Hotel Tech for a Touchless New World

COVID-19 has pushed us all into a world of caution. Social distancing regulations and fear of infection have impacted our daily lives as we avoid physical interaction. Even as cases drop and official restrictions ease, a level of cautiousness will likely remain with us for some time. Hotels and other businesses are operating under new guidelines that include sanitization, physical distancing and contact tracing protocols, possibly permanently.

Businesses across all industries are turning to technology to help streamline new processes and maintain customer service. While it seems contrary to the notion of hospitality, right now it is important to reduce physical touchpoints during a hotel stay to help keep guests and staff safe. Modern hotel technology makes this possible through automation that also augments and personalizes the guest experience.

Over the past decade, more and more hotels have been implementing mobile technology to improve workflows and the guest experience. Now, in our touchless new world, such innovation is more crucial than ever.

Self check-in

First impressions count so check-in is an important touchpoint to get right. Guests expect an efficient, personable welcome; a bad one can taint the rest of their stay.

While the check-in process traditionally involves physical interaction between the guest and hotel staff, online technology has spurred consumer demand for self-service applications and many hotel brands have already met that demand with a mobile self-check-in option.

Integrated with the hotel property management system (PMS), mobile self-check-in applications provide guests with an efficient yet personalized check-in process while reducing time at the front desk. In fact, when integrated with online payment and keyless entry solutions, self-check-in apps allow guests to bypass the front desk entirely.

A “touchless” check-in process has never been more relevant than it is now. Self-check-in solutions not only help keep guests and staff safe during the pandemic, but improve efficiency and personalization through data automation too.

Mobile housekeeping app

Although there are less guestrooms to clean at most properties due to low occupancy levels brought about by COVID-19, new housekeeping procedures to mitigate the spread of the virus have made housekeeping responsibilities and schedules more complicated.

Right now, many travelers are wary about physical contact with other people and surfaces. To make guests feel more comfortable, some hotels are offering guests a choice between varying levels of housekeeping service. Some hotels have halted housekeeping service altogether during a guest’s stay to protect the health of both guests and housekeeping staff. Many properties are enforcing a 48-hour or longer room closeout between stays to allow for deeper cleaning and decontamination.

While COVID-19 is still a threat, staying on top of cleaning protocols, schedules and housekeeping requests is of utmost importance. Equipping housekeeping staff with mobile access to the housekeeping report ensures staff are efficient and informed at all times while they work.

Integrated with the PMS, a mobile housekeeping app improves internal communication and workflow by allowing housekeepers to view the live occupancy status of rooms (due in, occupied, do-not-disturb, checked out), and front-desk agents to see which rooms have been cleaned, inspected and are ready for guests in real time. Housekeepers can attach notes and maintenance alarms to rooms as they work, to help keep track of special housekeeping requests, maintenance issues or sick/quarantining guests.

Mobile messaging

Mobile messaging provides a way for hotels to offer guests a convenient, open line of personalized communication, without physical interaction. Rapidly growing in popularity well before COVID-19 hit, mobile messaging solutions for hotels are now truly an answer for the need of the hour.

With an impressive open rate of 98 percent, text messaging is an effective and efficient way to keep guests informed about COVID-19 protocols and hotel services. For example, an automated pre-arrival message could let guests know you are looking forward to their arrival, include a link to a dedicated URL containing relevant hotel information, and invite them to let you know if they have any questions or special requests.

As a COVID-19 precaution, hotel information folders have been removed from many guestrooms because these high-touch surfaces are difficult to clean. In many cases, properties are shifting this information online. An automated text message sent to guests upon check-in can link to online hotel information, ensuring guests are aware of house rules, the Wi-Fi password, etc., and remind guests that they can easily reach out via text messaging if they need anything.

During their stay, guests can use mobile messaging to make requests without having to make physical contact with the front desk, and on the day of departure, self-check-out instructions can be communicated automatically.

