Hotel Valet Parking Procedures | FC Valet (2024)

There are two types of parking: valet parking and self-parking. Self-parking requires a guest to find a place to park their own vehicle. Valet parking is a single drop-off and pick-up point conveniently located outside an entrance. Guests hand off their keys to a professional parking assistant who secures their vehicle for them and retrieves it before their departure.

Self-parking requires finding open spaces, checking time limits, worrying about theft or towing. After traveling to get to your hotel, the last thing your guest needs is to navigate the maze of parking in their new location. Since hotel patrons stay overnight and perhaps for several days, in-house valet parking becomes an essential service. In most urban centers, overnight parking is prohibitively expensive or difficult to find, and the last thing you want guests to worry about is where their cars or rentals will end up for the evening.

Hotel valet parking lets guests hand off the hassles of parking immediately and gives them more time to enjoy the other facilities your hotel has to offer. Guests can then write reviews about the hotel bar or swimming pool rather than the parking garage.

Valet parking is thus an expected and valued amenity at any fine hotel. But how does it actually work, and how can you integrate it into your hotel? The rest of this article will explain how valet parking works from both the consumer and business point of view, and then how to bring it into your hotel operations.

What are the hotel valet parking procedures for a guest?

  • Step 1: Pull up in the lane in front of the hotel entrance by a podium with uniformed attendants and signage demarcating a valet drop-off zone.
  • Step 2: Greeted warmly by an attendant that will open the car doors for the guest and their company.
  • Step 3: The hotel valet attendant will aid anyone who needs assistance in exiting the vehicle and with any mobility devices such as walkers, canes and wheelchairs.
  • Step 4: Luggage will be unloaded by the attendant.
  • Step 5: The guest should double-check that they have remembered all their belongings. If they leave something in the car they can text or call the valet desk to retrieve it for them.
  • Step 6: Ask for directions to the concierge or check-in desk and enter the lobby. Under bad weather conditions, the valet will escort the guests inside under an umbrella to keep them dry and safe.
  • Step 7: The valet will then drive the vehicle safely to the hotel’s designated area and secure it. The guest will either keep a ticket stub matching their keys or it will be automated on their mobile device.
  • Step 8: As the guest prepares to depart, they can notify the valet through text to ready their vehicle so by the time they exit the lobby it will be waiting directly outside.
  • Step 9: It is customary to tip the valet for their service. Some prefer to tip both valets, at drop-off and pick-up, while others wait until they retrieve their vehicle and leave a larger sum to be split between attendants.

The user-experience of valet parking is one of accessibility, convenience and luxury. It establishes the first impression and smooths any ruffled feathers from traveling. Satisfied guests make for satisfied managers, thus the rest of the article will focus on what valet parking procedures look like from the operations side and how to establish them at your hotel.

What does it take to successfully run a hotel valet parking service?

Richard Raskin managed some of the biggest valet operations in Los Angeles, with a staff of 120 parking attendants at the Century Plaza Hotel. He oversaw valet parking for the Golden Globe Awards and the Carousel of Hope charity ball. Raskin used his decades of experience to write a brief on ‘Successful Management of a Valet Operation.’ He outlines the importance of having parking spaces close to the drop-off point for speedier retrievals, maintaining high staff levels during peak hours and removing hazards in parking garages to avoid flat tires or scrapes.

But at the end of the day, Raskin argues “it’s service that counts. That well-mannered valet in front of the restaurant on a bitter cold evening is what makes valet patrons feel special.” At the core, the most essential component in valet parking services is not having the flashiest uniforms or a marble podium; it is about getting the right people for the job.

Hotels often hire third-party valet services that have already established vigorous recruiting and training standards. First Class Valet, for example, has 23 years of experience establishing valet parking procedures at hotels, restaurants, hospitals, country clubs and more. FC Valet has a recruiting program that focuses on the highest level of service and hospitality, not simply driving capability. The company uses a proactive quality control program consisting of background checks and in-depth driving records. After passing the screening process, valet attendants go through an educational program at AAA and Forbes standards, practical instruction and a field training period. These recruitment and training mechanisms secure employees who can meet the highest of hotel hospitality standards.

How can technology streamline hotel valet parking procedures?

FC Valet also uses an adaptive staffing model that combines online scheduling, GPS verified time clocks and on-call staff to ensure maximum efficiency. Data-based staffing ensures there is ample staff at peak hours of guest arrival and no waste during lulls.

Text-retrieval technology is another organizational must that benefits guests and management alike. The ability to text ahead lets hotel patrons avoid retrieval wait times and gives them peace of mind to make it to their dinner reservations and airport departures on time. Two-way text communication also enables the valet to retrieve left-behind luggage or belongings for the guest at their request.

How can valet services integrate into your hotel?

