Hosts and guests alike pay a lot of attention and put a lot of effort into the entire check in process and while check in is certainly critical in ensuring guests have a great stay, checkout is also important and generally overlooked. Consequently, check out doesn’t often go nearly as smoothly as it could and it can leave guests feeling a bit unsure or worse, downright uncomfortable. The best way to head any of this off and ensure your cleaners have a quick and easy time preparing the unit for your nest guest is to develop some simple checkout instructions for your guest and save them from calling you or doing stuff they don’t need to. Here are some common checkout instructions we use:
We always recommend that hosts put in automation and remote systems wherever it makes sense and having a smart thermostat is definitely one of those areas. Especially in warmer and colder climates that heating or air conditioning bill can get insanely high. But in instances where we don’t have a smart system we can control remotely we generally just ask guests to turn off the heater or air conditioning in the check out instructions. While guests sometimes forget to do so (even though it’s in the checkout instructions) enough guests do remember to do it that it will save you some precious money on your gas and electric bill.
When we have units where the washing machine is in the unit and in particular when it’s small, we will sometimes ask guests to put their bed sheets in the washer with a detergent pod and just start the cycle right before they check out. This can save our cleaners valuable time in preparing the unit for the next guest and we’ve never had a guest complain about doing it.
For units where the washing machine is not in the unit (like when it’s in a common space such as a laundry room) we will inform our guests that there is no need to do the laundry and that we will handle it. This can clear up some confusion with guests who may want to try and ash sheets and towels before they leave. Often times guests are trying to be helpful but it’s not always necessary.
It’s surprisingly frequent to find a guest who will actually clean the unit themselves, either because they have a nagging feeling that it’s needed or because they think that it will relieve them of the cleaning fee, guests do sometimes attempt to act as housekeeper. In our experience, an easy way to head this off is to be explicit in the checkout instructions that there is no need for them to clean the unit and our housekeepers will handle the cleaning for them.
With other guests we have the opposite problem and the guest leaves food out everywhere. While it’s not a big deal for us to clean up the food it can be a big problem to deal with a bug infestation that can be brought on by a bug buffet left on the counters. For this reason we always ask guests to trash any food left out on the counters so as to not attract bugs. Guests are all too happy to oblige and save you the hassle of constantly bringing in an exterminator.
Keys and door
We only use keypads for our door locks so we can simply ask the guest to lock the door on the way out. Many guests will inadvertently leave the door unlocked which can lead to unwanted guests but a gentle nudge will eliminate a lot of forgetfulness. If you don’t have a keypad and the guest does have a physical key then this is a good time to explain what to do with their set of keys to make sure they get back to you safely.
If you guest has a parking pass or some sort of special fob to access off-street parking, checkout instructions are the perfect place to let them know how to deal with those issues and get any parking related items back to you.
Always always always remind the guests of the checkout time. Yes, I know that it’s in their check in instructions, in whatever app they used to book, and probably posted in the unit itself, but it costs nothing to remind guests of the checkout time in the checkout instructions and can save your cleaners from having to stand around and wait while guests pack up. You can also use this as an opportunity to find out if they plan on checking out early and if they do you may be able to have your cleaners begin a bit sooner to allow your next guests to check in early.
Of course there are many things you can put in checkout instructions, but these are the most common and seem to make things easier and more efficient for our guests. And on one last note, be careful not to overload your guest with checkout instructions as you don’t want them to feel like it’s too much and just ignore them.