YOUR ROOM IS READY

Hotels are finally figuring out that guests hate traditional check-in times

Obsession
Getting There
Obsession
Getting There

Walking around like a zombie after a red-eye flight until your hotel room is ready is becoming a thing of the past.

The Standard Hotels on Monday (July 18) became the latest hotel chain to recognize the annoyance of traditional check-in times, and launched a check-in-anytime service it’s calling “Standard Time.”

“Check-in at 3pm and check-out at noon is an anachronism. It does not reflect how people live. It never has,” said Amar Lalvani, managing partner of parent company Standard International, which operates hotels in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.

The convenience comes at a cost, though. The Standard says it will tack on a surcharge of about 5% for the check-in anytime package.

Other hotels also have taken note of the annoyance to travelers. The Sheraton Four Points at Los Angeles International Airport offers 24-hour check-in, and chains like Marriott allow for flexible check-in and check-out times, allowing guests to check in a few hours early or leave a few hours later, depending on availability.

The lion’s share of arrivals and departures at many major international airports are scheduled around midday, making traditional 3pm check-ins and noon check-outs not too much of a hassle. But there are scores of long-haul red-eye flights that arrive in the wee hours of the morning, and plenty of departures that leave late evening.

Meanwhile, the traditional hotel industry is under new pressure to please guests, particularly high-paying business travelers, as corporate travel agencies are warming to Airbnb. While the home- and room-rental site usually defaults to a noon check-in, guests can easily customize their arrival time with their host.

Traditional business hotels have an advantage in that they can, and generally do, allow guests to use facilities on the property while they’re waiting for their room, or after they’ve checked out of one. But freshening up from a flight or changing out of a wet bathing suit in a hotel lobby bathroom isn’t anyone’s idea of fun or comfort. It’s smart for the industry to finally recognize that.

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