Hotel valet parking attendants are an essential addition to your hotel’s front-line hospitality team. As a valet opens the door and greets your guest, they can work in tandem with the bell desk as they load the guests’ belongings onto luggage carts. The bellhop can then continue on to take the luggage up to the rooms as the valet secures the car. Or the valet attendant can replace this service altogether and aid the guest with unloading their luggage. The valet attendants can then direct the guest to the concierge or check-in desk.

Valet attendants help with wayfinding and directions. They are trained to answer any questions guests may have on directions, where to check-in and next steps. A valet station helps unify all the hotel amenities offered in the lobby. Valets prevent congestion and traffic blocking the hotel entrance, aid bellhops with removing luggage and help direct guests to the next personnel for their needs. Valet professionals are the very first point of contact for hotel guests and their first luxury as they hand over the hassle of parking.

Companies like FC Valet enroll their employees and management in their client’s service training programs to ensure that their standards of hospitality are being met. Putting drivers through your hotel’s training guarantees that the company culture and values of your hotel are being exemplified to guests before they even walk through the front door.

Operationalize Valet Parking at Your Hotel Today

Research in urban centers found that in peak hours, 30-50% of total traffic was related to trying to find parking. Traffic, congestion and frustration over no convenient available spots is not how you want your guests to start their stay. Valet services turn your hotel entrance into a streamlined, chic experience.

Contact FC Valet to find out how they can bring optimized valet parking services to your hotel. The essentials of training, staffing and implementing the latest in parking technology are all handled for you, hassle-free. Hiring a valet service means bringing in parking and hospitality experts to your hotel team.

Hotel Valet Parking Procedures | FC Valet (2024)


How does valet parking work at a hotel? ›

When a guest arrives, they turn over their car keys to an employee who greets them, takes their keys, and parks their car. Later in the night when the guest is ready to leave, an employee retrieves their car for them and sends them on their way.

Do you tip valet before or after at a hotel? ›

Whether valet parking is complimentary or incurs a fee, it is customary to tip at least a dollar. It's customary to tip both when dropping off and picking up your car. Most people do both, as the valet staff may differ for your arrival and departure. Tip more if you need special services from your parking attendant.

What is the proper etiquette for valet parking? ›

Tip the valet, even if the service is free. Valet attendants make a good deal of their income from tips. Again, the standard amount is $2-5. If they've offered special services, like assistance with luggage, give them more.

What are the rules of valet service? ›

Valet staff should note and document any damage to a vehicle or its contents before driving it. Valet staff should suggest that guests remove any valuables from the guest's vehicles prior to turning the vehicle over to the hotel; at the very least, such articles should be locked in the trunk.

How does automated valet parking work? ›

As soon as the driver requests the vehicle in the smartphone app, automated valet parking returns it to the pick-up area – no need for the driver to spend time looking for the car and maneuvering it out of the parking garage. Payment of the parking fee is processed automatically as soon as the vehicle exits the garage.

Why is valet parking so expensive? ›

One of the biggest costs associated with valet parking is the cost of fuel. Valets are often required to drive customers' vehicles to a secure parking lot or garage, which can be quite a distance away. As such, the cost of fuel to move vehicles around needs to be factored into the cost of the service.

Is $5 a good tip for valet? ›

Tipping your valet is good practice because they work hard, often in grueling weather conditions, to provide this service. Experts recommend tipping between $2 and $5 per trip, or $10 for excellent service. You may not be expected to tip valets at certain venues – like hospitals – or for private events.

How much to tip hotel housekeeping? ›

According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), guests should tip housekeeping anywhere between $1 to $5 per night for a mid-range or business hotel. For luxury hotels where the staff offers daily cleaning services and nightly turndown services, guests should leave a little more.

What are the disadvantages of valet parking? ›

Advantage, pull up to the door and you go in without having to find a parking spot. Disadvantage, you pay for parking, and you are giving control of your car to another person and they are limited for damage according to the contract on the ticket you are given.

What's included in a full valet? ›

A full car valet includes a full vacuum (including the entire interior, seats, boot and side pockets), cleaning and buffing of all surfaces and materials, full leather clean, full interior shampoo clean (of seats, carpets and mats), window cleaning, tyre shine, the removal of tar spots and a full exterior polish.

How long does a basic valet take? ›

The duration for a mini valet is around 1.5 hours, while a full valet takes around two to four hours. The mini valet includes a thorough exterior cleaning with a little bit of interior cleaning. However, if you want to go beyond that, you can choose a full valet, which includes a complete interior wash and a polish.

What are the valet services in hotel? ›

Definition of 'valet service'

a parking facility provided by a commercial establishment, such as a restaurant or hotel, whereby customers leave their cars at the entrance and attendants park and retrieve them.

Is valet parking efficient? ›

From an operational perspective, valet parking increases efficiency, particularly in businesses where parking space is limited. Professional valets are typically experts in parking optimization, often able to fit in more cars than would typically be possible.


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