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What is a Turndown Service at a Hotel?

In a hotel, a turndown service is the preparation of a room for a guest to sleep in by slightly turning back the comforter on the bed, turning down the lights, and so on.

Turn-down service is performed in the early evening and might include drawing down the drapes and putting out the light. Turndown service or evening service is one of the most important services provided by the housekeeping department.

It is such a sophisticated service that would not cost a hotel, motel or cruise ship much, but it is always guaranteed to get ultimate guest satisfaction. The concept of turndown service was developed to provide a soothing homey environment for guests to return to in the evening. Turndown or evening service begins at 6 PM and it continues until completed.

The primary purpose of providing such service is to ensure that guests enjoy the highest level of comfort before and during sleep. Turndown service that used to be reserved for VIP guests, now has become quite an obligatory routine service for all guests.

Some hotels provide on request, some charge for it and some provide only to VIP guests. Turndown service is more common in luxurious hotels, resorts and cruise ships. Also note that hotels that offer this service usually have turndown attendants who are specialized in this service.

In some hotels, a turndown room attendant on night shift may need to serve close to 20 rooms per hour. It simply entails that a turndown attendant might only get 5 minutes to arrange a guest’s room. Turndown attendants are expected to be very well looked, skilled, professional, observant and quite silent by nature to avoid troublesomeness to guests.

Duties and responsibilities of a turndown attendant tend to vary a little bit in different establishments but few are most common like turning down the bed sheets, placing a complementary chocolate or candy mint on the pillow may be with a card saying

“Have a pleasant night sleep and a good day tomorrow” and also placing the doorknob morning breakfast card, replenishing fruit basket with fresh fruits, filling the ice bucket, leaving a fresh towel and last but not least ensuring there is a glass and bottle of water for night.

For resort hotels or cruise ships, room attendants may deliver a card with the following day’s weather forecast printed along with description of following days special activities or events.

Turndown Service Procedures for Hotels

Turn-down service involves preparing a room for the night so that a client feels at home and can easily go to bed upon returning to his room. In some hotel training manuals, you may see that some people prefer to clean everything first and then start turning down bed. However, here is an A to Z turndown service procedure for most hotels:

  1. Get Prepared

  • Get list of rooms (room assignment sheet) that need turndown or evening service.
  • Pick “giveaways” like chocolate or candy mint from the housekeeping supervisor.
  • Stock the trolley with required items like linen & other standard guest room amenities, cleaning items and agents.
  • Check any special requirements or notes for any guests.
  1. Entering the Guest Room

  • Check first if there is anyone in the room. Check the status of the room from assignment sheet.
  • If DND (Do not Disturb) sign is hung on the door knob then take note of those DND rooms and return to them before going to off duty.
  • Before entering announce yourself. You could say “Housekeeping”
  • Follow the procedure of knocking and entering a guest room.
  • If there is a guest in the room who answers the door the very politely seek permission for turn down service. You could ask in this way: “Good evening Mr. X, May I turn down the bed for you?”
  • If the guest refuses then politely ask when you can return.
  • Take note and report about those refused service rooms to the supervisor.
  • If guest doesn’t want turndown service then politely ask does he need anything: “Ok, Sir. Would you like to have any fresh towel or any additional supplies like tea or coffee or bottle of water?”
  • If the guest allows or there is no guest in the room then follow the next procedures.
  • Keep the door open with the support of a doorstop.
  • Keep the cart in the proper position.
  • Switch the master switch on.
  • Switch on all lights and make sure all are working fine.
  • Have a look at the turndown assignment sheet for any special instruction (if any).
  1. Turn Down the Bed

  • You will start by removing guest items from the bed. Put them aside. Remember some properties have a policy that would not allow you to move guest items.
  • Pull the bedcover back gently and fold the bedcover or bedspread in a three way fold.
  • Fold one corner of the blanket so that a guest can easily slide into the bed.
  • For single occupancy in a twin room, just turn down one bed.
  • Release one side of the top of linen and blankets and fold them back to form a right angle triangle. If two people are sharing bed then turn down both sides and form double triangle.
  • Neaten all the edges and tuck in properly.
  • Always remember to fluff the pillows in order to look them fresh and firm.
  1. Arrange Turndown Amenities

  • Arrange all the turndown amenities in appropriate locations. Remember that amenities will vary from property to property or types of establishment (like hotel, resort, cruise ships etc.) and it will also change time to time.
  • You may need to place following items at the middle of the bed: Breakfast knob card, Bookmark card, We value your opinion card, One laundry list, TV guide, TV remote, Otherwise, place a breakfast menu and chocolate on the pillow.
  • If it is in your property’s policy then place a note or visiting card of general manager or sales & marketing director on the pillow.
  • Place complementary mineral water (if it’s on your policy).
  • Put foot mat on the floor along with slippers. The best location to put that is in front of bed’s turn down from where guest would slide into the bed.
  1. Clean the Room

  • Carefully look around the room and make it as neat as possible, tidy anything that is out of order. If it is too messy then you have to go for extensive clearing.
  • Clear all dustbins. Empty the trash and replace the plastic bag.
  • If the ashtray is full then empty the ashtray into waste bin. For cleaning purpose put the ashtray in the bathroom.
  • Pick all used chinaware or glassware and place them in the bathroom for cleaning or replace with new clean ones.
  • If there is any used plates or any other items from room service then remove those and put into the pantry area.
  • Clear all the dustbins.
  • Hang lose guest clothes in the hanger or keep on wardrobe.
  1. Make the Guest Bathroom Neat & Tidy

  • Clean the bathroom and remember to make it as fresh and clean as possible.
  • Replace used towel with new one.
  • Replenish guest supplies like soap, shampoo etc. when needed.
  • For sure, bath/shower, basin or toilet has been used by the guest. So wash them neatly and give them time to dry out. This will uphold your hygiene standard.
  1. Create Pleasing Atmosphere

  • Close the curtains to give privacy to guests at night.
  • Turn on beside light, close drapes and blinds.
  • In some property, it is recommended to turn on radio to a recommended FM station at low volume. Don’t do that if you don’t have such policy.
  • Set the thermostat at standard level or set it as the guest left.
  • Spray some air freshener if required.
  • If needed make necessary arrangement so that the room look very comfortable and appealing.
  1. The Last Check

  • Sometimes, nightly turndown service creates long lasting impression to guest which result from repeat business. So don’t leave any chance to uphold your property’s image.
  • Double check everything. Scan the guest room and other areas from beginning to end. If the room looks appealing and pleasant in your eyes then most probably it will also look good to guests.
  • Double check the assignment sheet and check whether you have missed or overlooked anything or not.
  • Specially look after and deal with any extra requirements the guest might need or requested like – flower vases, pillows, iron and ironing board, magazines etc.
  1. Exit the Room

  • Leave the room and wipe your fingerprint (if any) from the surface of the door.
  • Lock the door properly according to your system.
  • Double check to become sure that the door has been locked properly. Don’t forget guest’s belongings are there in the room at your protection.
  1. Take Note on Assignment Sheet

  • Mark the worksheet as complete.
  • Take note if required.


Developing your hotel revenue management requires new measures to be adopted for the purpose of customer satisfaction. While hotel marketing and revenue management can be complex, there are many low-cost and effective strategies you can use in your hotel business.

It really doesn’t cost much to operate turndown service regularly. So if your property has those capabilities then go for it. After all, turndown service is a great way to achieve guest satisfaction.