Why Is Hotel Check-In So Late?

Most hotels worldwide have similar check-in and check-out times. 

Usually, guests are permitted to check in between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and must check out between 10 a.m. and noon.

Many people wonder why there’s such a large window of time between check-in and check-out. 

Hotels have a late afternoon check-in time because housekeeping needs the time between check-out and check-in to prepare the rooms for new guests. Only so many staff members are available per shift, and they need ample time to ensure the rooms are clean and sanitized.

Preparing a hotel room can take anywhere from 30 mins to an hour, depending on how many staff members are available to clean each room and how big the room is. 

If the hotel has many rooms turning over in a day, housekeeping will need the entire four hours to arrange everything perfectly for upcoming guests.

Can I Arrange Early Check-In?

If a hotel has rooms available, you may be able to negotiate early check-in. 

Some properties offer early check-in at an additional fee, while others provide the perk to members of certain loyalty programs.

Here are some tips for arranging early check-in.

Join a Hotel’s Loyalty Program

When you join a hotel’s loyalty (or points) program, you can receive many benefits from the membership, including early check-in. 

It’s usually easy to enroll in a loyalty program. Often, the hotel will offer this option when you book your room. 

Occasionally you have to sign up for the program before booking your stay, but membership often comes with discounts, so it might be worth the extra step.

Some credit cards or airlines also offer hotel perks, so double-check your current memberships to see what applies to you.

Ask For Early Check-In on Less Busy Days

You can increase your chances of early check-in by requesting it on less busy days. 

Resorts generally have fewer guests on weekdays, and business-oriented hotels are usually less busy on the weekends.  

Regardless of where you’re staying, it never hurts to ask if you need early check-in. Most of the time, the hotel will accommodate your request if they can.

Give Advance Notice

If you know you’ll arrive early, inform the hotel when you make your booking. 

The hotel will appreciate the notice and may even go out of their way to accommodate you.

Often with online booking, there’s an option to tell the hotel when you’d like to check in. 

If it’s before the usual check-in time, it’s considered a special request, and the hotel will let you know in advance if they accept early check-in.

At the very least, hotels often allow guests to leave their luggage in a secure storage area if they arrive prior to check-in and their room isn’t quite ready. 

Many hotels also permit you to use their facilities (e.g., spa, pool, fitness center, lobby, restaurants, etc.) while you wait for your room.

If you aren’t too tired after a long day of travel, you can take the opportunity to ditch your luggage and start exploring the city until your room is prepared.

Can I Arrange Late Check-Out?

While most hotels require guests to check out by noon, some may offer late check-out. 

When you check in, just ask the front desk if they allow late check-out, and if they do, they’ll make a note on your reservation that you’re staying a little later.

Most late check-out is by 2 or 3 p.m., but it can give you a few extra hours to pack your things and enjoy your room. 

If they can’t accommodate your request and you’re leaving the area later in the day, most hotels will let you store your luggage in their secure storage area after you check out. 

This can give you extra time to enjoy the city without dragging heavy bags around.

Conclusion

Hotels usually have a four-hour window between check-out and check-in so they can prep the rooms for incoming guests.

Every hotel has its own policies, and some may be more flexible about the time than others. 

Some hotels let you check in early and/or check out late, depending on whether they have the space and staff to accommodate the request.

You can do some things to increase your chance of early check-in, such as asking in advance or joining a loyalty program that offers this perk.

If you arrive earlier and want to start exploring the area, most hotels will store your luggage for you until your room is ready.

Just ask at the front desk, and they’ll do their best to help you out.

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