We’ve reached the point where most hotels will let a customer check in at any time.
Early check-in is a welcome convenience. Even if the room’s not ready, there’s the relief of offloading luggage before either setting off to explore or chilling in the lobby. But, what’s up with that seemingly hallowed rule, usually engraved on a plaque on the main door, reminding all that check-out time is noon (if not earlier)?
Airbnb forces change
Not for the noon (or, sometimes it’s 11 a.m.) check-out time – but for the reason, the hospitality industry is changing. The primary reason for an established check-out time has to do with general travel routines. Clearing the room by noon gives the housekeeping team sufficient time to prepare it for the next guest, who would traditionally check-in after 3 p.m.
Those “that’s the way it’s always been done” logistics got swept out the door with the arrival of Airbnb. Practically everything is negotiable, and you’re dealing with an individual who is free to make on-the-spot decisions. It’s your prerogative if your flight lands at 2 a.m. and you want to check in at 3 a.m.
If there’s one thing that Airbnb has taught the hospitality industry, it’s that you can’t play lip service to your role and hide behind published operating rules. Guests prefer to choose their own experience, meaning that they want the ability to establish check-in and check-out times that mesh with their travel plans.
What works for you?
Most hotels have always been flexible about check-out times. It’s often simply a matter of common sense and a willingness for visitors to communicate their needs. Beyond hearing from a guest that they’d like a different check-out time, hoteliers are also exploring the idea of moving to a 24-hour operating mentality – meaning that if you check in at 7 p.m., you expect to have use of that room without further charge until 7 p.m. the following day.
This is becoming more common. Smaller boutique hotels led the way because it was easier for them to disrupt the “we’ve always done it this way” operating patterns. Larger chains are playing catch-up, but they are exploring their own flavors of the idea.
Usually not so difficult
Most hotels often close out with at least two or three rooms unoccupied. This allows for flexibility with check-in and check-out times when it’s something that must be handled on an individual basis. Hotel managers agree: that’s the preferred way to handle things. Even if a customer doesn’t give notice of a particular check-out time, few hotels want the negative feedback they might get from social media rants for charging an additional day rate fee.
The general move towards having staffing 24/7 means that more hotels have at least one room attendant on duty at all times. Guests may still see the familiar flock of housecleaning carts deployed on their floor if they peek out the door at 8 a.m., but it’s becoming a more common occurrence for rooms to be cleaned and prepared as soon as possible after they’re vacated.
Beachwood Custom brings over a century of combined experience to the art of opening a hotel. Design, purchasing, manufacturing, and installation are all part of our client service. You can reach us on our contact page to learn how we can help realize your décor goals.