Guest expectations are changing, and today travelers want faster, smoother service than ever. That extends to their checkout as well.
However, checking out of a hotel is often a tedious and time-consuming process for guests and staff alike.
It's not uncommon for people to wait in line for up to 30 minutes to check out of their room. That's especially true during busy times like holidays and weekends. Unsurprisingly, this can mar the otherwise fantastic time they had at your property and lead to poor reviews.
Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to avoid that.
Read on for practical tips on how and why to streamline your hotel's checkout procedure and make it the perfect end to a great stay.
The hotel checkout procedure is the standard you follow during a guest’s departure. In short, it's the set of steps your front desk team completes.
This usually includes:
Most hotels used to do all this in person. Today, a modern guest management system can give guests the option to complete several of these steps online.
While there's no rule forcing guests to check out at the front desk, most of them still do. Having a set procedure in place makes things go smoothly and enables you to maintain your high level of service. It's also a chance to help guests out one last time, e.g. by calling a taxi or helping with luggage.
Finally, it ensures you get paid and allows you to track who has left the hotel. Now, you can update the room status in the system, and departments like housekeeping, engineering, and room service can get to work.
Technology can play a big role in optimizing your hotel's checkout procedure. There are now a variety of solutions on the market that allow guests to complete some or all of it online. This can include:
If you can't or don't want to offer a full online checkout, look for other ways to speed up the process. For example, send guests the link to their invoice via email or SMS so they can check it before coming to the reception. Or use a payment provider that can authorize the credit card during check-in, so you don't have to ask for the card again when they leave.
The best option is to leverage modern systems that let guests opt for a completely online check-out. That speeds things up at the front desk and leaves your team with more time for the guests who prefer in-person service.
In-person checkout is a great chance to ask your guests for reviews. Most will have had a good experience and will be happy to share their feedback. Offer a little goodbye gift to sweeten the deal and act as a reminder to evaluate their stay.
That will boost your visibility on review platforms since many of them reward properties that frequently receive new comments from their patrons. As a result, more travelers will find out about your hotel, check your OTA profile or website, and book with you. It also shows you where you can keep improving to provide an even better guest experience in the future.
If you rely only on asking for reviews in person, you're likely missing a lot of opportunities. That's especially true if some of your guests are checking out online. But even at reception, your staff won't get the chance to bring up reviews during every departure.
A CRM can help here. It automatically contacts all travelers after checkout to ask for feedback. This saves your team time, speeds things up for your guests, and helps you get more valuable reviews.
Check-out isn’t just the time to say goodbye to your guests. It’s also a chance to encourage them to return. This can help you reduce the cost of guest acquisition and increase your share of higher-margin direct bookings. At a time where distribution costs are steadily increasing and every dollar of revenue counts, that's a powerful way to increase your profitability and keep costs in check.
Here's what you can do in person or during an online checkout to boost repeat business:
This plants the idea for future stays at your hotel and keeps you at the front of people’s minds. When they plan their next trip, your property will be one of the first ones they think about.
Streamlining your hotel checkout procedure and leveraging technology are the key to perfectly ending your guest’s stay. It saves time for both travelers and your team, improves the overall customer experience and encourages guests to leave positive reviews.
Additionally, it allows you to take advantage of remarketing opportunities during checkout to increase high-value direct bookings for future stays.
Which of the above steps will you apply first at your hotel? It’s high time to get started!
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