Direct integration between the mobile messaging platform and the PMS facilitates the personalization and automation of messages. In this case, reservation data is sent from the PMS to the messaging platform in real time to automate routine message delivery, and to match incoming guest inquiries with reservation data for more efficient and personalized responses and resolution. This can make a significant positive impact on productivity and customer service, not only when occupancy is high, but also when operating with skeleton staff as business begins to recover.

Smart room tech

Light switches, thermostat controls and TV remotes are high-touch points for guests that can be avoided through the use of smart room technology. Powered by IoT (Internet of Things) technology, smart room functionality can be controlled via mobile app or voice-activated digital assistants like Alexa for Hospitality. Guests can close the drapes, turn on the lights, adjust the room temperature, select entertainment programming, order room service and even turn on the coffee machine using their own smartphone or simply by voice command.

Not only does smart room technology offer an elevated level of convenience that modern travelers desire, but reducing physical contact with high-touch surfaces will make guests feel safer while COVID-19 is still out there.

Smart room technology is a significant investment and doesn’t suit all lodging operations, but it makes sense to consider such solutions for our touchless new normal and beyond. In the meantime, make sure guests know that all high-touch guestroom surfaces are disinfected after every stay.

Many aspects of daily hotel operations have changed in the wake of COVID-19. As long as the virus is a threat, operational protocols that enforce physical distancing and thorough sanitization will be our new normal. From self-check-in to mobile messaging, modern technology can help hotels improve efficiency and customer service as they adapt to new processes and prepare to welcome both guests of today and tomorrow.

Hoping For Happy Customers? Start With Happy Employees

For anyone in the hospitality industry, customer satisfaction is priority number one. Happy guests become loyal guests whose engagement and advocacy help spread your marketing reach. So how do you ensure customer satisfaction? Of course, quality facilities and amenities are a must, but a quick scan of Trip Advisor proves that exceptional staff play a critical role in impressing guests. Online reviews for top-rated properties are brimming with references to friendly and knowledgeable staff going out of their way to accommodate and delight. That’s why it’s so important to have engaged employees that are happy and motivated to do their best. Not only will they be more productive and efficient performing their duties, but they’ll also go above and beyond to ensure every guest feels welcome and appreciated. Here are a few tips for nurturing happy and engaged employees:

Create a culture of learning

Ongoing training helps create an engaging and positive environment for staff. Working in hospitality can be stressful but being familiar and comfortable with the protocol for high-stress situations (like receiving a customer complaint, or responding to an overbooking) alleviates a lot of anxiety. Make sure to provide frequent opportunities for your employees to brush up on skills and procedures—perhaps even practicing with role-playing scenarios—in order to ensure they feel confident and supported on the job.

Foster a team-centered environment

Running a successful lodging operation requires exceptional staff coordination. Everyone from the front desk and back office staff to maintenance and housekeeping needs to be communicating to deliver a seamless customer experience from check-in to check-out. So the importance of teamwork shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Fostering a healthy team dynamic is all about open communication and shared goals. Not only is it necessary to provide frequent feedback (both positive and constructive), but your employees should feel like their input and feedback is valuable as well. Invite staff to share their ideas and then respond. Even if it’s something you ultimately decide not to implement, talk to them about it. Letting your staff know that their voices are heard is critical for fostering a team mentality.

You can also let your employees know they are an important member of the team by sharing with them your company goals. Make it clear how they are contributing to the success of the business.  And then keep them informed. Discussing what’s working and what needs improvement breeds trust and a sense of responsibility—and problem-solving as a team will likely result in more efficient and innovative solutions.

Set staff up for success

We mentioned earlier how important it is to support your staff with adequate training, but that’s not all they need. It’s also paramount that you provide employees with the necessary tools to be successful. Equipment that doesn’t function properly, whether it’s an agonizingly slow computer or a faulty vacuum cleaner, causes major headaches for your staff. And if they are constantly fighting with their equipment, employees will be neither happy nor efficient at their jobs.

