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Does Anyone Use the Hotel Check-Out Process Anymore?

Where: Various Locations
May 6, 2013 at 2:12 PM | by | ()

We saw earlier this year that hotels' self service/automated check-in is gaining popularity in an effort to keep pace with time-crunched, no-nonsense guests. We get it, you just want to get to your room, to hell with the pleasantries and to hell with the front desk. Fair enough. But while opinions vary about the value of interaction upon check-in, one thing that's not being discussed is the automation on the other end.

Seriously, does anyone use the check-out process at hotels anymore?

We admit we rarely stop at the desk on the way out. Most times the receipt is under the door, and when it's not, we give the hotel the benefit of the doubt (but check our credit card statement a few days later just to be sure). Some hotels let you call down or check out via your television. And when you're in a hurry to get going, nothing is worse than standing in a line to say all was well with your room..and "please come again". Uh, yeah. We gotta get going.

Here's the thing: We feel torn. Assuming it's an organized process, we think human interaction upon check-in is a positive thing. Most times, it's one of the first exchanges with a local you'll experience, and if you're staying in the same hotel for a number of nights, making a personal connection with the staff can enhance your stay. Check out, however, is a much different story. We are, indeed, fans of the Irish goodbye. There's nothing worse than dwelling on the bill upon departure. Unless you got funky with that automatic mini-bar, and in that case, yeah, you best make sure all is OK before jetting out the door.

What are your thoughts on the check-out process? Do you find value in visiting the front desk on your way out? We know it makes it easier for the hotel to start the turnover process when we let them know we're leaving, but we suppose that's just a little revenge for all the times housekeeping has bothered us before checkout.

[Photo: Noel Douglas/USA Today]

Archived Comments:

I try to look at the charges first...

Lots of hotels let you see your room charges on the in-room TV so if I have charged stuff to the room (internet, room service, etc.) I try to make sure I've not been double-billed. That actually happens quite a bit for the lesser items like mini-bar charges, internet or the movie orders. But if I just stay for one night and do not charge anything, I usually leave without officially checking out.

No Irish Goodbyes... unless you did self check-out

Of all the technology made available to guests, self check-out has to be hands-down the easiest to use. Hotel staff don't need (read: want) you to stop by the Front Desk to check out, but they do need to know when rooms become vacant since it does make it easier to "start the turnover process." So self check-out and chuck deuces (like a travel PRO)... they'll love you for it.

Ah good point!

I just always assumed that the turnover process began at check-out time (11am) but if I leave early then that would be helpful to the hotel know. Will do that from now on (and chuck deuces too!)

Re: No Irish Goodbyes

Totally understand, which is why I sort of made a joke about it at the end of the article. It's definitely polite to officially check out. Down with deuces - I just discovered a stack of silver dollar coins in my old house.

1 is the loneliest number....

I like to officially/traditionally check-out. It lets me gauge the service of a hotel and, in full disclosure, I love to have the reception staff thank me a million times. It makes me feel like a baller, even if for a few minutes. It also gives me time to make sure I have gotten everything, i.e., passport, phone chargers, devices and traveling companions.

Dial "0"

As a former Front Desk guy, I can confirm that most hotels try to make the check out process as automated as possible.  Also, Housekeeping starts turning over those empty rooms as soon as people check out.  That allows new guests the chance to check in early, even when the hotel was sold out the night before.

Of all the check out methods, the one you should never choose is just leaving.  If you leave without telling the hotel, someone will have to physically check the room after the check out time.  It's a huge waste of time and it can also delay the availability of that room for a new guest.

My advice that works at most hotels: When you leave your room, just dial "0" on the hotel phone and let the operator know that you're checking out.  It's simple and shouldn't take more than 30 seconds.

Chuck Deuces?

Just when I thought I'd heard it all..what in the name of lucifer is that?
And me? Because housekeeping is always bothering the crap out of me, I don't feel the need to do an official check out. They're trying to get me out the room at 9 am. Yeah, I'm bitter.

Re: Chuck Deuces?

LOL - "The act of leaving and saying goodbye to everyone in the room at once by throwing up the peace sign while walking on."


yes they do

i work at a former independent now becoming a chain and ive always been veey surprised the number of guests that come down and say they need to check out.

i don't even think about this anymore, years of working for and staying at Marriotts i was so used to them automatically charging my cc (which for some reason annoyed me at first) i never think about stopping by the desk


I thought it was just "deuces"! Who is Chuck when he's at home? This needs more investigating. I'm intrigued about this than is probably necessary, just in case I need to up my check-out game.

Jason via Facebook

9 times out of 10, I'm walking past the front desk anyway... so the least I can do is drop my keys off with a room number, if I haven't used the functions on the TV. And its nice to tell the house keeper down the hall I'm on the way out too, so the room can get turned.

Re: Deuces

Ha, I thought we were talking about tipping with two-dollar bills!

Clarification for deuces

Ok, see I thought chucking deuces was referring to throwing a sideways peace sign like you're all that or something. But maybe @wunderkind was talking about throwing two dollar bills down. I am assume that's for housekeeping right? #Ifeeloldfornotknowingthecorrectdeuceterm

it was wrong to cap "Chuck"

this is where the mystery lies. I thought Chuck was a person. I think @ wunderkind is saying toss two one dollar bills (not a two-dollar bills, wake, cuz those are extinct?) down, throw up your deuces (like "peace") and be out!
Ok, now I can go back to my feverish state.

Common courtesy to say goodbye...

It doesn't need to be a formal "I need to check-out/review the bill" ...that's old school for sure...checking out is more of a courtesy to the hotel in letting them know they can start turning over your room. I also like how one comment mentioned that it also allows you to continue to gauge the service at the hotel...and who doesn't want to be thanked again? So, either call, or let them know as you walk by the desk...oh, and I guess is the hotel really pissed you off, I suppose it's okay to keep on walking without letting them know. One last jab!

i ALWAYS check out

I always check out and make sure i get a final bill - even if the invoice reads zero. last year at a hotel in NY after a 1 night stay, i rushed check out, handed them the key and said i had to run to a meeting (the room had been prepaid by my boss and i hadn't incurred any extras so didn't think i needed a bill).

2 days later, my credit card was charged for the equivalent of a TWO-night stay. the hotel ignored all my communications asking them to correct this mistake, and it took the credit company SIX MONTHS to take my side and refund the money after a huge fight. the one thing it kept going back to wasn't my pre-stay email confirming my room had been prepaid, on my boss' card - the credit card company said there was no proof i hadn't stayed on extra nights. they said that as i hadn't got a zero balance statement at checkout, it was my responsibility to pay.


(and never stay at the sanctuary hotel in NYC)