Check-in Times

USA Today’s hotel hotsheet blog has a post by Kitty Bean Yancey bemoaning the 4 pm check-in time. As a traveler, there is surely nothing more irksome than to travel six continents after having lost luggage or missed connections due to a variety of lame excuses advanced by airlines only to be told on arrival at the sanctuary of the hotel that the room is not ready! Yancey asks her readers what they think of the check-in policies of hotels and whether there are any alternatives particularly, as she notes “rates keep getting higher”. The short answer is no – particularly from an operator’s standpoint. Higher rates do not offset higher real estate taxes, wages, utilities and the vagaries of the economic cycle. Certainly, customers do not (and should not) expect depleted services when the industry is in a trough – as it surely will be before long. Hotels can do other things to try and alleiviate the aggravation of having to wait particularly when someone gets in after a red-eye flight several hours before the “standard” check-in time. Some (higher end) hotels have a full washroom – usually attached to the gym – where guests can take a shower and clean up after leaving the luggage with the bell staff. While that does not allow any shut-eye, it at least leaves the guest feeling refreshed and clean. Others, offer complimentary coffee, drinks and even eats. Airport hotels can and must ensure that the guest is picked up reasonably promptly after calling from the terminal building so as to ensure the guest at least has the sense of having arrived at his/her destination and hope that a room will be available earlier than the 3-4 pm deadline. In the end, given the high cost of personnel, it would be hard for most operators to justify the scheduling of rolling shifts to clean rooms as they become vacant.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.