How To Make The Most Of Your Hotel’s Checkout Procedure

Bryan Michalis
Bryan Michalis
Updated
March 18, 2024
/
Published
March 15, 2022
How To Make The Most Of Your Hotel’s Checkout Procedure

Guest expectations are changing, and today travelers want faster, smoother service. That extends to their checkout as well. 

However, checking out of a hotel is often tedious and time-consuming 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 their otherwise fantastic time 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 to streamline your hotel's checkout procedure and why it's important to give guests the perfect end to their great stays.

What Is a Hotel Checkout Procedure?

The hotel checkout procedure is the standard you follow during a guest’s departure. In short, it's the series of steps your front desk staff completes.

This usually includes: 

  • Asking guests about their stays: Engage your guests and get real-time feedback about their accommodations, overall experience and where they may be heading next. This is a great opportunity to create a guest profile of notes, preferences and other personal details that will help you better serve them during future stays.
  • Finalizing and checking the bill: Before taking payment, you’ll provide an itemized list of expenses incurred during the stay, including room fees, food and beverage upsells, and more. Then, you’ll have the guest review and approve it.
  • Taking payment: Using a PMS system, you’ll process stay fees and collect compliant PCI payments via credit card or debit card.
  • Checking the guest out in your PMS: As you complete check out in your property management system, your front desk staff might also notify other teams that the guest has left, allowing housekeeping to plan and prioritize turnover.
  • Offering to make future bookings or recommending sister hotels: To reduce the cost of guest acquisition, you can leverage this face-to-face time with guests to mention your loyalty program or recommend stays at your other locations based on their preferences and history.
  • Calling a taxi or assisting with their parked car: As a final step, you should ask guests if they’d like you to arrange transportation from the hotel or offer to retrieve their car from the parking lot — true white-glove service.

Most hotels used to do all this in person. Today, a modern guest management system allows guests to complete several of these steps online.

Why a Checkout Procedure Is Important for Your Hotel

Hotel Checkout Checklist

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 by calling them a taxi or helping load their luggage, for example. 

Finally, a well-thought-out checkout procedure ensures you get paid and allows you to track who has left the hotel. You can update the room status in the system so departments like housekeeping, engineering, and room service can get to work.

Leveraging Technology To Make Your Checkout Procedure More Guest-Friendly

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:

  • Requesting and paying for a late check-out
  • Updating or confirming contact and payment information
  • Checking the bill and approving charges
  • Paying for their stay and checking out of the room

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 an online contactless 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.

Hotel Checkout: A Goldmine for Reviews

In-person checkout is a great chance to ask your guests for reviews. Most will have had a good experience and will happily 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.

Remarketing Opportunities During the Hotel Checkout Process

Check-out isn’t just the time to say goodbye to your guests. It’s also a chance to encourage them to return and increase your share of higher-margin direct bookings. At a time when 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 online checkout to boost repeat business:

  • Offer to take a future booking directly
  • Give a discount or offer perks for future direct bookings
  • Suggest a reservation at a hotel of the same chain
  • Ask guests to join your mailing list

With a robust hotel guest experience platform, many of these checkout touchpoints can be done automatically — some even via a contactless checkout workflow — that helps your staff stay efficient and deliver a memorable final interaction. Streamlined remarketing efforts plant the idea for future stays and keeps your hotel at the forefront of their minds.. When guests plan their next trip, your property will be one of the first ones they think about.

Conclusion

Streamlining your hotel checkout procedure and leveraging technology are the key to perfectly ending your guest’s stay. It saves travelers and your team time, 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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