confession of a hotelier – what you need to know about hotel check-in and check-out times

confession of a hotelier, hotel check-in and check-out times, hotel housekeeping, hotel stories

Does it make you mad and cause you to complain endlessly when upon your arrival at the hotel, the room is not ready for you on time?

Do you think it is your entitlement to get a hotel room as soon as you arrive at the hotel regardless that it is before the standard check-in time?

Do you normally ignore the check-out time as requested by the hotel and take your sweet time to pack and vacate the room?

Do you know why the hotels set specific times for the guests to check-in and check-out?  Just for your information, traditionally in Malaysia (and probably more or less the same all over the world) the normal check-in time for most hotels is from 2:00 p.m. while some at 3:00 p.m. onwards, and the check-out time generally is latest by 12:00 noon.

Lesson 1 – on check-out
The set check-out time by 12:00 noon is the latest time you have to leave and handover the room so that the housekeeping attendant can clean the room and get it ready for the next guest to check-in from 2:00 p.m.

With the limited time frame of only 2 hours or less, i.e. if all of the guests only check-out at 12:00 noon and some even later, without communicating with the reception and on a day with fairly high occupancy, I guess you can imagine how stressed out the poor housekeeping attendants can be especially if the guests have made a mess of the rooms which results in more time needed for the cleaning up, and with the newly arrived guests banging at the counter downstairs demanding for their rooms!

Lessons to learn:

  1. Check-out on time, if not early
  2. Please do not complain that it inconveniences you when the key card for your room expires at 12:00 noon or when you come back from lunch — it clearly means, and confirmed by the hotel computer system that cuts the key for you upon registration that you are supposed to have checked-out by 12:00 noon
  3. Please do not get angry at the hotel team for not accommodating your request for late check-out as some times it is simply impossible for them to do so when the room is required for the next arrival
  4. If you would like to have an extended check-out, pay for it. The hotel will accommodate when there are unoccupied rooms or the next guest is arriving late
  5. Some hotels have very strict practise and they will charge you accordingly if you do not check out on time. Sometimes they can charge up to an extra night so be cautious especially if you are travelling on a budget!

Lesson 2 – on check-in
With the latest check-out time set at 12:00 noon, the hotel team cannot simply ask the departure guest to vacate the room early for you when you arrive early.  Therefore, it is clearly not your entitlement to get a room if you arrive prior to the check-in time, and it is at the absolute discretion of the hotel team should they decide to allow you to check-in in mid-morning.

We know it is natural for the guests to get upset when they do not get the room on time but as stated in Lesson 1, if the departure guests do not check-out early or on time, the housekeeping attendants will not have sufficient time to get the rooms ready for the new arrivals.

Lessons to learn:

  1. Please do not see it as your prerogative to get the room when you arrive early, regardless of how tired or how deserved you think you are
  2. You want early check in? Sure, the hotel will accommodate if there are unoccupied rooms and at a fee
  3. If you are expected to arrive in the early hours of the morning, do book the room for the night before so that you are assured of a room upon your arrival and you do not have to end up sleeping in the hotel lobby.  Trust me, it is not a pretty sight!  And please do not expect the hotel to give you a few hours of stay for free as it is not a charitable organisation!
  4. Have mercy and compassion on the housekeeping attendants and reception service associates as more often than not, the late release of the guestrooms is caused by inconsiderate guests who do not check-out on time
  5. Are there any other possible reasons for the late release of rooms? Absolutely!  I believe most of the hotel service associates are committed to ensure their service standard is met so for whatever reasons that might be, the hotel team would surely appreciate your kind understanding and patience as after all, they are just a bunch of hard-working human beings working their butts off trying to beat the clock to get the rooms ready for you!

2 thoughts on “confession of a hotelier – what you need to know about hotel check-in and check-out times

  1. I always check in after 2pm (unless given green light in advance by the hotel for certain reasons), and i make sure i reach downstairs by 12pm hehe unless i agree to pay more. I understand how much things need to be done by the staffs. There are certain brands that allow people to break the rules, they will give that green light upon reservation or when calling to confirm. Now that brands will make guests angry if they arrive 8am but the room is not ready, so much for the platinum status hehe. But in general, i do understand the rules. For non elite, expect to obey the rules.


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