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Hotels often sell a huge chunk of their rooms through third-party online travel agencies and other distributors and that leaves a vacuum in terms of communicating with guests before their stays.
Hotels using the CheckMate guest engagement platform potentially can start to make some inroads in reaching out to those customers through deals that CheckMate has signed with Expedia, Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz, Sabre’s TripCase, and Concur, says CheckMate co-founder and CEO Drew Patterson.
It’s also a way for the distributors themselves to improve the customer experience online and on mobile devices, Patterson adds.
Using the CheckMate platform, typically an online travel agency or another third party will send an email to a customer a day before their stay asking them about their preferences at the hotel, special requests, or arrival time. Hotels using the platform can respond to guests before their stay through the platform, informing them about the status of such requests.
Patterson says more than 100 hotel properties and hotel groups are using the CheckMate guest engagement platform. Among them are Denihan Hospitality, Rydges Hotels, and LaSalle Hotel Properties, for example.
Several chains, including Hilton Worldwide, Marriott, and Starwood have their own initiatives independent of CheckMate to start doing mobile check-ins, some of which would bypass the front desk and facilitate keyless entry into guest rooms.
Patterson won’t name names but says CheckMate is having “productive discussions” with some global hotel brands on how CheckMate can fit into their mobile check-in plans.
The CheckMate platform already has been operational with some of the distributors and hotels on board for awhile, Patterson says.
“The CheckMate platform allows us to work more closely with our partners to deliver the best parts of travel faster for our mutual customers so they can get the logistics out of the way and get right into the magic of travel moments,” says Expedia Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Denihan Hospitality is among the hotel groups trying out the CheckMate platform.
“Communication is essential to our guest experience,” says Denihan Hospitality’s chief customer officer, Tom Botts. “CheckMate helps us to drive incremental revenue by providing a unique channel to speak to directly to our guests who have booked through a distribution partner.”
As hotels and distributors increasingly seek to leverage the mobile experience for customers and guests, the space that CheckMate is involved in will get increasingly competitive, but it has signed on some well-known travel distributors and a modest number of hotels to get things rolling.