Are Hotel Check-In Times Guaranteed?

Fairly frequently I get questions from readers asking what they’re entitled to if their hotel room isn’t ready by the published check-in time. I’ve never really been sure of the answer, so perhaps it’s time I ask you guys what you think.

In many ways I don’t envy the position hotels are in, especially when it comes to rooms that are frequented by elite members with guaranteed late check-out. For example, how can you promise someone 2-3PM check-in when an elite member checking out of the same room is entitled to 4PM check-out? In general I realize the late check-out benefit balances out with people who check-in late (or others who check-out early), though when a hotel only has a limited number of a certain type of room, it gets trickier.

Let me pose this question and share my thoughts in the context of my current situation. We’re staying at a European Starwood hotel, and used a Suite Night Award to confirm an upgrade (in advance) to a suite.

We arrived at the hotel at around 2PM after a redeye from the U.S. and were looking forward to taking a nap, though were informed that the room wouldn’t be vacated by the previous guest until 4PM, and that it would take about two hours to clean the room, meaning we’d only have access to the room three hours after the stated check-in time.

While that crushed my hopes of getting a nap, I can’t fault the hotel here. There was an elite member in the suite before me, and they were entitled to a late check-out. I’m also grateful they cleared my suite upgrade in advance, and I realize there are a limited number of suites. So I’m sure we could have gotten a standard room earlier, but that would represent a downgrade from our confirmed room.

I’d be peeved, on the other hand, if I hadn’t applied a suite upgrade and they couldn’t even get me a standard room by the stated check-in time. So I didn’t expect anything from the hotel, and don’t think they did anything wrong.

However, it got me thinking — is a hotel check-in time “guaranteed,” and if so, under what circumstances? If you’re just in a standard room and it’s not available at the stated check-in time, are you entitled to something?

Hotel-Room-Massage-Chair-1

I think if the room is ready a short while after the scheduled check-in time that’s fine, but what if it’s only ready 3-4 hours after the stated check-in time? And what if you’re on a one night stay with an early departure the next day?

Like I said, this isn’t my situation, but big picture I do wonder at what point guests are due something when a hotel can’t honor their stated check-in time.

In general I think the extent of “compensation” due would maybe be a free lunch or dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, a nice welcome amenity, a room upgrade, or something of the like. Perhaps if you just have a short one night stay, some sort of a partial refund wouldn’t be an unreasonable request.

But I’m curious if I’m looking at this all wrong, and what you guys think.

Is a hotel’s stated check-in time a guarantee, or simply a guideline? Under what circumstances?  What is a guest due if the stated time can’t be honored?

Comments

  1. Checkin time definitely guaranteed. If your particular suite or room isn’t ready you should be offered another room to check into in the meantime or some complementary cocktails at the bar while waiting.

  2. I’ve had this problem before and all I did was go lay down on a couch in the club lounge and hope to get a few hours until my room is ready

  3. Or you could be upgrade further into the next level, especially if you’re an elite with that chain and they’re unable to fulfill their promise.

    But a lot of this depends on the size of the property. Obviously smaller hotels have far less wiggle room.

  4. I agree with Justin H, above.

    When I was staying in London with some regularity, my hotel (The Stafford) would always give me a temp room if my standard room wasn’t ready, and I always felt that was fine.

  5. I booked a 3 bd room suite at grosvenor house in dubai. Check in time was 3 pm, i showed at four and my toom was not ready. I complagined, got an upgrade to tower two 3 bd suite which is nicer the room i booked, and the hotel also paid for my 700 dollar dinner at buddha bar, its funny because i paid 500 for the room

  6. Agree with Justin H. If the exact room you booked, or an upgraded room, is not available at check-in time, the hotel should comp a round of drinks for everyone in your party. It it’s a delay of, say, two hours or longer, you should get perhaps a little more — a bottle of wine or some other gift to your room, for example. Free dinner seems like too much unless it was a really long delay and mishandled in other respects. At a five-star hotel, I would expect them to let you freshen up in the spa or fitness center locker room, even if you arrived before check-in time, and certainly if your room wasn’t available when it should have been.

  7. I had a stay at The Morrison in Dublin in May of this year. Arrived early and was told the room wasn’t ready yet, which was fine. Left the bags and went to get lunch and wander around the city for a bit. Came back around check-in time and the room still wasn’t ready. The front desk staff was extremely apologetic and offered me bottled water and cookies (cookies typical for a Doubletree brand). Eventually I was upgraded to a Junior Suite about 3 levels above the standard room that was booked. I’m a Hilton Gold, so I would’ve expected a 1 level upgrade, so I’m not sure how the wait affected how much I was upgraded.

    As for check-in times being guaranteed, I can understand the dilemma hotels face in having rooms ready even though guests are sometimes checking out late. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. There’s bigger things in life to worry about.

