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5 Key Ways to Reduce the Bottleneck in your Hotel Lobby


A line at your hotel’s front desk can cause several problems. As well as the obvious inconvenience to your guests – who may have just completed an arduous journey to reach you and want nothing more than to get to their room and relax – a bottleneck in the lobby doesn’t reflect well on your business.

It may seem like a regular line at the front desk is inevitable, especially at busy times, but this isn’t the case! Below you’ll find details of five easy-to-implement ways to reduce the lobby bottleneck, free up staff time and – most importantly – give your guests a great first impression of your hotel.

Use Online Check-ins

Using an online check-in system can cut your front desk line by half, so it’s great for both guests using it and those opting to check in the ‘traditional’ way. On average, checking in a guest takes around eight minutes, which means a queue can build up quickly, making for a frustrating start to your visitors’ stay.

A contactless online check-in for hotels system gives guests access to everything they need to sign–before arrival. Make hotel operations seamless and give your staff the tools they need to provide guests the perfect stay. This could be through, for example, offering room upgrades or additional services to make their arrival even more enjoyable. By engaging with your guests pre-arrival, you can personalize their stay and ensure that everything meets their expectations.

Online check-ins also mean that regardless of the booking source, guests must access your hotel’s website, which is an excellent opportunity to showcase your brand and highlight the fantastic services and facilities you have available – which they may like to book in advance!

Be Clear on Arrival Time

A remote check-in system can help with this, too. Knowing as precisely as possible when your guests will arrive means you can ensure adequate staffing levels at your front desk to avoid a queue building up.

Knowing exactly when your guests will arrive also lets you prioritize housekeeping so that when your visitors come to the front desk, there’s no chance their room won’t be ready. Get in touch with your guest on a couple of occasions before they arrive to confirm their planned check-in time; this is also the perfect time to see if they would like to pre-order a ‘just arrived’ celebratory drink or a room service meal.

Make sure it’s clear, too, what guests need to do if they’re running late – can they update this via your website portal, for example, or do you need them to telephone the front desk? 

Offer Early Arrivals and Late Departures

To prevent bottlenecks from forming at your hotel’s standard check-in and check-out times, consider offering your guests the option of an earlier check-in and a later check-out for a small fee. This is a great way to boost revenue and enhance your guest experience; it may be especially useful to business guests, who often need to arrive early.

For families on vacation, a later check-out offers a great opportunity to enjoy the last day of their break fully and make the most of the hotel facilities before hitting the road home.

Some hotels give guests who stipulate they’ll be arriving late in the day a small discount, which is generally very appreciated by these visitors!

Ensure Staff Are Properly Trained

The hospitality industry suffers from the highest staff turnover rate, which can significantly impact hotels’ ability to train staff adequately.

Making sure that front desk staff are fully trained is vital, though: not least because this can cut down on the line at reception. Sending out important information on policies and procedures to new starters before their first day is a good idea so that they can familiarize themselves with these things early.

Buddying up a new team member with a colleague for their first few days is also a great way to help them learn the ropes of their new role while giving them some vital support, too: this is also an essential aspect in reducing staff turnover.

It’s crucial to ensure a new hire working at the front desk is thoroughly familiar with the computer systems and software so they’ll be able to process arrivals, check-outs, and guest queries quickly and efficiently.

Install a Check-In Kiosk

And finally, you may want to consider installing a check-in and check-out kiosk to allow your guests to skip the front desk. To use these kiosks, arriving guests without a reservation can check to see if a room is available and, if so, enter their personal information and payment details, following which the machine will dispense the key to their chosen room.

Guests can also use kiosks to check out by accessing and checking their final bill and returning their key, making for frictionless arrivals and departures and keeping the line at the front desk under control.

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