Virtual Front Desk offers innovative customer service options

Event professionals know the importance of a good first impression. And while each attendee touch point is an opportunity to influence perceptions, that first impression sets the tone for how the experience will likely unfold.

Whether at a hotel or event venue, having a person available at a reception space is the ideal. A receptionist or greeter can offer truly personalized services through the ability to “read” a client and understand their needs. But staffing a front desk 24/7 doesn’t always make sense. And even if you do have a receptionist, they might need additional support from time to time, especially if many clients arrive at the same moment.

Hotel reception loby
When a human is not available…
Enter Virtual Front Desk — a startup company that aims to improve efficiency while keeping human interaction at the center of the guest experience. Whether events, hospitality, tech, or anywhere in between, this new remote welcoming option might be a helpful tool for your organization to improve client services.

In its essence, Virtual Front Desk is a remote client service application. With a tablet or a touch screen computer, brands — such as hotels, CVBs, or events — can offer a fully functional reception. Indeed, while this is an ideal service for accommodation properties (such as hotels or guesthouses), it also provides an attractive option for a variety of other situations: remote meeting spaces, event venues, and tourist information centres. More than a video call, Virtual Front Desk can obtain signatures and capture photos of guests, as well as sync with payment portals. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of remote reception.

Made in Montréal, ready for the world
Virtual Front Desk was launched as part of a pilot project in collaboration with Groupe Germain Hotels, with support from the Ministry of Tourism and the coordination of the MT Lab incubator. The virtual counter has been deployed at Hôtel Le Germain Montréal for a few weeks.

Incidentally, it’s also a timely tool in a pandemic, where limiting human interaction might be a priority for both employees and clients.

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Making the Impossible Possible: : A Hotel Reception for Short Term and Vacation Rentals!

Hotel Front Desk

Nearly all hoteliers have a reception at the center of their customer service experience, and rightfully so. Aside from the obvious security and fraud protection, it is an investment worth making for many good reasons.

When making a reservation, guests are not only buying a room but an overall experience. We love human interaction, and most customers enjoy the process of being welcomed face to face when checking in. Guests enjoy a comfortable bed to sleep in at night but also the pampering and the extra attention that comes with it. After all, for most guests, a night at a hotel is a treat, an experience taking them out of the ordinary and from their daily routine.

Traveling in foreign cities or countries, guests usually have many questions when they arrive at the hotel and the front desk staff is often their first point of contact, it’s a natural place to get extra information about their stay.We see a trend in self-checking stations, they are getting more popular and convenient for a percentage of the clientele such as business travelers and regulars. However, we should not assume that this is the norm.  Most guests still appreciate and expect the customer service that comes with the room’s price tag.Hoteliers around the world recognize this value for their brand, customer satisfaction ultimately leads to loyalty.

Short term, vacation rental Front desk

So what about the short term and vacation rental industry? If receptions are worth the investment for hoteliers, shouldn’t it be the same for Airbnb type hosts? After all, they are too, offering a hospitality experience.

Well, the answer is yes, but there are two major roadblocks in the way: the lack of a physical space for a counter and the cost attached to staffing it.

The average hotel has anything between 35 and 150 rooms located in the same building while most vacation rental hosts have only one or a few dozen doors scattered across several addresses. This makes it physically impossible for them to have a front desk for each door and the cost of staffing those would make no sense financially.

But thanks to new technologies making the impossible possible, those roadblocks are now all but lifted with the arrival of what we call: video or virtual receptions.

Vacation rental
How it works

By installing a simple touch screen computer on a counter or a wall in a building entrance or hallway, you eliminate the need for a reception area. By doing this, you can do almost as much as one could do standing behind a physical desk. Greeting guests face to face, taking IDs, signing documents, taking payments, providing door codes, or encoding RFID cards can all be done remotely, opening up a whole world of possibilities.

Regarding on-site receptionists, a video reception can be serviced from anywhere in the world. It removes the need to pay someone to physically wait at a given address and allows for centralized services. Which in turn, facilitates training and management of human resources. A virtual front desk also reduces fraud and enhances security by verifying IDs but above all, it allows hosts to provide a key service they were not able to offer before. It is a new competitive advantage for those wanting to professionalize their operations and should be considered.

Vacation Rental

Imagine renting your next Airbnb knowing the hosts have such check-in and service technology to greet you, wouldn’t it be an advantage? We certainly think so, virtual or video front desks are an intricate part of the short-term and vacation rental’s future.

If you would like to learn more about how a Virtual Front Desk could boost your customer service and revolutionize your operations resquest a free trial!

Virtual Front Desk Devices
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