  8. I can only remember this happening to me once, at a Park Service concession in Death Valley National Park. We showed up a little after 3, told our room wasn’t ready, and asked to come back about 4:30. We did some sightseeing and came back about 5:30. Still no room, but the clerk upgraded us to the next category at no charge. That seems like fair compensation for a minor check-in delay, or maybe a free cocktail or appetizer or something.

  9. I believe it is a guarantee. The problem here is the late checkout for the elite member. Late checkout should NOT be a guarantee if they are at or near capacity. if the hotel screws up they should either upgrade you or discount your room, after all, you are paying for the room that someone else is occupying.

  10. Why couldn’t they give you a standard room to crash in for a couple hours? Either that a room that’s BETTER than your booked room to keep

  11. Notably Marriott backs up some elite benefits with CASH guarantees. Checking in at the appointed hour is not one of them

  12. They should upgrade to the next highest room type. Given you are probably on a short stay they should be able to have an upgraded room available for your stay period. Did they even attempt that?

  13. Stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago this weekend and ran into a similar issue and helped define the line for me. We booked an Astoria Suite (there are many of them) and got there at 1pm when check-in is 3pm. We knew we were early and were expecting to wait.

    When checking in, they said the room wasn’t ready but they would expedite cleaning the room and it should be ready well within the hour. We did some shopping and checked back at 230, to which they said the same exact thing (expediting cleaning and it should be ready shortly), which I reminded them that was what I was told 1.5 hours ago. They said they would call back in 10 min with an update. They called back 30 minutes later and said they couldn’t figure out the housekeeping issue, but upgraded us to a Luxury Suite that was ready now.

    While I don’t mind waiting extra time for a room, as I understand the complexities, to me, it’s all about managing expectations. If they would have said the room wouldn’t be ready until 3, I would be totally fine with that and would have found something to do for 2 hours. By saying it would be ready in under an hour, they now set a new expectation that they did not fulfill, which frustrated us. We stayed by the hotel because we thought the room would be ready shortly. While I appreciated the upgrade, I would have rather they just set realistic expectations that they knew they could meet. In travel, I feel like managing and fulfilling stated expectations makes or breaks the experience.

  14. @Everybody Hates A Tourist said on December 4, 2016 at 1:25 pm: “Late check-outs for elites should only be available if capacity allows. There’s no excuse for delaying someone’s check-in time, and if it happens, you should expect to be well-compensated.”

    You make a lot of sense and that is why Hilton’s late check-out policy has the contingency that there must be availability. However, common sense is not something that’s overflowing among travel bloggers. You can see the mentality throughout this post with the repeated use of “entitled.” Travel bloggers believe that loyalty programs have to “guarantee” a perk or the perk is subpar, even if the purported “guarantee” makes no business sense from a hotel chain’s vantage point. Is it a coincidence that Hilton’s and Marriott’s programs are thriving while programs that purport to offer “guaranteed” perks — HGP and SPG [r.i.p] — are kaput? Definitely not…

    Last week, I was in Chicago, ready to check in at Hilton Chicago, when I changed my mind and decided to instead book a SUITE at the spanking new Conrad Chicago, because it would be cheaper than staying in the King room I’d booked at Hilton Chicago. From the HH app on my mobile phone, booked the Conrad stay in seconds, hopped in a cab, and I was at the Conrad in less than 10 min. I went straight to check in and got my room key before the agent said that, unfortunately, because I’d just booked the stay, the suite was not yet ready as it needed to be serviced. This was after 4pm. I said no problem. I would just sit at the bar and wait. The agent thanked me for my understanding AND THEN he said, “Tell you what? Because we made you wait, your drinks while you wait at the bar are on us!” I only had one drink and the suite was ready.

    Moral of the story: The only reason this post is important is because of travel bloggers’ mentality that loyalty perks must be “guaranteed” or that elites are “entitled.” In the real world, things work as they did for me at the Conrad. No fuss or fanfare, just common sense and understanding of the situation and being accommodating.

    @Lucky found himself at the opposite end of the “guaranteed” 4pm late checkout, so for consistency, he could not bitch, but is this going to make him think twice about pushing the meme that “guaranteed” late checkout is a must-have or a program is subpar? Of course not! He believes that loyalty perks must be “guaranteed entitlements”! 😉

    G’day!

  15. @Dave — But that’s just it! How do you know that they did not give you their BEST estimate, based on their past experience, of when the suite would be ready but on that particular day, that estimate was inaccurate because “…they couldn’t figure out the housekeeping issue”?

    What you fail to understand is that “expectation management” is a two-way street. Although ” they set a new expectation that they did not fulfill”, you too needed to know how to manage your own expectations!

