how automated check-in works with Operto: 

  • Operto syncs with your PMS and smart locks 
  • When your guests book, they’re automatically texted or emailed a link to a branded web app 
  • Here, they can explore your guidebooks, verify their identity, and complete a security deposit as part of their online check-in
  • Then their unique mobile key is automatically activated according to their check-in time

Guest access

Part of the solution for a fully optimized hotel check-in process is providing digital access with mobile key, which you can do with Operto Boost. Operto Boost upgrades your existing locks to smart locks for a fraction of the price of replacing them. 

Aside from the transformation in your guest experience, you’ll gain a clearer overview of your operations, and be able to manage departure cleans more efficiently, too, with automated notifications for when guests check out.

Employee scheduling and reporting

As we highlighted earlier, you can use software to automate your teams’ schedules. For example, you can set task time estimates in your task rules for the software to automate the daily plan according to who’s working that day. 

So, when you arrive in the morning, the team can already see how the schedule will be divided between them.

Screenshot of the Operto Teams calendar

Automatically assign tasks and view them in Operto Teams’ color-coded calendar

Related Post: Hotel Guest Experience Software for a Stay They’ll Remember


By integrating payroll software with your scheduling solution, you can ensure staff are paid correctly and on time. All you have to do is approve the weekly timesheets for the paychecks or direct deposits to be generated.


With a smart thermostat connected to a manager’s dashboard that in turn integrates with your PMS, you can automate energy control by programming your heating and cooling to kick in based on check-in and check-out times. 

Guests get comfort on arrival with your customized temperature settings, and you can market your hotel as environmentally friendly while saving on costs in the process.

Best automation software

If you want to start automating processes at your hotel, you’ll need easy-to-use hotel management software. Take a look at our top four picks for hotel automation tools.

1. Operto

Operto is an all-in-one automation platform with features to optimize both staffing and the guest experience. Inside one convenient dashboard, you can align your teams, stay in contact with your guests, and view all your essential operations.  

Here’s how it works:

  • Operto Guest facilitates a digital guest experience. Create digital guidebooks, speak with guests using two-way in-app communication, and provide mobile check-in and room access. 
  • Operto Boost gives you BLE locks and mobile check-in for a fraction of the price of overhauling your locks. By inserting a smart chip into your existing hardware, you avoid the cost of replacing your existing locks and doors
  • Operto Connect lets you manage your entire tech stack in one place, aggregating data and providing you with key insights in an all-in-one manager’s dashboard.
  • Operto Teams automates task scheduling, reporting, and team communications, with shared calendars and in-app communications.

2. Mews

Mews is a robust PMS with a range of tools for mid to large-sized hotels.  

Mews’s accounting software allows you to compile data, send invoices, and process transactions. It offers payment reminders and one-click payments at any point of sale, and lets you view payment status alongside occupancy information and accounting reports. 

Other automated features include: 

  • Business performance reports
  • Reservation management
  • A direct booking engine

Screenshot of Mews payment dashboard

Mews allows you to gain greater insight into your finances

Related Post: 7 Impressive PointCentral Alternatives & Competitors

3. Cloudbeds 

Cloudbeds is a PMS that’s made specifically for independent hoteliers, providing a single platform for your operations. 

Cloudbeds’ channel manager lets you easily update property information across multiple OTAs, and integrates with its dynamic pricing tool, which uses revenue management software to optimize your room rates based on the latest data, like seasonality, demand, and competition.

Other automated features include: 

  • Reservations management 

  • Payment processing and financial reports 

  • Inventory management

Screenshot of Cloudbeds dashboard

You can view the Cloudbeds dashboard inside Operto as part of our integration

4. Akia 

Akia is a hospitality messaging platform that allows you to schedule messages for guests and communicate internally with the team.


Inside Akia, you can chat with prospective customers browsing your website, or use its AI tool to automate responses to guest questions.  

Other features include:

  • Customizable templates

  • Two-way messaging

  • No-code mini-apps to provide a branded experience for your guests

Screenshot of a conversation automated by Akia

Efficiently send friendly answers to common queries inside Akia

Related post: Eco-Friendly Hotel Ideas: 6 Ways Your Hotel Can Become More Sustainable

Boosting returns with hotel automation

To remain competitive when you’re struggling to source experienced staff you can trust, you need a solution that doesn’t just reduce their workload, but shifts time-consuming tasks away from their day-to-day. In doing so, your team can give guests the kind of hospitality that really makes a difference to their stay. 

Automating essential processes throughout your hotel will provide guests with the autonomy they want, give your team the space they need to perform at their best, and allow you to save on costs while improving the guest experience.

You can automate these areas with Operto:

  • Guest communication and guest engagement

  • Check-in and check-out

  • Access management

  • Team operations and task management

  • Payroll

And going digital doesn’t have to come with prohibitively high installation costs. With Operto Boost, you can upgrade your locks to give them BLE functionality, and so gain access to industry-leading guest experience and automation technology.

Connect your operations

Take pressure off your staff, eliminate check-in lines at the front desk, and give your guests a better stay with Operto’s suite of automation solutions.

Frequently asked questions about hotel automation 

What is an example of hotel automation? 

An area of hotel operations that’s commonly automated is guest access management. By generating mobile keys and logging each check-in and check-out, automation software makes guests more autonomous while tracking occupancy status, and reducing the workload at the front desk. 

What is the importance of hotel automation?

As hotels struggle with labor shortages, automation is essential to delivering a great guest experience. By handling what were traditionally manual tasks, like check-in, hotel technology reduces pressure on staff, helps minimize errors, and increases guest autonomy and independence.