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Learn how to use SMS to improve hotel check-in and check-out

First impressions matter, which is why it's worth it to add texting to your hotel's check-in and check-out process.

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It’s time for hotels to improve their check-in process

Some people get nostalgic about life before the Internet, but it’s easy to forget what it was really like. Imagine wanting to listen to Beyoncé’s latest album, but the record store was sold out.

What if you still had to drive to the bank to transfer money between accounts, and they turned out to be closed? Or worse—try to recall the horror of being on a plane and having no choice but to squint and watch whatever PG-rated, in-flight movie was playing.

We could go on, but suffice it to say that smartphones have made our lives better. Still, there’s one clumsy process that hasn’t been brought into the 21st century yet: the hotel check-in procedure.

Do guests really prefer mobile check-in?

Yes. Increasingly, guests are turning to brands that can make their hospitality experiences seamless using technology—especially mobile technology. Companies that are taking advantage of this trend are reaping the rewards. Consider the following: online travel agencies now account for 45% of mobile bookings.

Of course, booking is just the beginning. Guests want to continue using their mobile devices to interact with your hotel—both for check-in and in-room requests. Take a look at these numbers from the High Tech For High Touch: Hospitality Vision Study:

  • 68% of hotel guests want to avoid the front desk by utilizing their smartphones to check in.
  • 66% of guests say they have a better experience when associates use the latest technology.
  • On top of that, 92% of guests carry a smartphone on them.

These numbers are expected to continue to rise. But we get it. If you run a boutique hotel, you may not have the resources to develop your own app with mobile check-in like Marriott.

The good news is there are more affordable options that can facilitate the check-in process, like text messages. Plans with no contracts mean you can try mobile check-in for your hotel without having to make any commitments.

Plus, every phone is capable of sending and receiving texts, meaning the option will be available to every guest—whether they have the latest iPhone or are still clinging to their Blackberries.

First steps: adding texting to your hotel’s check-in process

There are endless ways to use SMS for your hotel. In fact, we wrote an entire guide about it. Before you get started, the first thing you need to do is sign up for a text marketing platform. (You can sign up for a free 14-day trial of ours here.)

Once you’re signed up, there are two main steps before you can start texting guests:

  • Secure a dedicated short code, pick and register a new local number, choose and verify a toll-free number, or text-enable your existing 10-digit line.
  • Train and instruct your staff on the new system. We have an article to help make that a breeze.

Messages to send that make check-in easier for guests

Every hotel’s check-in process looks a little different. The below messages should give you some inspiration about how you can use SMS to provide a high-touch experience for guests.

1. Send a reservation confirmation text

Even the most experienced traveler can forget a check-in time and show up before the room is ready or after your front-desk staff has left. Reduce frustration and send an automated message reminding guests when their reservation starts.

Hi Melissa, your stay at Oasis Villas begins soon. Your check-in time is 2 p.m. on Wed, May 4th. We look forward to seeing you. 👋

2. Set up templates for questions about early check-in and check-out

You probably get the same questions over and over from guests. With templates, you can save time and avoid writing out the same answers.

Can I check in earlier? At around 11?

Absolutely, Melissa. We offer early check-in for $25. That comes with breakfast. 🥐

Perfect! Please add that to my reservation.

3. Send guests their room password

If your hotel or vacation rental has a keypad or lockbox, your guest can completely forgo having to wait at the front desk. As soon as they arrive, text them the details they need.

I’ve arrived.

Welcome! Your room is 342. To enter, type 5965 on the keypad then tap the key symbol. Text us if you have any trouble.

I’m in, thanks!

4. Inform guests of hotel amenities

After a long flight, your guests want to take a much-needed shower and power nap. Give them the space they want by sending a text informing them of extras and amenities.

Good morning Melissa, hope you slept well. Just wanted to let you know there’s a complimentary yoga class this morning at 11:30 on the patio. 😊

5. Remind guests of check-out time

A day before your guest’s stay ends, send a friendly reminder of the check-out time and any other procedures they need to know about. For example, if they’re renting an entire villa, you may want to politely ask them to shut off the A/C and turn the lights off.

We can’t believe your stay is almost over! Just a reminder that check-out is at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow. We hope to see you back soon. 🙂

6. Ask guests to leave a review

At check-out, your concierge should ask guests to leave a review. Oftentimes, guests forget. With text messages, you’re more likely to get reviews because you can send a link directly to TripAdvisor (or whatever booking platform you prefer).

We miss you already Melissa! Could you take a moment to let us know how your stay went on TripAdvisor?

Automating your hotel’s check-in and marketing messages

Features like scheduled texts, autoresponders, and triggers will free up time for your front desk staff that’s used to having to be glued to the phone. And with our mobile app, they can reply to texts from guests, even when they’re away from the desk.

But there’s still a way to automate your check-in process even further. Thanks to our integration with Zapier, you can plug SimpleTexting into your existing property management or reservation system—with zero coding experience. For example, if you use BookingSync (which connects to Airbnb,, HomeAway, TripAdvisor), you can send a text when:

  • A new booking is created
  • A client is added or updated
  • A booking is canceled

You can even update a booking when you receive a new text in SimpleTexting. We only charge for outgoing texts, meaning you don’t have to pay for messages your guests send you.

An improved check-in procedure, and much more

First impressions matter, which is why it’s worth it to add texting to your hotel’s check-in and check-out process. But there’s so much more you can do with texting. Use it for in-room requests, sending out event invitations, or sending promotions.

We’d love to talk to you about how your hotel can start using SMS messages. Click the blue chat bubble to talk to us about why texting is the easiest way to communicate with your guests (and staff!).

Alfredo Salkeld
Alfredo Salkeld

Alfredo is SimpleTexting's brand manager. He's passionate about using his 10+ years of marketing experience to help small businesses grow.

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