It can be hard to know when a new purchase is worth it, but that’s precisely why communication is so important. Listen to your staff. They’ll know what is needed the most.


No matter how much technology advances, hospitality has and always will be about people. Warm smiles and authentic connections are still what leave lasting impressions for guests. And that makes your staff your most valuable asset. You want them to go above and beyond for your customers, so make sure you’re going above and beyond for them.

WebRezPro’s Top 5 Blog Posts of 2017

It’s been a big year of blogging here at WebRezPro. We’ve covered a wide range of topics—from digital marketing to hotel operations—aimed to support independent hoteliers. As 2017 comes to a close, we’d like to take a look back at the most popular posts of the past year.

Here are the top 5 blog posts from 2017 (listed in order by number of views):

1. Hospitality Technology Trends to Implement in 2017

Technology continues to change and improve operations for hoteliers. To remain relevant and maintain a competitive edge, it’s necessary to stay informed about (and be open to adopting) emerging technology trends. In this post, we highlighted a few of these trends to consider for 2017. The year is almost over, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed the boat. Everything we discussed back then holds true today. Take a look for more information on data consolidation, mobile PMS, direct bookings, mobile messaging and in-room technology. >> read blog post

2. 7 Smart Social Media Practices for Hotels in 2017

Social media has become a potent marketing tool. And its role will likely only continue to grow. Like any marketing platform, it’s only effective if you’re intentional about how it’s used. Simply having accounts and posting isn’t enough. This blog post highlights smart social media strategies to help hoteliers make the most of this power medium. >> read blog post

3. Essential Elements of a Hotel Website

The number of hours the average person spends on the internet each day continues to climb. People live online. That’s why all businesses should make their website a priority. It’s likely the first place people will go to learn about and engage with your brand, so it’s imperative to make a good impression. From content to functionality, this post breaks down the most critical elements of an effective website. Read on to make sure your business is maximizing the potential of your online presence. >> read blog post

4. Mobile Musts for Independent Hotels in 2017

As mentioned above, the average person spends a lot of their time online. With the ubiquity of smartphones, the majority of this is done from a mobile device. This transition from desktop to mobile browsing has both significant implications for your digital marketing strategies and exciting applications for your on-premise operations – both of which are are explored in this blog post. Have a look to make sure you’re not missing opportunities to improve your business or getting left behind in this mobile era. >> read blog post

5. Getting to Know WebRezPro: Housekeeping Report

A good housekeeping report is critical for running an efficient property. With numerous rooms and staff members, delegating and communicating can be challenging to manage. But a report with interactive capabilities, real-time information, and mobile accessibility makes it easy. This post describes WebRezPro’s housekeeping report and how it supports our clients’ operations. >> read blog post

What an exciting year! Succeeding in the hospitality industry requires reconciling timeless fundamental principles (like providing excellent customer service) with ever-evolving trends in communication and technology. It’s a lot to stay on top of, but that’s what makes it fun! We look forward to another year of learning, blogging about, and helping independent hoteliers keep their finger on the pulse of this dynamic industry. Until then, have a wonderful holiday season!

Getting to Know WebRezPro: Housekeeping Report

A lot of things are changing in the hospitality industry, but one fact that has and will remain steadfast is the essential role that housekeeping plays in the running of a successful property.  With the cleaning, maintenance, and preparation of rooms as significant contributors to guest satisfaction, it’s important to keep the management of all these moving parts as organized and seamless as possible.

An essential component of any property management system is a housekeeping report. Providing details on room status, room notes, and current guests, this report is crucial for communicating housekeeping information at a property with numerous rooms and employees.

The housekeeping report included in the WebRezPro system offers real-time information, interactive capabilities and multiple formats to suit your property’s needs.

Real-Time Information

All relevant housekeeping information is organized in a clean, user-friendly format in the WebRezPro housekeeping report.

