DISCOVERY: Be sure to check out of your hotel

Saturday January 18 2020

Fridge

Some hotels like the Hilton, the Sheraton and the Intercontinental have installed motion sensors at the minibar, which detect when an item has been removed. The item will then be charged to your room. When checking out, the staff will take an inventory of what has been used from the bar and the fridge. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

CATHERINE WANJIRU
By CATHERINE WANJIRU
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Let’s imagine that you are expecting some visitors at your home. They ring the doorbell to announce their arrival. And then as they leave, there will be the shaking of hands and hugging as farewell.

This is just an everyday phenomenon in our lives, right? Which is why recently, and to our surprise, we found out that one of our clients did not check out of their hotel after their holiday. This was particularly interesting because it had never occurred to us that this could happen.

But is checking out of a hotel mandatory? Here are a few reasons why it is a necessary process, and why it is to your benefit that you check out when your stay at a hotel is over.

Your money matters

Yes, the queues at the reception can be long and your preference would be to simply slip away unnoticed. To stop people from leaving without due process, more establishments now require that you present your credit or debit card at the reception while checking in. Should you leave without checking out, then some charges, unapproved by you, could appear on your credit card.

For example, because the hotel does not have a written record of your time of departure, you could be charged for an extra night’s stay. Proving to the hotel management that you left at the time that you were supposed to will be difficult.

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In some cases, the hotel could conduct a lock interrogation to see how many times your key opened your door and confirm that you did not enter your room after a certain time on the day you say you left.

Some hotels like the Hilton, the Sheraton and the Intercontinental have installed motion sensors at the minibar, which detect when an item has been removed. The item will then be charged to your room. When checking out, the staff will take an inventory of what has been used from the bar and the fridge.

In case an item was removed from the bar or the fridge, and not used and returned, then this can be corrected during the check-out process. It is vital to check out if only to ensure that you are paying for what you have used. Remember to ask for an itemised receipt!

Customer reviews

Providing feedback is best done when checking out. At this time, you can give both positive and negative reviews on your stay. Hopefully, your review will help to make changes.

There have been some reviews that have brought such good results to an establishment that the guest who made the suggestions gained a free stay!

Common courtesy

It is courteous to check out of a hotel as it provides an opportunity for you to thank the staff. This will establish a good rapport between you and the hotel, especially if you plan to return.

Checking out informs the hotel that the room is now free and the housekeepers can clean it in preparation for the next guest, to their convenience. The new guests will then be able to check-in early.

Although it is not compulsory, giving a tip to the housekeeper or butler is common courtesy at hotels. If you are pleased with the service, you can leave a tip as you check out. In case you don’t see them as you leave, the front desk can accept the tip with a note and instructions on who should receive it.

Some dos and don’ts

When checking in and when settling your bills, do use a credit card if you can instead of your debit card. This is in case of any fraud. For refunds, it is easier for the transaction to be cancelled on a credit card.

Also, try to stay at the same hotel or hotel chain. Many major hotel chains have hotel memberships where guests can accrue points whenever they book into any of their hotels as a repeat guest.

Creating a rapport with the hotel and its staff will lead to perks like a welcome glass of champagne or flowers on arrival, a complimentary spa treatment or a room upgrade.

What’s more, should you happen to forget something at the hotel during your stay, the hotel will keep it for you or send it to you.