Check out and settlement are part of the final stages of the guest cycle.
It is the final phase of the guest cycle and examines the various activities involved in checkout and settlement.
Check out involves the front desk as also other departments such as housekeeping, bell desk, cashier’s desk, Point of sales etc. Main areas for a checkout are the belldesk and the cashier.
The FO performs at least 3 important functions during the checkout and settlement process.
• It resolves outstanding guest account balances.
• It updates room status information
• It creates guest history records.
Guest account settlement depends on effective FO accounting system that maintains accurate guest folios, verifies and authorizes a method of settlement and resolves discrepancies in account balances. Hotels find it most effective to settle a guest account while the guest is still in the hotel. Guest can settle the bill by paying cash, charging the balance to a credit card, deferring payment to an approved direct billing entity or using a combination of payment methods. Most hotels require a guest to specify during registration an eventual method of settlement. FO should verify or confirm guest credit card or direct billing information before he/she arrives at the desk for check out. Pre settlement verification activities ensure that the hotel will be paid for accommodation and services.
DEPARTURE ACTIVITIES AT VARIOUS DESKS:
1) At the Bell Desk:
During checkout a luggage outpass has to be obtained from the cashier stating that the guest has settled his account and returned the room key. Once this is received a departure errand card is made and filled out by the bell boy and will got to the guest room to bring down the luggage. The bell captain will also make an entry regarding this in the bell captain’s control sheet. On reaching the guest room the bell boy will announce himself, knock on the door enter the room on gaining permission. The bellboy will also ensure the following: 1. Collect room keys from the guest
2. Check the room for any possible damage to the property.
3. Draws the curtains, locks the balcony.
4. Checks bathroom and fittings.
5. The guest is escorted by him to the front desk
6. He puts a “room to be cleaned tag” card on the door after switching of the lights and air conditioner. The departure room is then inspected by a housekeeping supervisor/ Room attendant to ensure that nothing is left behind by the guest. The housekeeping/ In room dining department will also check the minibar for anything consumed by the guest to be charged to the bill.
At the lobby the bell boy will:
Keep the guest’s luggage at the bell desk
Put hotel stickers and mark the luggage with “D” indicating departure luggage. Collect the luggage out clearance slip from the reception and loads the luggage in the car/taxi. Return the errand card to the bell captain which will then be entered onto the bell captain’s control sheet.
2) At the Reception desk:
The Front desk receptionist checks the list of expected checkouts for the day and will confirm with the guest his date and time of checkout. Departure notification slips are printed to inform the other departments of the guest’s checkout. In a manual system the room racks are updated. The departure register is also updated. Checking for the mail messages and faxes.
Checking for safe deposit box or in room safe keys.
3) At the cashier’s desk:
1. Verifying account information.
2. Posting any remaining charges to the guest’s folio.
3. Presenting the guest folio.
4. Verifying the method of payment.
5. Processing the account payment.
6. Securing the room key.
7. Updating the room status.
The procedures used will vary among Front Offices depending upon hotels level of service and degree of automation. Some Front Offices offer automated or express check out.
Traditionally at check out guest is presented a...