Every unit is displayed with entries signaling the current room status, occupancy, zone and any attached notes or maintenance alarms. The report also shows guest information for anyone arriving, departing or staying through, for a given unit.

Interactive Capabilities

Not only does the housekeeping report provide up-to-the-minute information about individual units, but its interactivity also allows employees to make updates directly from the report. Using this report employees can:

Change List Order >> Units can be listed by number, status, type, occupancy, departing guests, arriving guests or guests staying through, simply by clicking on the appropriate header.

Change Room Status >> The status of a room can be changed by clicking on the edit icon for the appropriate unit. The available statuses include ‘dirty,’ ‘in service,’ ‘clean,’ ‘inspected,’ and ‘privacy.’

Add Notes and Alarms >> An employee can add a note to a unit by clicking the edit icon. There are options to add a note that will remain only for the selected date or a permanent note which will remain until turned off. Maintenance alarms can be added by clicking the maintenance icon for a particular unit. The status of an alarm can be changed from ‘active’ to ‘work in progress’ to ‘work completed,’ as necessary.

Search by Keyword >> A search bar at the top of the report can be used to search for key words. Using this feature will pull up only reservations that match the search criteria.

Assign and Edit Zones >> Zones are used to group units together for housekeeping purposes. The Edit Zone function is used to name zones and assign housekeepers to them. Units can be designated to different zones using the Bulk Actions feature. 

Make Bulk Edits >> By selecting the appropriate units, and using the Bulk Actions menu at the top of the form, employees can change the status or zone of multiple units at a time.

Tile View Format

While the list-style format of the housekeeping report is ideal for managers and front-desk staff to get an understanding of the property-wide housekeeping situation, it may be less optimal for housekeepers themselves (who are more interested in individual units at a time and may be using mobile devices). That is why WebRezPro has introduced a second option for their housekeeping report that allows the information to be viewed in a tile format.

The tile view includes all the same data and functionality of the original report but is arranged in a format that is more user-friendly for housekeepers updating information on a mobile device.


The importance of a good housekeeping report cannot be understated. Every property should have a system that allows relevant information about room status and occupancy to be updated quickly and accurately to make communication and task delegation as seamless as possible.

The features of the housekeeping report that have been described here are available in WebRezPro version 10.5.27. If you are currently using an earlier version of WebRezPro, please contact us for your free upgrade.

Are you boosting productivity with WebRezPro’s mobile housekeeping reports?

WebRezPro’s mobile housekeeping app is already in the palm of your hand! It comes at no extra cost (in fact, you’ll reduce paper and printing costs – not to mention, your environmental footprint) and your housekeepers can access it simply by logging in to WebRezPro from their smart phones or tablets.

Mobile housekeeping reports allow housekeepers to view and update room cleaning status from their mobile devices as they work. This means that cleaning staff don’t have to return to the housekeeping desk to update housekeeping information and front desk has up-to-the-minute knowledge of which rooms are ready for new guests. This convenient function not only improves productivity, but inter-staff communication, too.

Each housekeeper can be set up with his or her own WebRezPro log-in and privileges set appropriately. For example, you can turn off accounting system access, and restrict reservation system access solely to the housekeeping report. Directly upon logging into WebRezPro, housekeepers will see a link that opens the housekeeping app. It’s that simple! Each housekeeper will only see rooms to which he or she has been assigned.

So, here’s a quick recap of the benefits of WebRezPro’s mobile housekeeping reports:

Mobile Housekeeping Report

Mobile Housekeeping Report

>> Boosts productivity

>> Improves inter-staff communication

>> Cuts paper and printing costs

>> Environmentally friendlier

And it won’t cost you anything.

You can check out our other mobile apps, including mobile housekeeping reports, here.

If you’re interested in finding out more about mobilizing your entire PMS, take a look at our latest white paper about mobile property management.