3 Tips for a Smoother Hotel Check-in and Checkout
When you’re away on business and have a few busy days ahead of you, you just want to relax and put your feet up as soon as you’ve arrived at your hotel.
But things don’t always go according to plan, especially when we’re on the road. Checking in can go from a quick and painless exchange to a drawn-out hassle.
However, there are a few things you can do as a traveler to help ensure that your check-in (and checkout) process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Be smart with your timing
When possible, avoid starting your trip on a Friday — this tends to be the busiest day for hotel arrivals. Mondays and Tuesdays can also be quite busy days for business travelers so, to avoid long lines, you might want to aim for a midweek check-in.
If starting your trip on these days is unavoidable, you can ease the stress by requesting an early check-in time when booking to skip the crowds at peak times.
Checkout time is the same for everyone. If it’s a day that people are checking out en masse (like a Sunday), this can mean long lines at the desk. Avoid getting stuck by checking out early to sneak away before the rush (or requesting a late checkout to miss it).
Alternatively, unless your hotel requires a certain checkout process, you can just leave your key card in your room or drop it at the desk and be on your way. Most hotels are happy to email your receipt to you.
Communicate and double-check
If you want an early check-in or a late checkout, be sure to make this request at the time of booking or before you arrive. Keep in mind that some hotels will charge for these privileges, but it can be worth it to save time. Many will accommodate your request free of charge.
If you’ll actually be checking in late, it’s especially important to communicate this to avoid getting walked (ie, being marked as a no-show and having your room given away). If you’re booking through Hotel Engine, you can request a late check-in on the platform to let the hotel know you’re arriving late.
Be specific with any other needs you have when it comes to booking.
Double check that you’ve entered the correct room details and selected an accessible room if needed. Do you have a preference for which floor you’d like to be on? Be sure to let the hotel know. For example, if you’re a very light sleeper, you might request a room further away from the elevator or busy common areas.
If you’re traveling with pets or support animals, check the pet policies and facilities they have. When searching on Hotel Engine, you can filter by pet-friendly hotels.
There are a few reasons you might want to wait at the front desk to check your itemized receipt before you head out. As much as you may desire to skip the line and get on the road, taking a few extra minutes could save you a larger hassle later on.
If you’ve enjoyed any incidentals like drinks from the mini-bar or room service, double check your itemized bill at the point of check-out.
Errors can occur from time to time, and it’s far easier to resolve any unexpected or incorrect charges as you check out. This will avoid any back-and-forth hassle over email once your trip has finished.
You might also want to check that any frequent traveler points you’ve gained from this trip have been accurately logged. Remember that if you book through Hotel Engine, you can collect your regular reward points and layer them on top of your HE Rewards for extra savings.
Detailed planning always helps
The ultimate nightmare check-in scenario is showing up to the hotel only to learn that you don’t actually have a room reserved. You might have booked at the wrong hotel, mixed up your dates, or it could have been an error on the hotel’s part. Regardless, you can grant yourself peace of mind by calling ahead to the hotel (a day or two before your trip) to confirm your reservation.
If you book through Hotel Engine, our team will handle this step for you, so you can save time and rest assured that your check-in process will go seamlessly.
You’ll also want to double-check that your name and your guests’ names are accurate and make sure that you have the proper ID ready to show. In some countries, it’s a requirement to show your passport as you check in (pro tip: have it handy to avoid digging through bags in the lobby.
The hotel will also need to file your credit card for incidentals, so have that handy. (Or, choose incidentals coverage with Hotel Engine to skip this step).
Most hotel check-out times are between 10 am and 12 pm, but you’ll want to double-check what time it is at your particular hotel.
There’s nothing more stressful than having to race around the room packing in a panic because you thought you had an extra hour or two.
If you’re checking out in the morning but still have a full day of work before traveling home and you don’t want the hassle of carrying your luggage around for hours, ask reception ahead of time if they can hold your bags for you. Most hotels will have a secure room in which they can store guests’ luggage before check-in or after check-out.
This is likely a free service but you should double-check — some hotels do charge to hold luggage for a day.
Ready to travel?
Following these tips will ensure a seamless and smooth start and finish to your business trip, leaving you to focus on what’s important.
If you travel a lot for business, why not find out how Hotel Engine can take the hassle out of travel with up to 60% savings and access to analytics about past trips and spending (trust us, you’ll become your CFO’s best friend when you can prove just how much money you’ve saved them!).
Ready to claim your free Hotel Engine account? Just give us a few details about yourself and your company to get started. It’s as easy as that!
Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine’s audience and cultivating the company’s brand voice. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, and hiking in the nearby Rockies with her dog, Albie.