Watch our Getting ‘Travel Ready’ webinar to hear what our Managing Director, Theresa Emerick and Executive Director of @Africa SAFE-T, Lucien Niemann have to say about how properties can best prepare for the challenges of post-COVID travel.
Get Travel Ready with NightsBridge.
Going Touchless FAQs
Contactless check-in is a new way of checking in at accommodation establishments that limits or removes contact between guests and staff.
Guests can complete a check-in form on their smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC (including a COVID screening) and submit it to the establishment before arrival.
COVID-19 has ushered in a number of changes in the hospitality industry, including new health and safety protocols, social distancing and the mandatory use of masks in public areas. Contactless check-in is an additional tool which establishments can use to put their guests at ease – and ensure that that a guest’s arrival is a seamless, safe and hygienic as possible.
With coronavirus here for the foreseeable future, contactless check-in and check-out is likely to become an industry standard.
Not only does contactless check-in help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it is also extremely convenient. NightsBridge’s online check-in form saves time (for both the establishment and guest), removes frustrating paperwork and makes contact tracing quick and easy.
Guests receive a link via WhatsApp, SMS or email, complete the form before they arrive, and all the information is securely stored on the NightsBridge system.
Similar to contactless check-in, the check-out form allows the guest to check-out of an establishment without unnecessary contact with staff.
Again, this touchless technology has been put in place to help prevent the spread if COVID-19, giving guests the option of avoiding a traditional check-out process if they prefer.
The NightsBridge system allows guests to view their final statement/account (for example, excursions, meals or an outstanding bar bill), and make payment via credit card or a 3D-secure EFT. The system is secure, and guests will receive a one-time password (OTP) to their mobile pone in order to authorise payment.
It also saves on paperwork and guests receive a final invoice (post payment) via email.
Establishments who use the NightsBridge system are able – at the click of a button – to send guests a link to the necessary form via WhatsApp, SMS or email.
The forms are mobile-friendly and can be completed on a smartphone, table, laptop or PC.
The guest should complete the form (including COVID screening) within 48 hours of arrival – although the establishment can send the link at any time.
Not at the moment. The establishment needs to go back into the NightsBridge system to see if the guest has completed the form – but the system is constantly being refined and this update is on the cards.
The booking form has a ‘notes’ section where establishments can add any additional information they require, including a client’s ETA, dietary requirements, temperature checks etc.
In fact, the NightsBridge team can help you customise the form to your needs (for example, adding your logo) and is always on hand to provide help and support.
Personal information is obviously being collected, including a guest/s ID number and COVID-specific information. As such, privacy is a top priority, and the system is 100% secure.
In the past, information would have been filed and stored at the establishment’s property. Now all the information sits within the NightsBridge system, is encrypted and is only accessible via a secure link. If someone else gets hold of the link, the information will no longer be available.
No. Contactless check-in and check-out is built into the latest NightsBridge system. Customers may need to migrate to the latest version, but it comes standard.
Yes. The NightsBridge team is happy to provide a ‘walk-through’ of the contactless technology, provide training – or a refresher for whoever requires it. The system is simple and user-friendly, but the team will provide support and advice wherever necessary.
The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has a comprehensive list of health and safety guidelines in place, including sanitising and hygiene practices (from kitchen hygiene to housekeeping and more); physical distancing, protection barriers and capacity controls; staff training; food service; COVID screening for staff and guests; and the steps to follow if an individual presents with COVID symptoms.
The National Department of Tourism has put together a Draft Norms and Standards for the tourism sector in the context of COVID-19 and beyond. Once gazetted, the NDT’s Norms and Standards will expect establishments to develop a COVID prevention plan; implement protocols and guidelines for guests and staff; introduce a COVID-19 contingency plan, should a new case emerge; monitor the wellbeing of staff and guests; and integrate technologies such as contactless touchpoints and payments where possible.
While the TBCSA’s protocols are a fantastic resource, they are not a legal requirement. They do, however, demonstrate your establishment’s commitment to international best practice.
The NDT’s Draft Norms and Standards are still open for comment and objection but once gazetted, establishments will need to comply.
In the meantime, establishments have to follow the regulations and protocols as laid out in South Africa’s Disaster Management Act (it is the law), including the mandatory use of masks in public areas, social distancing requirements, capacity limits and curfews.
There are a number of things you can do to reassure guests that you are able to operate safely, and that their health and peace of mind remains a top priority:
- Ensure you follow the TBCSA’s health and safety protocols – and apply for WTTC Safe Travels certification (the TBCSA has issuing rights in South Africa).
- Put standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place so your staff follow all the steps required in terms of sanitising and hygiene practices; social distancing; screening processes; and the protocol to follow should an individual on your property present with COVID symptoms.
- Update your Ts and Cs so guests understand their role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 (for example, the mandatory use of masks in public areas).
- Make use of signage in and around your establishment reminding guests of social distancing requirements and safe behaviour.
- Provide sanitiser and additional PPE where possible.
- Investigate and implement touchless technology – including contactless check-in and check-out for a guest’s peace of mind.