In recent years, services in the hospitality industry have been revolutionized by technological innovations. This includes the airEkey system or automated check-in, where guests can enter their rooms directly using home automation tools and solutions provided by hotels, apartments or B&Bs, thus avoiding direct interaction with occupants.
For example, with the airEkey, gates, gates, and doors to apartments and rooms can be opened through an app or by entering a combination of numbers, without requiring team members to be present upon arrival.
Face-to-face communication has always been an integral part of the hospitality industry, but given the need to be cautious about social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic, airEkey services have started to generate strong interest from both hoteliers and hosts, as well as travelers. With self-check-in, human contact isn't eliminated, it's just postponed to a time that isn't necessarily related to the handover of keys. As a result, according to a Metova study, about 86% of guests prefer hotels that offer contactless self-service features, such as mobile check-in.
What is airEKey
airEkey is a program that allows guests to enter their property without having to meet the landlord or their staff on-site, even outside normal check-in hours. For those who rent an apartment on Airbnb or a hotel and can manage it remotely more efficiently, this is definitely a program that saves time and money and provides customers with more flexibility. and independence.
How airEkey works
OTAs immediately took the opportunity to promote self-check-in to property managers, especially since many vacation rental and condo owners manage their properties remotely and cannot always oversee key handovers. upon arrival of guests.
In the Airbnb Host Help Center, we clearly see that guests who check in via self-service can access the property at any time, even if a host is not required.
airEkey has several methods:
- Via a safe, a safe that is placed in front of the accommodation's door and has a key. The system is not always the safest option as it does not identify customers before they enter unless linked to an online check-in service;
- Smart locks allow access via a smartphone or a numeric code you type on the keypad and nfc (smart card) technology. The electronic lock communicates with the online registration software, so a digital key is created for each booking, allowing you to open all doors and gates. A device connected to the house intercom will open the front door.
- This solution is provided by airEkey and does not require any physical keys.
- The airEkey system (especially airEkey's premium solutions) is an example of an intuitive, secure and fast virtual hospitality where guests can get their accommodation in complete privacy and freedom of movement without waiting for the host.
airEkey system: advantages
An interesting article published on Hospitality.net highlights the significant benefits of contactless and self-service technology in the hospitality industry.
The benefits of setting up a airEkey solution are numerous and provide tremendous benefits for hosts and guests.
Here are some of the benefits of airEkey that improve employee tasks and the customer experience.
- Increased visibility on booking portals, where the presence of a self-registration system is one of the most used filters when looking for accommodation (source Airbnb).
- Hosts no longer have to forgo last-minute bookings or delay check-ins because they can't make it to the delivery location, so they can earn more money;
- Faster registration, payment and baggage storage operations: check-in is less stressful for customers and receptionists;
- Save time for hosts and guests who can manage their arrivals independently. Being able to come in even if you are late, nd relax, is a very appreciated factor;
- Better use of hotel resources: airEkey management platforms integrate them into the PMS (Property Management System), a program used by hotel staff to manage room reservations, invoices, prices, etc.
- Reduce the risk of human error: Self-service airEkey system automates the entire check-in process, eliminating the clutter of customer data. This avoids unpleasant situations and improves interaction with customers;
- Guests don't have to worry about providing documents and general information upon arrival;
- Cutting-edge personalization: Self-service technology collects valuable customer data to best personalize their experience;
- Respect for Health and Safety protocols: Self-service technology is the best way to help accommodations reduce front desk queues and maintain a safe distance between guests and staff. By eliminating the need for direct contact with team members, these new technologies help comply with safety guidelines and Covid-19 protections.
Conclusions: Self Check-in and virtual Hospitality
2020, the year of lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has been defined as a horror year for the travel industry.
However, a study by the Digital Tourism Innovation Observatory of the "Politecnico di Milano" School of Management during the TTG Tourism Experience, held every year in Rimini, shows that by 2021, trade e-tourism will reach 10.8 billion Italian euros. A 51% increase from last year, direct transactions will grow from 23% in 2019 to 47% in 2021.
While these numbers are still far from what they were a few years ago, it's a good recovery for online travel, especially due to the growth of e-commerce in the hospitality industry.
Virtual hotels fit right into the context of how this technology could impact the hospitality industry in other ways.
For example, the pandemic has ushered in a new breed of travelers known as “digital nomads” who can continue to travel while working online, and now more than ever, self-service travel management solutions are being demanded.
Not only self-check-in, but in general, home automation has revolutionized the hospitality industry by controlling consumption and always providing guests with virtual reception and concierge services.
For many, the introduction of self-service technology seems to have killed the essence of hospitality. This doesn't mean leaving guests unattended, in fact it's very beneficial to both parties as the hotel runs faster and guests have more control over their stay.
Paradoxically, a well-organized self-service experience, such as an airEkey system check-in, can increase customer loyalty and even help create an emotional connection with a business.
New hyper-connected travelers are looking for more fluid solutions in travel and hospitality, that is, an instant and understandable shopping experience, with no friction in communicating and using the services on offer.
Additionally, if the pandemic has learned one thing, it’s that digital can be an important ally in protecting privacy and keeping customers safe: these are areas where innovative, smart and sustainable solutions like the airEkey system can develop and grow.