There is one thing that every single guest who stays at a hotel must do: check in. The check-in will vary slightly depending on which hotel/hotel chain you go to, but I’ll be going with the working knowledge of check-ins I have done/experienced. There are a few things that you need to do before you even reach the counter:
- Check for signs. These may include “Must have I.D.”, “No Pets Allowed”, “No Checks”, etc. – These may be innocuous, but they will clue you in to some key points if you’re just walking in. There are very few things that are more annoying to a front desk clerk than getting most of the way through the check-in procedure to find out you don’t have a credit card and want to pay with a check when a sign clearly displays “No checks allowed.”
- Have your I.D. and Credit Card ready for inspection. – This step is done for your protection. We check photo I.D. against yourself and the credit card to prevent credit card fraud. It helps nobody for you to get offended when we ask to check the physical card and the matching photo I.D.
These are not the days of a handshake contract and cash for a room. Many hotels nowadays will allow cash payment… but you HAVE to have a credit card on file. It’s not that hotels don’t trust YOU. It’s more that they can’t afford to trust anyone. Gone are the days when you can sneak out with a hotel towel without anyone noticing. At our hotel, we inventory every item in the room before you check-in and after your check-out. If you damage the room, take any items, make long-distance calls, etc. – you will be charged “incidentals” and that is the reason why you’re required to have a credit card on file. Know this: You won’t be randomly charged, but you will be responsible for anything out of the ordinary you do to the room.
For example, just recently at our hotel, I had a gentleman who happened to leave with one of our green throws. This led to us charging him $45 for the throw. Of course, this is exactly what it costs us to purchase a new one. Anyway, a week or two later, he calls, furious about the $45 “over charge” that our hotel posted on his credit card. We researched the situation and calmly explained the charge and he denied taking the throw. Standard procedure for our hotel when something is taken is to bring in the Housekeeping Manager and General Manager to confirm with the housekeeper who found items missing. When I did further research, contacted all those involved, and called the guest back to inform him of this, he took about 3 minutes and then he let us know that he HAD found the blanket, his father must have taken it and he’d be sending it back to us. When it came through the mail, we quickly refunded the charge off of his card.
All of this to say, there ARE reasons why the hotel needs your information, even if you are the most trustworthy person around. It’s not about YOU, it’s about other people who might have less morals than you.
So to recap, for a smooth check in have:
Your payment and I.D. ready, and read any pertinent signs. This will make your front desk staff pleased with your knowledge of the routine and more amiable to you in general.