Covid-19 pandemic drives mobile room key and contactless check-in adoption across hospitality industry

Graph showing how Covid-19 pandemic has driven mobile room key and contactless check-in adoption in hospitality industry
HELPFUL TECHNOLOGY: Covid-19 has driven the adoption of mobile check-in and contactless kiosks

Nearly two thirds of branded and independent hotels will be offering mobile room keys (64.1%) and more than three quarters will have implemented self-service check-in options including contactless kiosks and mobile check-in (75.4%) by the end of 2022, according to a survey by New York University (NYU).

These projected figures compare with 33.9% of hotels offering mobile keys and 38.3% offering self-service check-in prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the survey, 15.2% of respondents implemented mobile keys during the pandemic and another 15% plan to do so during 2022, while 25.3% introduced self-service check-in during the pandemic and another 11.8% plan to do so during 2022.

“Mobile key technology was created many years ago, but the pandemic helped popularise this tech,” the researchers from NYU’s Jonathan M Tisch Center of Hospitality say.

“People started to see mobile keys as a helpful technology that enabled them to minimise in-person interactions. As a result, this technology saw the second-largest increase during the pandemic after mobile check-in.

“It increased by almost 45% during the pandemic and is projected to increase 31% in 2022.”

The survey also found that mobile key adoption rates varied between different types of hotel with 67.9% of branded hotels currently offering guests a mobile key compared with 33.7% of independent hotels.

Respondents also identified self-service check-in (45%) and mobile keys (31.8%) as the main technologies that helped them serve guests effectively if they are understaffed.

“During the pandemic, over a quarter of hoteliers surveyed implemented mobile check-in,” the researchers add.

“Although this technology ranked fifth prior to the pandemic, it surpassed automation tools and in-room technology to become the third most utilised technology.

“Many hotels felt eliminating or providing an alternative to the traditional front-desk model by offering self-service check-in would help guests feel more comfortable during the pandemic.

“Looking ahead, it is also the most reported selection for implementation during 2022. The availability of this technology in hotels has grown at a very fast pace over the last few years, undoubtedly in response to the challenges of traveling during the pandemic.”

The survey was conducted with 525 hoteliers, the majority based in North America (76.2%) and Europe (16.8%), on behalf of property management solutions provider Stayntouch in October and November 2021.

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