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Business Advice

Speedy SMS check-in at Telok Blangah hotel

All guests have to do when they arrive is pick up their room keys from the front desk
The Straits Times - April 11, 2012
By: Ng Kai Ling
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Speedy SMS check-in at Telok Blangah hotel -- PHOTO: BAY HOTEL

GUESTS at the Bay Hotel in Telok Blangah will soon be able to skip the check-in queue and head straight to their rooms.

The two-month-old hotel is rolling out a new system in two weeks which will allow guests to check themselves in by sending an SMS to the hotel using their mobile phones.

When they arrive at the front desk, all that is left to do is pick up their room keys.

The hotel is believed to be the first in Singapore to make use of mobile technology to fast-track the check-in process.

Mr Philip Raj, Bay Hotel's general manager, said that with the new system, checking in will take less than a minute.

Because hotel guests typically have to present their passports at the front desk to be registered before being shown their rooms, the check-in process can take more than five minutes to complete - or longer if there is a queue.

With the system, travellers submit their particulars prior to their arrival.

'This can free up some of the front-desk staff to take on other duties such as attending to other guests' requests or man the concierge desk,' said Mr Philip.

He declined to reveal how much the system costs but said that about 30 per cent was paid for by Spring Singapore under its Customer-Centric Initiative funding scheme.

Under the scheme, started in 2005, companies can apply for funding for use in areas such as staff training and the adoption of new technology that helps to improve service and productivity.

Besides the SMS service, the Bay Hotel will be using mobile tablets to help guests to check in when they arrive, to avoid queues at the front desk.

These will be made available with the launch of its SMS service.

The service is similar to that being used by Marina Bay Sands, where staff members help guests register and check in on board its coach service from Changi Airport to the hotel.

The SMS check-in system was devised by UbiQ Global Solutions, a company that specialises in computer systems for hotels.

Mr Harbans Singh, its managing director, said that the idea for the SMS service came from a similar service offered by commercial airlines.

He said the system can also be used by guests when they leave.

'Guests can just SMS to check out and they will be given a link to receive their bill,' said Mr Harbans Singh, who added that the company is in talks with other hotels to adopt the system.

He said that the company had decided to use SMS instead of e-mail, as it can be used by anyone with a mobile phone, not just by those with smartphones.

The system will be presented at the Food & Hotel Asia 2012 trade show to be held at the Singapore Expo from next Tuesday to Friday.

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