Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Departure procedures

Organise guest departure
Overview 2
Departure reports 3
Understay 4
Overstay 4
Skippers 4
Check out guest 6
Group departure 6
FIT, travel agent, corporate 6
Express checkout 10
Posting additional charges 11
Paid outs and refunds 12
Offer guest service 14
Appendix: Source docket 15

It is important to treat the guest as efficiently and friendly at the time of departure as at the time of arrival. Last impressions are lasting impressions. This is the last chance to correct any errors the hotel has made and to deal with guest complaints. These resources include:
· reviewing departure report
· posting to guest folios
· printing guest folios
· offering guest assistance
Departure reports
The departure report lists all guests who have indicated they wish to depart on the day for which the report is prepared. The listing can be either by room number order of alphabetical by guest name.
Reports are distributed to various departments such as:
· housekeeping
· porters/concierge
· food and beverage
· communications,
to assist with:
· staffing/planning
· organising luggage
· organising transport
· preparing meals.

Departure reports are printed at the beginning of the morning shift; it lists all guests due to depart that day and may also have a departure time listed. This report helps not just the reception but also housekeeping, porters / concierge, communications and food and beverage.
These departments require the report to assist with planning daily duties, rostering, organising luggage / transport, and food preparation.

It sometimes occurs that guests will depart earlier than the stated departure date (understay) or extends their stay past the current departure date (overstay). The other type of departure that you may unfortunately have to deal with is the ‘skipper’ – someone that leaves the establishment without paying their account.
There are various reasons that a guest may need to check out before their due departure date. If this is the case:
· Ask the guest if they have enjoyed their stay – this ensures that they are not leaving through a fault of the establishment.
· Advise housekeeping immediately – the room attendant must clean the room as a check out not a service.
· Check MOP and process check out as normal.
· If the guest paid using a prepaid voucher there is no refund over desk – the guest must contact their travel agent to arrange a refund.
There are various reasons that a guest may want to extend their stay and there are a few things to do in this situation.
· Check availability – a guest’s stay can only be extended if rooms are available.
· If guest’s room is unavailable suggest other available room types – the guest may be able to extend, however they may need to be moved to another room.
· If a room move is required offer assistance with luggage – if the guest accepts a room move they may be moved by housekeeping or porters.
· Adjust guest folio and check MOP – change the room number on the guest registration card and file appropriately, check and update their method of payment as necessary.
· Inform housekeeping and telephonist – the room attendant needs to clean the room as a service not a departure and the telephonist must be made aware of the changes to be able to direct calls and messages to the guest if necessary.
Sometimes a guest may leave the hotel without checking out at the front desk or without paying the account. This is not always done on purpose or to cheat the hotel.
Some of the reasons could be:
· the account has been pre-paid
· the account is to be charged to a company and the guest does not realise a signature is required
· the guest forgot about the extras account
· the guest takes advantage of the express check out facilities
· the hotel has an imprint of the credit card and the guest does not realise a signature is required
A guest who leaves without paying the account on purpose is called a skipper. After you have made sure none of the above reasons apply, take the following steps:
1 request duty manager, porter or housekeeping supervisor to check room
2 notify front office manager
3 police notified
4 skipper profile broadcast to other hotels
5 finalise the account and charge to city ledger (bad debts) .
Check out guest
Although all guests should be treated to the same courteous and warm farewell each guest type has different requirements when departing.
Guests may check out several ways including:
· at the reception desk
· express check out
· using in room facilities.
Most guests check out at reception. They tend to all check out at a similar time, making it an extremely busy time of the day. Once again, organisation plays a major role in the success of this procedure. The guests departing during the shift may be Fully Independent Travellers (FITs), corporate, part of a group or holiday makers (travel agent bookings).
Group departure
Groups usually have pre paid their room and some meals to the tour company prior to arrival. This means that they do not have to pay for this at checkout as they are transferred to a master account and an invoice sent to the tour company for payment. They do however have to pay their incidental charges for services such as phone calls and mini bar.
On departure all group members must pay their own incidental charges and the group master, bearing all the charges for the wholesale travel agent, is checked out to city ledger. The tour leader will usually come to the reception desk to check the charges and ensure that all guests have settled their incidental charges. Some establishments will not load all luggage unless all incidental charges have been settled.
It is important to remember to recover all keys at time of departure.
FIT, travel agent, corporate
FIT, travel agent and corporate guests may settle their account by varying methods of payment- either the whole account (master), or part of an account (incidentals). They may also have certain criteria about not seeing the master account (travel agent) or having to sign it (corporate). However the process for all departures is similar:
· greet guest
· collect relevant paperwork
· ask for any outstanding charges
· present account to guest
· correct any errors
· collect payment
· settle account
· issue receipt
· collect guest keys
· safety deposits
· forward reservation
· arrange transportation
· co-ordination of luggage
· record and action messages and mail
· farewell guest
· finalise paperwork.
FITs may check out by paying cash, credit card or cheque
Travel agent
When we talk about travel agent bookings we are actually referring to people who have booked their accommodation through a travel agent. Usually they have prepaid their accommodation and some meals. They do have to pay their incidental charges including phone calls and mini bar
It is extremely important that the guest is NEVER shown a copy of the master folio. The rate they paid to the travel agent may vary from the rate shown on the master folio due to commission paid to the travel agent.
Corporate bookings are sometimes referred to as company bookings. These are usually made either by the person themselves or a representative of the company. The guest may check out paying by a corporate credit card, supplied by the company or by company charge back authority. The charge back may include part or all charges. If only partial charges, the guest must settle incidental charges on departure.
The guest should always sign the copy of the master folio being charged back to the company.
Activity 1
In this activity you will develop your dialogue with a guest during the check out procedure for FITs, travel agents and corporate guests.
Guest departure procedure
Key points
Your dialogue
Greet guest
Establish room number.
Ask about stay and respond to any complaints and comments.

