Making Checkout Easy

We know how important it is to create a great first impression for guest arrival; making the place look great, smell fresh, and generally appeal to people as they walk in the door.  You do all this to make sure they have a good start to their vacation and enjoy their time at your property.  But what do you do to make sure it ends well?

Making it easy to check out is a really important part of the whole vacation rental package.  Look at it like this – as guests are preparing to depart, they are perhaps looking ahead to returning to work, coming to terms with their much anticipated vacation coming to an end, and feeling a little down that it’s all over.  As owners we need to reduce the potential stress of checking out so they leave in a good frame of mind, with the best of vacation memories.
Clear instructions
Guests want to have clear instruction on what they should do on their last day.  A check out list that describes how you want the property to be left is the simplest way to do this.  Keep it simple and short – avoid lengthy lists that detail specific areas to be cleaned as this will just serve to stress out your guests.  You don’t want their last experience on vacation to be a negative one as this will just be transferred to a review. 
Thermostat settings & other reminders
Detail how you want the heating/cooling to be set.  Remind guests to turn off fans, lights, adjust hot tub temperature etc. 
Describe what you would like guests to do with the bed linens.  The best suggestion is to ask them to strip off the beds and leave the sheets/towels etc in the laundry room.  That way you will know which beds have been used.  If you want your guests to start a wash load that is fine; just remember to leave them some laundry detergent, particularly if you have a specific brand you would prefer to be used.
Clarify how garbage should be dealt with; where it should be left; how it should be separated and what bags are to be used.  Don’t leave anything to chance here – if guests are not given a specific guide on how to manage the trash, they are likely to just leave it where it is, or put it outside where the wildlife will have a ball spreading it about.
Locking up
This section of your check out list will cover how secure you want the property to be left.  Decide what you want to be done – do you want windows locked or just the doors?  What do you want done with keys?  If you leave this bit out, your guests may just leave the place unlocked.
Ask for feedback
The final section of your check out list can ask for feedback on their stay –  ask a couple of questions like:
  • Did you break anything that we need to replace?
  • Was there anything that wasn’t working correctly?
  • Could we do anything to make your vacation experience better?
Finally, offer them an incentive to return – perhaps a discount code to use for a future low-season stay or an early booking deal for the following year if they reserve within a week of getting home.  This gets them thinking about the next stay while the current one is still fresh in their minds.