You’ve shown up at your hotel after a long road trip or a day spent in airplanes, and you just want to get to your room to change and relax for a little bit. So you just need to check in quickly and not waste any time at the front desk.
Or you have to leave in a hurry, because you’re going to be late for your morning meeting or early flight. You don’t want to take too long at check-out, so what can you do to ensure you’re all settled up and everything is taken care of?
If you are someone who wants to be quick about their check-in and check-out experience, here are some tips for you.
1. HAVE YOUR GOVERNMENT-ISSUED ID AND CREDIT CARD READY
There are some security measures that hotel agents have to follow to correctly check someone in someone. Some of these measures are actually laws too. For one thing, they must ask for a government-issued ID.
(Sorry, but your Costco card doesn’t count.)
Typically, a driver’s license or passport will fit the bill, and while your credit cards are no doubt genuine, they still required a photo ID for identification.
On top of that, most hotels require that a credit card gets swiped at check-in. It is not enough to use the credit card that you reserved the room with without swiping it. So make sure you’ve got some room on that credit card to pay the deposit, which will be returned a few days after checkout (assuming you didn’t spend anything on the mini-bar).
2. DON’T GET WRAPPED UP IN CONVERSATION
When people travel with family or business partners, they do a lot of talking at the front desk. However, it does not help the agent check you in or out as quickly as possible.
Checking in/out only takes a few minutes, but you can slow that down if you’re distracted by your fellow travelers. You can get processed much faster if you focus on the task at hand, and wait until you’re done before you finish your friends and family conversation.
3. SAVE YOUR QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS FOR LATER
Good hotel desk agents will always be available to answer your questions or hear your concerns, but there is a proper time for those.
For example, at check-in, don’t ask a question that does not have to do with your room until after the agent swipes your credit card and hands you your keys. After you show your ID, they are going through the system to see if you are reserved at the hotel. Once they see that you are, they’d want to make sure that the details are right. But if you are asking about something else, that can slow them down
You’re better off asking after the check-in is completed — where is a good place to eat, when does the conference shuttle arrive, etc. — than while they’re still trying to process your arrival.
The same is true for any questions or complaints you might have when you check out. The desk agents know it’s important that you feel heard and appreciated, so having their full attention will only be helpful to you. Ask the questions before or after check-out.
4. MANAGE EARLY CHECK IN
Most hotels have a specific time that they can guarantee their check-ins by. This means hat by that time, you should be able to check into a room. Typically, that’s 3:00 in the afternoon.
Except you arrived at the hotel at noon and need to be at an event that starts at 1:00 PM. This means you don’t want to wait around for two hours, and you don’t want to drag your luggage around. How can you guarantee a room will be ready for you when you arrive?
Unfortunately, you can’t guarantee that. However, you can call ahead and ask that a room be assigned to your reservation if one is not ready just yet. If you’re lucky, there was a room that was not used the night before that you can go right into, or they may be able to have housekeeping get the room ready right at noon, just in time for your arrival.
Another hint: Some hotels can watch your luggage for you and check you in early, but not give you the key to your room. Just ask at the front desk if they can watch your bag for you, and then ask them to check you in so you can go straight up to your room when you return.
Hint: It helps to be a member of their loyalty program. You get a lot more perks like early check-in and late check-out if you’re a loyalty member.
Also, being in the loyalty program often gets you automatic checkout. They’ll slide your receipt under your door overnight, and you can just leave your keys on the dresser, and walk out without needing to stop at the desk to settle up.
5. LUGGAGE ASSISTANCE AND VALET
If you know that you’ll need help bringing your luggage down and getting your car, call the front desk before you leave and ask for assistance. This goes especially for when you know you are going to check out. (Just be sure to tip the bellman, at least $2 per bag.)
If you are checking out in the early hours of the morning, some hotels will allow you to park your car near the entrance overnight on the last night of your stay. However, it is up to you to make that request.
And if you valet park your car, call down and let them know you’re coming, and your car keys should be at the front desk or at the valet stand, waiting for you. Then you can just climb into your car and drive away.
How do you manage a quick check-in and check-out? How do you speed things up so you can get to your room quickly and easily? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.