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Hotel check-out: Procedure and strategies for hotels

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 12/06/2024

What is hotel check-out? 

Hotel check-out is the process by which a guest formally leaves the hotel, settles any outstanding bills, and returns their room keys. It’s the final touchpoint between the guest and the hotel, making it a crucial opportunity to leave a lasting impression.

Hotel check-out can often be a chaotic time for guests and staff alike. However, with some strategic adjustments and the right technology, you can transform this essential part of the guest experience into a smooth, efficient, and even profitable process. In this guide, we’ll explore how you can optimise your hotel’s check-out procedure, enhance customer satisfaction, and boost revenue by getting your rooms relisted for sale faster.

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Why should you improve your hotel check out procedure?

Improving your hotel check-out procedure isn’t just about efficiency—it’s about enhancing the overall guest experience. A seamless check-out process can reduce wait times, minimise errors, and increase guest satisfaction. Moreover, it provides opportunities to engage guests with last-minute upsells, loyalty programmes, and personalised services that can drive repeat business and boost your bottom line.

Hotel check out time for guests

The standard check-out time for most hotels is between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. This time allows housekeeping to prepare rooms for incoming guests. However, understanding your guests’ needs and being flexible with check-out times can greatly enhance their experience.

How early can you check out of a hotel?

Guests can typically check out as early as they need to. Early check-outs can be facilitated through express check-out options, where guests drop off their keys and have their bills emailed to them.

How late can you check out of a hotel?

Late check-outs are often available upon request, depending on room availability. Offering late check-out as a perk for loyalty members or for an additional fee can be a great way to enhance guest satisfaction and generate extra revenue.

What happens if you don’t check out of a hotel?

If a guest doesn’t formally check out, it can create confusion and delays in room preparation for the next guest. Automated systems can help by sending reminders and processing check-outs electronically to avoid such issues.

SiteMinder’s hotel platform can help you automate billing, offer flexible check-out options, and enhance the overall guest experience, ensuring operational efficiency and increased revenue.

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Check out procedure in hotel: A step by step guide

Checking out of a hotel should be as straightforward as checking in, with as few bumps as possible along the way. While it’s understandable to hope that your guests don’t want to leave as quickly as possible, the reality is that a fast, friendly, and simple check out process is what most guests are looking for. 

Here’s what you need to master:

Step 1: Receive check-out reminder

Inform guests of check-out times during check-in and provide reminders the night before and the morning of their departure. This can be done through:

  • In-room notices or flyers
  • Automated phone calls or text messages
  • Notifications via the hotel’s app or email

Step 2: Pack belongings

Ensure guests have ample time and reminders to pack their belongings before the check-out time. Providing a checklist in the room can be helpful.

Step 3: Settle bill

Guests can settle their bills through various convenient methods:

  • Using the express check-out feature on the hotel’s app where guests can review their bill and make payments
  • Visiting the front desk to pay in person
  • Receiving an email with a link to settle their bills online

Ideally, this process will be tackled by your hotel software, particularly when it comes to group check out procedures. Otherwise, this can take a significant amount of time and resource from your team that could be better spent creating a better experience (not just doing admin).

Step 4: Return keys

Guests can return their keys by:

  • Dropping them in a designated drop box near the exit or at the front desk
  • Handing them to a staff member at the reception

If you have keyless check in or mobile check in, this step should be tackled without the need for physical drop offs.

Step 5: Provide feedback

Use the check-out process as an opportunity to gather feedback. Encourage guests to complete a short survey about their stay by:

  • Including a feedback form link in the check-out email
  • Providing a tablet at the front desk for quick surveys
  • Offering incentives such as a discount on future stays for completing the survey

Step 6: Depart from the hotel

Ensure the departure process is smooth by:

  • Having staff available to assist with luggage
  • Providing clear signage to the exit and transportation options

Offering a friendly farewell and inviting guests to return

hotel check out

Advantages of upgrading to a hotel check out software

Investing in hotel check-out software can revolutionise your check-out process. Here are some benefits:

  • Efficiency: Automate routine tasks, reducing wait times and freeing up staff to assist guests more personally.
  • Accuracy: Minimise human error in billing and reservations, ensuring that all charges are correct.
  • Convenience: Offer guests multiple check-out options, including mobile and express check-out, enhancing their overall experience.
  • Engagement: Use software to send personalised messages and upsell services such as late check-out, room upgrades, or dining offers.
  • Sustainability: Implement paperless billing and digital receipts to reduce environmental impact.
  • Revenue: Get your rooms listed online faster through a channel manager integrated with your check out processes.
By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of SiteMinder, the leading technology provider delivering hoteliers unbeatable revenue results. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at SiteMinder. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance and value for accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations achieve their goals.

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