When you make a hotel reservation, do you always hate seeing the dreaded description, “Check in time is at 3pm”? You’re well aware that your flight gets in at 6am in the morning and you want to get to the hotel as soon as possible. Perhaps you’re hesitant because of the website text that says 3pm check-in. Out of my entire hotel stays in the past 10 years, roughly 20% of those were probably checked in at the scheduled time or later. I would say 60% of the time I checked in at 12pm which is a relatively safe time. The other 20% is the dreaded 6am arrival time with the 3 or 4pm check-in time. I’ve had an 80% success rate on checking in as early as 8am on some cases. Don’t be shy and think you’ll get rejected at the check-in desk. If you just try, most of the time they’ll give you a. The worse that can happen is that they’ll store your belongings and give you a call when they “rush” your room to be ready. Here are some tips on how to increase your chances of an early check in at a hotel.
Hotel Elite Status – This matters a lot because the hotel values its loyal customers and its own loyalty program. They want to get their best customers into their rooms as fast as possible. If you have an upgraded room and it’s not available at check-in, some hotels will let you stay in a standard room and move you to your suite when it’s available. Sometimes if you have a suite already pre-upgraded and it isn’t ready until much later, you can get a standard room if you’re willing to downgrade. It could be worth accepting the downgraded room since you would be checking in super early, well ahead of other guests.
Send a Tweet – If your hotel brand has a Twitter account, it’s wise to send a tweet asking for an early check-in request. I’ve done this a lot with Starwood where I’ll DM Starwood and let the hotel know that I’ll be checking in early. I usually do this the night before so the front desk clerks can make note of it. Some people do check-out at 5 or 6am and it’s possible that they could secure that room for you.
Send an e-mail – If you really want that early check-in, I would highly advise you to send an e-mail to the General Manager. You can find the GM’s name on the hotel confirmation e-mail and search for his or her e-mail address via Google.
Smile and ask politely – When you’re at the front desk, be polite and smile. When I approach the front desk, I usually say, “Hi, Good Morning. I know it’s a bit early, but is there any way I can check-in at this time? I had an early flight arrival and I’m exhausted.” Most of the time, they’ll ask you for your name and proactively check their availability of rooms.
If you do a combination or all of the above, it will dramatically increase your chances of checking into a hotel as early as 8am.
Have you ever checked into a hotel as early as 8am?