4 Simple Ways to Speed up Check-in & Check-out Procedures in Small Hotels
Picture it: Any small hotel, 2023. A weary traveler arrives on the doorstep of their well-researched and much-anticipated independent hotel, worn out after a long day of waiting at airport gates and stomaching airplane food (if they even got a meal in the first place).

They walk through the door, ready to crash into a bed full of plush pillows, only to be met with a queue of travelers and equally weary front desk staff managing the ever-growing check-in line. And so the long and tiring day continues—for our traveler and for our hotel staff.

Check-in is one of the most important customer touchpoints in any guest’s stay—it sets the scene for their visit, and it can help turn a terrible travel day into a pleasant, relaxing adventure. But a speedy check-in process benefits more than just your guests—creating a smooth hotel check-in process is also important for your staff. Not only will guests enjoy shorter wait times, but your staff will have less admin work to manage and more time to focus on day-to-day operations and guest satisfaction.

Hotel check-out procedures matter too. No one wants to wait to hand in their key while front desk staff complete tedious paperwork.

If you consistently see long wait times at your front desk (along with stressed-out staff and unhappy guests), your guests are asking for contactless check-in and -out, or your employees are telling you something isn’t working, it’s time to look at streamlining your hotel check-in process.

With the right technology, small hotel owners can elevate every aspect of the guest experience—including check-in and hotel check-out procedures. An all-in-one property management system can help expedite check-in and check-out procedures in hotels by enabling contactless online check-in and check-out, streamlining payment processing, and even integrating with other third-party services like remote key locks, guest messaging, and more.

In this post, we’ll dig into 4 simple ways you can speed up your hotel check in process and hotel check out procedures, including:

  1. Providing an easy booking experience
  2. Offering contactless online self check-in
  3. Collecting key guest information before they arrive
  4. Streamlining your billing process

Let’s jump in.

1. Providing An Easy Booking Experience

Speeding up your check in process starts during booking. With an integrated online booking engine and channel management tools, guests can browse their room choices online and book the space they prefer. They can even request add-ons like early check-in and other perks right when they book. That means no last-minute room changes at check-in and less time spent at reception on arrival day, saving your front desk staff valuable time and helping your guests get to their rooms faster.

2. Offer Contactless Online Self Check-In

​​Travel preferences are changing. Post-pandemic, 53.6% of travelers want contactless check-in and check-out to remain a permanent option, and nearly ¾ of travelers agree that they’d be more likely to stay at a hotel that offers self-service options that minimize contact with staff and other guests. And hotels are listening—a survey by Skift and Oracle Hospitality found that adopting contactless services is the highest priority for nearly 40% of hotels in the next three years.

Contactless online self check-in gives guests the option to check in before they arrive without having to queue or talk to staff. With online check-in tools, you can:

  • Schedule emails inviting your guests to check-in online pre arrival. When they check-in online, guests can request early check-in if needed, as well as reserve and pay for other perks and add-ons during the process.
  • Share essential arrival information such as check-in times, dining room hours, parking locations, or other things to do nearby
  • Collect check-in and payment information online before they arrive (more on this coming up)

When these aspects of the hotel check-in process are handled online before arrival, guests can head straight to their rooms to relax after their journey and settle into their stay.

Not every property management system for small hotels includes online check-in features. Instead of finding separate online check-in software and integrating this with your existing systems, look for a PMS that offers self check-in features alongside a direct booking engine and reservation management tools. innRoad’s online check-in and check-out add-on integrates directly with our all-in-one PMS, including our booking engine and reservation management features, making it easy for small hotels to offer online self check-in without having to search for a new software provider (and figure out how to integrate new self check-in tools into an existing PMS).

3. Collect Key Guest Information In Advance

Most hotels follow a standard hotel check-in process—a guest arrives and heads right to reception to provide important information and have their details checked. During this exchange, the front desk staff usually introduces the hotel’s features and regulations before handing the guest their keys or keycard. It’s a standard procedure, but it’s not exactly a quick one. And when you run a small hotel, every minute counts.

By collecting crucial guest information before they arrive, online self check-in tools eliminate the need for guests to wait at the front desk so your staff can collect this information manually. With important information like IDs and payment information already shared online, guests can simply pick up their key—or even head right to their room if you have a remote key system. That means less admin work for your front desk staff and more time to spend on providing a top-notch guest experience.

With our self check-in add-on, you can:

  • Confirm contact info including email and phone numbers prior to arrival
  • Collect IDs as required
  • Capture credit card information and required payments
  • Sign and store registration forms and documents

4. Streamline Your Billing Process

Speedy hotel check-out procedures are just as important as a quick check-in. With the help of a cloud-based hotel check in process, you can automate billing and streamline the entire process so your guests (and your staff) don’t have to wait in line to settle a bill before they leave.

With an all-in-one PMS that includes payment processing features, you can collect payment information before your guests arrive and manage all payments, chargebacks, and deposits in one dashboard. When room fees and other charges for parking, room service, spa visits, and other on-site purchases are all handled in one platform, you’ll spend less time coordinating between departments and collecting payments from your guests when they check-out.

INNROAD TIP: With our online self check-in add-on, guests can reserve and purchase perks and add-ons when they check-in, including early check-in, parking, bottles of wine upon arrival, spa visits, and other on-brand touches. Any upsell or add-on charges will be automatically added to their bill right in your PMS dashboard.

Checking Out

An all-in-one property management system can help you streamline almost every aspect of your operations, including your hotel check in process and hotel check out procedures. When check-in and check-out are fast and easy, you can focus on ensuring that your guests have a great guest experience.

innRoad’s all-in-one PMS can help you speed up check-in and check-out by:

  1. Providing an easy booking experience
  2. Offering contactless online self check-in
  3. Collecting key guest information before arrival
  4. Streamlining the payment process

Discover innRoad's Small Hotel PMS

Request a free customized demo to see how innRoad's small hotel PMS can help you get more bookings, streamline operations, and increase your revenue.