Check in Photo by Proxyclick Visitor Management System on Unsplash

Innovative ideas for your front desk

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It’s one of the first things your guests experience on arrival, so how can you make your hotel or vacation rental front desk experience more engaging?

Impacting both the guest experience and day-to-day office operations, the way in which your front desk is elevated by technology has changed dramatically in recent years. Simultaneously, the need for human interaction has taken on a new role, working in tangent with tech rather than as a dated alternative.

Whether the desk is manned by skilled staff with the latest tools at their disposal or takes a pared back approach with machine-based check-in, there are a myriad of different routes you can take to improve front office operations in your hotel, hostel, vacation rental, and beyond. We delved into the Click. Magazine archives to find some top tips on innovative ideas for your front desk from the experts.

Say goodbye to lines

Make use of digital solutions such as mobile check-in or keyless entry to ensure that its front desks are free of lines, which saves guests and staff time so they can focus on other important priorities according to Sahrette Saayman, Director of Communications at Yotel.

Yotel has replaced traditional reception desks with an automated process where guests can use the app to check in on their way to the hotel and either collect a key on arrival or they can use their mobile device to access their room.

Avoid clutter

While the front desk might act as an info point for guests eager to explore the local area, too many brochures, flyers, and maps can be off-putting. Instead, take a more human approach to concierge-like recommendations.

Sylvia de San Cristóbal, Front Office Manager at Amare Marbella Beach Hotel favors a more personal take on providing guests with info, giving you an opportunity to connect and learn about their interests before tailored recommendations can be made – avoiding unattractive and overwhelming piles of literature stacked on the front desk.

Face value

Looking beyond mobile solutions, facial recognition technology is increasingly being explored as a means to facilitate the likes of check-in and interactions with virtual assistants – in place of a more classic hotel front desk approach.

According to Peggy Fang Roe, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Asia Pacific at Marriott International, traditional hotel check-in processes in China take at least three minutes – rising further during peak times, with the guest spending the majority of that time in a line. If facial recognition technology is used, the check-in process can potentially be completed in less than a minute.

Human touch

Even with the most sophisticated technology in place, sometimes an arriving guest might need help for a change in plan or some advice on hidden gems that only a local expert could possibly know. James Waters, Vice President of Partner & Customer Service at is a firm believer in knowing when and where to make the most of human interaction alongside machine-based innovations – strike the right balance and you're on the path to creating great guest experience.


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Hero image: Credit to Proxyclick Visitor Management System, Unsplash
  • Digital solutions like mobile check-in can help reduce lines and refine front-desk operations
  • Amplify the front desk's concierge service with bespoke recommendations rather than piles of leaflets
  • Facial recognition technology can further revolutionize the check-in experience
  • Balancing tech with human interaction is the best way to create great service for your guests