Collect relevant paperwork
Collect all relevant paperwork from guest ledger.
View and verify correct.

Present account to guest
Explain charges.
Do not present master account to guest pre paid to travel agent, present extras account only.

Ask for any outstanding charges
Ask if guest had any late charge not on the account:
-Mini Bar
- Breakfast
- Telephone

Correct any

Apologise only, do not justify.

Collect payment

Ask the guest if the method of payment is correct

Settle account

Finalise (settle) the account and bring total to zero

Issue receipt
Hand the finalised copy of the account to the guest including any credit card sales voucher copies. Neatly attach all paperwork to the account.

Collect guest keys

For security reasons it is important to make sure that the guest does not take the key.

Safety deposits
Ask the guest if the safety deposit facilities were used, return the valuables, obtain signature and key.

Forward reservations

The guest may ask for a forward reservation for the next stop on the journey. If possible, offer assistance.

Arrange transportation

Ask the guest if you can assist with organising transport.

Co-ordination of luggage

The guest’s luggage may need to be collected from the room or stored for a few hours or days.

Record and action messages and mail
If the guest wishes to have mail and messages forwarded to the next address, take the details.

Farewell guest
Make guest feel important and express the hope that the guest will return to the hotel. React to any adverse or positive remarks.

Finalise paperwork

Complete and file all paperwork as required
by hotel management

Express checkout
Express checkout occurs when the guest signs an authority slip, usually supplied with the key envelope, to allow the establishment to charge their credit card and forward a receipt to the guest. The guest drops this authority into the express check out box at reception as they leave the hotel. This way there is no delay on departure. The cashier at quiet times during their shift checks the express checkout box, processes the check out and forwards the receipt to the guest. The issue with this kind of check out is that if there are any discrepancies with the guest folio, the guest will not know about these until they receive their copy of the folio.
Any account that is not paid on departure such as Travel Agent Vouchers or Company Charge Back are checked out to the City Ledger or Debtor Account.
This enables the accounts department to issue an invoice for payment.
Any skipper are also checked out to City Ledger as the money needs to be recouped from the guest or written off at the end of the financial year.
Activity 2
What are your thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of express checkouts.
Posting additional charges
When guests are departing there may be last minute charges that may have to be added to their account. This is called posting and must be done accurately.
These charges can include:
· mini bar
· breakfast
Most establishments now operate with computer systems. Charges to guest folios are automatically posted for accommodation and such services as telephone calls, restaurant and bar charges. RPDs (Revenue producing departments - i.e. restaurant, telephones) post these to the PMS using an interfaced network system. Folios are generated on departure for the guest to show all charges and payments received.
Every transaction posted to an account requires proof (source document). In the case of restaurant and bar charges, the front desk receives the signed docket (invoice) from the restaurant to charge to the guest account. In the case of a fully integrated computer system with POS (point of sale) terminals, the charges are posted to guest accounts on line from the POS terminal in each RPD. However, the cashier's summary and all invoices are sent to reception and the signed dockets are held at the front desk with other guest information until the guest checks out.
