The SMARTY Hotel and Boardinghouse in Homburg talks about the Digital Guest Journey

Our hotel of the month in February is the Smarty Hotel in Homburg. We interviewed Geraldine Reumkens, Managing Director Marketing and Sales at Rheinland Hotel Collection, and asked her how our solutions are in use.

The SMARTY Hotel Homburg relies on a 24h reception and a quick check-in via smartphone or a kiosk at the reception. The digital, modern solutions provide the hotel with the necessary flexibility to respond to all guest requests.

“There is more time for personal service and the quick and easy check-in options are perceived very positively by hotel guests,” says Geraldine Reumkens of the Rheinland Hotel Collection.

The hotel in Homburg uses digital solutions for check-in & -out including registration form and PIN codes to enable door opening without keycards. The solutions are in use in cooperation with our partners Schulte Schlagbaum AG, protel and Worldline. The hotel also uses our software solution for the check-in kiosk at the reception. In addition, payment can also be made in the check-in or check-out process via the straiv by CODE2ORDER solution, in cooperation with our partner Worldline.

What does a digital guest journey actually mean to you, how is it used at your hotel?

For us, the digital guest journey means that we offer hotel guests a contactless stay, from booking to check-out – if the guest wishes so. This means that our guests have the choice and can design their stay entirely according to their wishes – while personal interaction continues despite the digitalization of some processes.

How many steps of the guest journey we offer digitally always depends on the location we are in, the possibilities we have regarding the technical system (which systems are already in place and cannot be changed over as quickly as, for example, door locks) and, of course, the target group, i.e. which guests we are dealing with.

The biggest advantage of the digital guest journey as far as we are concerned is that we can flexibly design our reception times and offer a 24h service. In addition, with a digital guest journey we can provide our guests with relevant information about the hotel and the surrounding area at the right time in an automated way.

If I book as a hotel guest with you at SMARTY Hotels in Homburg, what can I expect, how will I be accompanied digitally?

The SMARTY Hotel and Boardinghouse with 50 rooms is a space-optimized hotel concept with digital features, where we emphasize a completely digital guest journey. At the same time, we are also available to our guests with a personal service.

We are set up in such a way that we can be flexible, particularly with the reception times, guests have the choice between personal check-in or pre-check-in before their stay meaning the guest receives a welcome e-mail in which the check-in is explained in detail. The guest is able to check-in via a mobile device on the day of arrival and gets the pin code for the main entrance and their room straight to their smartphone after successfully paying for their stay. They can also access information about the hotel during their stay and receive a check-out email. We try not to overload our guests with emails here, we want to keep the process as lean as possible.

What is the biggest advantage of a digital check-in or a digital guest journey for you in hotel operations?

We use these solutions so that we have more time for the guest. Payment processing, for example, is also possible completely digitally. All relevant systems are integrated via corresponding interfaces. Through the integration of the PMS with straiv by CODE2ORDER and the connection of the locking system and payments – i.e. the integration of all relevant systems of the guest journey – our employees on site have much more time for the guests and can devote themselves much better to their personal concerns.

Do you have a tip for hotel operators who would also like to digitize processes but don't quite know where and how to start?

The entire topic of digitization and the digital guest journey should be considered from a holistic perspective. Starting with the PMS, connectivity on site and the locking mechanism used – it is important that these systems communicate with each other and are properly interconnected. Which payment provider do I want to integrate into the Guest Journey, which one do I possibly already have? Of course, it is also important that you know your target group and your guest clientele in detail so that you can select the locking system and other solutions accordingly along these lines. Are they completely digitally affine or still somewhat analog, so should you also offer a check-in kiosk on site? These are questions every hotel operator should ask themselves and then evaluate.

What were the 3 biggest challenges you faced when it came to digitizing the guest journey?

TThe biggest challenge is the interface connection between the systems. Which data is transferred from which system and how? Ultimately, this determines how extensively I can automatize my existing processes. I also see another challenge in meeting guests both digitally and analogously. We have noticed, for example, that it is important for our target group that there is an option for check-in on site, whether by using a personal reception desk or a check-in terminal, for example.

We noticed that during the pandemic, the acceptance of contactless check-in and contactless guest travel increased a lot. This does not mean that our guests do not appreciate personal contact. The digital solutions offer us the flexibility and freedom to seek more personal contact with the guests, as there is more time available again.

The SMARTY Hotel and Boardinghouse, as well as the Rheinland Hotel Collection are part of our partner, the gut Group, a service and customer oriented association for the medium-sized hotel industry. All SMARTY hotels belong to the gut Group’s hotel association and are managed under the hotel brand gut-Hotels SMART. The gut Group’s services cover the areas of purchasing, sales, human resources, marketing & communications, and financing & law. The gut Group also offers suitable assistance for the medium-sized hotel industry in the areas of digitalization and sustainability.

Would you also like to digitize parts of the guest journey or offer a simple digital check-in? Send us an inquiry, we will be very happy to advise you.