Hotel kiosks are an underutilized medium for crafting seamless guest experiences, improving operations, and much more. There are many creative ways to use hotel kiosks, so it's important to think about what will best fit your brand and target audience(s). In this blog post, we explore the various benefits of hotel kiosks, as well as some surprising ways to use them.
What is a hotel kiosk?
At its highest level, a hotel kiosk is a convenient way for guests to check in and manage various tasks. Kiosks allow the staff to focus on the important things only humans can handle while guests take advantage of the various services and features the hotel has to offer. The implementation of kiosks can eliminate the need for the hotel to waste resources and allow the guest to get the most out of their stay. Kiosks also make lines shorter, speed up the process of health screenings, offer hotels an opportunity to make their lobbies more fun and engaging, and much more.
Are hotel kiosks popular?
Yes, hotel kiosks are popular for many reasons — two of those being that many properties and brands throughout the world are leaning on technology to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and work around the employee labor shortage.
Still, the popularity of hotel kiosks varies greatly depending on the specific hotel's location, clientele, and overall atmosphere. Although hoteliers can (and should) get creative with how and why they use their kiosks, there are some common ways that they can be used to improve the customer experience and internal operations. Things like providing information about local attractions and dining options or allowing guests to check in and out without having to wait in line are all possible thanks to hotel kiosks.
Additionally, many hotels use popular tech tools, such as iPads, to provide a more modern and user-friendly experience for their guests.
Why hotel kiosks are great for guests and properties
- They're fast. According to Hotel Tech Report, guests can check into their room, get their key, and scan any necessary documents all in less than a minute with hotel kiosks.
- They're convenient. With hotel kiosks, guests never have to worry about front desk staff hours when they need assistance with tasks (such as arranging shuttle bus pickup) because they can do it themselves. Also, guests who lose their phones or don’t yet have an international phone plan can also use hotel kiosks to complete tasks related to their stay, such as getting directions to the nearest landmark or a walkable tech store.
- They're informative. As guests complete their check-in or other tasks, they can view related information about their stay, the location, or any special offers the hotel currently has.
- They're eco-friendly. Hotel kiosks encourage guests to choose digital options over paper ones for receipts, maps, and more. Some hotel kiosks even sell products such as reusable water bottles and tote bags just in case guests forgot their own at home.
Popular types of hotel kiosks you should know about
Hotel kiosks are not all created equal, and each has its own pros and cons. Depending on your budget, lobby layout, and goals, you may narrow down your options to only one or two of the following hotel kiosk styles.
1. Wall-mounted hotel kiosks
Wall-mounted kiosks may be a larger upfront investment, but they also offer advantages the other types don’t. For starters, they have a constant energy supply so they never run out of battery. They’re also visually impressive and can be used as a focal point in your lobby to show how cutting-edge your hotel is.
2. Standing hotel kiosks
A standing kiosk is an automated method that hotels can use to check in guests and collect their payments. It’s the most common type of kiosk and is often found at conferences and airports.
As the name implies, this type of hotel kiosk can be used while standing. They’re easy to arrange in nearly any hotel lobby layout, take up very little floor space, and some stands can even be adjusted by the user. They can even be moved around after they are installed.
The most common setup for a standing hotel kiosk is an iPad or similar device on a stand that guests can walk up to. However, its interface can vary depending on the software used to run it.
3. Tabletop kiosks
Tabletop kiosks have devices that are either mounted on stands or placed on top of a counter. Guests can stand and use them or pull up a chair if there is space available. Tabletop kiosks can often be found in restaurant environments and are ideal for guests who want to print items since tabletop space and/or the machine setup makes that possible.
Because tabletop kiosks are mounted, they have a sleek and discreet look since various cables and power sources are hidden within the table itself. You may even be able to purchase a tabletop kiosk unit that converts into a standing kiosk if you think you’ll change your layout one day.
4. Vending kiosks
This type of kiosk combines the convenience of checking in with shopping functions. Not only does this create another revenue opportunity for the hotel, but it also streamlines purchases since guests already have their credit card information on file.
Hotels most commonly include snacks and drinks in their inventories, but there are lots of other products you can distribute. Branded merchandise, seasonal/convenience items like bug spray, and even laptop chargers are all great additions to the hotel kiosk guest experience.
Out-of-the-box ways to use hotel kiosks to improve the guest experience
In addition to getting help with practical tasks such as check-in or viewing the weather, hotel kiosks can be a source of wonder and delight (yes, really) for guests of all ages. Here are some ways to use hotel kiosks that may help land you that five-star review.
1. Play some trivia
Add hotel trivia at check-in to keep guests entertained as they process their credit cards. Use an app like Jeopardy or design your own loading screen to include some fun facts about your brand or property.
2. Go jumbo
Why use a normal iPad when you can get a jumbo one? Some providers offer hotel kiosks with screens that are as large as 35”. Talk about a way to impress your guests!
3. Create postcards
Many hotel kiosks offer photobooth options so guests can take pictures of themselves and their family as they check in. Take this opportunity to go one step further and give them the option to automatically send a postcard with their image to a loved one.
4. Take their order
If your guests plan on having a midnight snack or some coffee on their way out in the morning, your hotel kiosk is the perfect place for them to submit those orders.
5. Perform a light show
This is especially fun over the holidays. If you have multiple hotel kiosk stations, you can synchronize their lock screens to display themed photos or videos similar to the ones you see in your most extravagant neighbor’s yard.
6. Teleport them to space
Some devices offer augmented reality features, which means guests can view what it would look like to walk on Mars as they check into their hotel room.
7. Screen a short film
Use your hotel kiosk screens to show short films during slow moments in your lobby. Work with a local university to feature student projects to get the community involved as well.
8. Start a gallery
Some hotels traditionally showcase drawings and handmade notes on a bulletin board. You can do the same thing, only within your hotel kiosk, by adding an app that can allow guests to draw or write something original for public display.
9. Sell hiking gear
Did you know that hotel kiosks offer tons of great upsell opportunities? It’s true. So if your hotel is located in the mountains, for example, it may be wise to consider selling some related products like hiking gear at check-in.
10. Book a massage
Give guests the opportunity to book their spa appointments right from your hotel kiosk to save them the hassle of having to call in later.
Improve the guest experience one tool at a time!
With the ability to book and check in using apps and self-check-in kiosks, guests can enjoy a more convenient and personalized experience while staying at a hotel. If you’re looking for more ways to make travel more enjoyable for your customers through technology, be sure to check out our guide to the Metaverse and the hospitality industry.