When a guest comes to the desk to check out we ask if they had anything from the mini bar last night or this morning. They may have a completed mini bar tab from their room or they can complete one at reception.
Occasionally we also post late breakfast charges, this could be if the restaurant is extremely busy and has not had time to complete the postings or if the interface system is not operating.

Paid outs and refunds
Sometimes a guest may request money to be paid out on their behalf, such as for a taxi or theatre ticket. This is called a paid out. The money is paid out from the cashiers float and the charge posted to the guest account. The guest then settles this on departure when they pay their bill.
You may also find that payments have to be refunded on departure when the guest has not used all of the security deposit paid on arrival. In both instances no docket or invoice may be available so a cashier’s voucher must be raised to accompany the transaction. This is also the case if the GSA has made a posting error.
In the instance of a ‘paid out’ or ‘refund’ the guest should sign the voucher. In the case of a correction or adjustment, the transaction must be authorised by management.
Remember that for each posting you must have a source document.
Activity 3: Prepare ‘paid out’ and ‘refund vouchers’
This activity requires you to complete paid out and refund source documents and calculate the banking for the day.

You are working at the Stuart Beachside Resort as Front Office Cashier. During this morning's shift, the following transactions have occurred:

Guest name
Plotter Mr/s
Refund prepayment
Clerk Ms H
Pay out for taxi
Forest Mrs P
Postal charges paid out
Blake Ms L
Courier payment
Mulch Mr/s S
Theatre tickets
Clerk Ms H
Vending machine (cigs)

All transactions have been authorised by the Front Office Manager, Ms Maria Pedant.
1 Prepare the appropriate vouchers for each transaction.
2 Calculate your shift banking (by adding all vouchers together and subtracting them from the total banking).

At the end of your shift your gross banking should be $5600.50
After deducting your refunds/pay outs $________
Your net banking should be $________
Go to the Appendix to find blank Source docket
Offer guest service
On departure guests may require assistance with future bookings, luggage, transport or instructions for expected mail and messages. You must be aware of how to carry out these tasks, so that the departure experience is a positive one and makes the guests wish to return.
The guest should be reminded about the use of in house safes or safety deposit boxes so their belongings are not left behind. If they are expecting any mail or messages details should be taken for onward delivery.

When a guest comes to the desk to check out, we ask if they have anything in the safety deposit box or have used the in room safe. This is to jog their memory as they may have a lot on their minds at this time and we don’t want them to leave behind any valuables.
This is also a time when we can sell other hotels in our chain by enquiring where the guest is heading. If they say they are travelling on, you may be able to make a booking for them within your hotel chain in another town or city.
We should always remember to offer the guest assistance with their luggage and transport requirements. If the guest leaves forwarding information for mail or messages we must make sure this is recorded in the relevant area.
Activity 4: Guest services
What are three services that should be offered to a guest on departure.
Appendix: Source docket
Copy as needed

Cashier's Voucher

Guest Name

Room/Account #


Type of Transaction:
o Correction o Refund o Paid Out
o Commission o Transfer o Adjustment

Date: Cashier:


Refund/Paid Out received:

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