While the hospitality market like many industries was caught off guard and could not have foreseen the events of COVID-19, what was more certain was the ingenuity of industry professionals to make solutions available that can lead to a faster and stronger recovery where guests can once again feel safe within hotel surroundings.

In order to meet the new normal market demands, it is important to first understand how guest expectations are changing post-COVID-19. Previously, guests were more concentrated on fast and hassle-free experiences such as when checking-in. Attention has since shifted to how each guest can protect themselves from germs while being in an environment where many surfaces are shared and close contact with others can represent a health risk. Guests are therefore now placing themselves in a vulnerable position when being asked to check-in and receive a room key at the front desk. Hoteliers must acknowledge this by using the newest means available to adapt their services and overcome this concern. On the other hand, a guest's expectation of their hotel experience remains high - they expect operations to be convenient despite these new challenges. What do hoteliers need to do to face this challenge head-on and successfully ensure the health and safety of all guests while maintaining maximum convenience? This is where contactless, guest-facing technology comes into play and why it is rapidly being adopted by hoteliers around the world.

Mobile Access by ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions for example, offers contactless check-in/out experiences that simultaneously provide guests with the opportunity to avoid potential health risks while preventing any decrease in service quality by actually enhancing convenience and satisfaction. Guests who download the mobile app, can digitally check-in right when they arrive and receive both room number details and digital keys to gain instant and convenient access to their guestroom without having to interact with staff or come into unnecessarily close contact with other guests and staff. The same digital key abilities are also compatible with a wide range of VingCard door locks and access controllers, meaning digital key access can be used not just for guestrooms, but for multiple locations throughout a hotel. Areas include building entrances, parking garages, elevators a hotel's spa or swimming pool areas and much more, ensuring that guests can continue to minimize exposure risks while maintaining the highest level of convenience and satisfaction at all times during their stay.

The ability to provide contactless check-in related services also extends to equipping hotel staff with advanced security access management systems that can further reduce the need for direct physical contact. With Vostio Access Management for instance, employees can remotely extend guest stays and carry out room reassignment requests without ever requiring guests to visit the front desk for a new key. In addition, the solution's cloud-based design allows hotel staff to monitor and control security access operations from virtually anywhere and at any time as long they have access to an internet-connected computer or device. This advantage not only reduces the need for staff members to work in close proximity to each other but also provides employees with a greater ability to simultaneously and effectively carry out other responsibilities at a time when hotel labor resources are significantly limited. Using Vostio Access Management, employees can monitor any aspect of security access no matter where they are within the hotel or even if they are offsite and can always immediately implement necessary response measures to ensure that any security issue does not have the opportunity to deteriorate further.

Once hospitality professionals understood that the pandemic represented a long-term shift in industry needs and requirements, they also came together to create a range of newer solutions designed to further prevent the growth and spread of germs throughout a hotel. Examples include copper-based alloy door handles that have been shown to significantly minimize the amount of time that viruses and bacteria can survive on handle surfaces. Other options now available also provide hoteliers with the opportunity to implement hands-free door openers for common doors found throughout a property in order to eliminate physical contact with door surfaces altogether.

When implementing such positive changes, hoteliers should also remind themselves that each contactless solution not only effectively reduces the risk of germs spreading but can also serve as a reminder to guests that their health and safety is always a top priority. Implementing contactless solutions is essential in regaining the trust and confidence of guests, and it is up to each hotelier to leverage the knowledge of industry experts to help guide them as they seek to identify new ways of ensuring that guests can once again obtain the peace-of-mind that they expect when traveling.

About ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions

The ASSA ABLOY Group is the global leader in access solutions. Every day, we help billions of people experience a more open world.

ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions is dedicated to reimagining how people move through their world. Our expertise in customer journey mapping, innovation and service design leads to the invention of new security solutions that create value for our clients and exceptional experiences for end users.

For the hospitality market, these solutions include integrated software systems, mobile access and location solutions designed to help our customers enhance the hotel guest experience, while improving operational efficiency. In order to provide best-in-class customer service, we offer support in more than 166 countries.

For more information, please visit assaabloyglobalsolutions.com/hospitality and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.