    To still rant after they upgraded you to a “Luxury Suite” is, well, a clear sign of poorly managed expectations.

    G’day!

  16. our family of four showed up for one night at a marriott residence inn in CA at 3:30pm (posted check-in time was 3pm) but the reserved 2-bedroom unit wasn’t ready. we were told we could roam around and they’d call in a few minutes when the room was ready. no news by 4:30pm, so we returned to the hotel to learn that there was no 2-bedroom available so we were getting adjoining (but not connecting) one-bedroom units. that was a hassle because the four of us were sharing one suitcase and had to keep going back and forth for small things. complained to the manager, who refunded 75% of the room charge. turned out the previous guests of the 2-bedroom unit had gone out leaving their stuff in the room and hadn’t returned by check-out time and weren’t answering their phone. although it put a damper on our stay, the 75% refund was decent compensation.

  17. @Stacey — Yet another of many reasons why it is truly boneheaded, from a business vantage point, for a hotel loyalty program to “guarantee” a perk, like 4pm late checkout. More often than not, such “guarantees” are violated for unforeseen reasons that are often out of anyone’s control. The “entitled” class, of course, won’t see it that way. Regardless of the reason, violation of a “guarantee” is still a violation. Therefore, the smart money says that a mature, stable and realistic loyalty program should avoid “guaranteeing” perks, because it’s the surest way to “manage expectations” and avoid creating a clientele that feels “entitled.” The plus side is that a program looks better when it under-promises by not “guaranteeing” too many perks, but over-delivers (something that’s falsely peddled as representing HGP or SPG, when, in fact, HH and MR fit that description much better).

  18. This happened to me once at the Hyatt in Montreal.

    We arrived early at around noon but was (rudely) told that check in was later. I was in a little shock and told that I’d be back later if we could just drop off our stuff. We came back around 4 PM but was told the room wasn’t ready (by a more compassionate agent) and was escorted to the lounge to wait (which looked like a disaster–but that’s a different story).

    We waited for an hour and I went back to check at the FD thinking they forgot. They said it wasn’t ready yet. We ended up waiting till 8 PM. I probably didn’t put up a lot of stink but I was pissed off. I wish they would standardized checkin times and offer standard compensation (to elites) for situations like this.

  19. I disagree with the DCS comment, not only because of its tone and the foul language directed at lucky (accusing lucky of “bitching”), but also the substance.

    First of all, DCS is distracting from the point of this discussion by taking a swipe at loyalty programs that offer “guaranteed” perks. Hotels, like other businesses, make a business judgment about what services they wish to “guarantee,” and which services they will offer “based on availability.” There’s nothing wrong with a hotel deciding to “guarantee” a certain benefit — just as, say, FedEx guarantees that your package will arrive on time. Does that mean 100% of the time it will actually happen? Of course not. Just as FedEx doesn’t deliver every package on time, hotels don’t deliver on guaranteed benefits 100% of the time. But there is an understanding that failure to deliver a guaranteed benefit would call for some form of compensation. While a guest is not entitled to anything if they don’t get, say, an upgrade that was offered based on availability, they should expect the hotel to make some gesture if a “guaranteed” benefit could not be provided for operational reasons.

    Secondly, and more to the point, the issue being discussed in this thread is whether there is a norm that a check-in time should be treated as effectively guaranteed — such that compensation is due when the room is not ready. That had nothing to do with hotel loyalty programs, in that even guests who are not part of any loyalty program are generally given the same check-in time as everyone else. I think there is a norm that checking in at the stated check-in time is “guaranteed” — but only in the sense that customers should receive some sort of compensation/apology if the check-in is not timely. I don’t think customers should have a conniption because of a late check-in.

    More generally, DCS’s attempt to attack “entitlements” is a rhetorical device that obfuscates the real issues. Hotel guests are certainly “entitled” to a number of things and can legitimately complain when those are not provided. We can all agree, for example, that a clean room, a functioning toilet and shower, and a comfortable bed are “entitlements.” If the hotel has not provided any of those things, the hotel has failed to provide basic expected services and it deserves opprobrium. There are some services that are in more of a gray area — the ability to check in exactly at the stated time, for example. The point of this post is to discuss whether the check-in time is an entitlement, or something that guests understand will be provided only subject to availability. I tend to think that’s a commitment by the hotel and should be understood as an entitlement. But perhaps reasonable minds could disagree. But talking about the business decisions of hotels to provide or not provide “guaranteed” perks as part of their loyalty programs is besides the point.

  20. @John — Address my arguments, if not with facts, at least with some logic because there is not only clear logic in my arguments, but they are backed by empirical evidence: This very thread and many of the readers comments are Exhibit A.

    If you can manage some coherence, I will respond to your screed. Otherwise, G’day!

  21. You have a reasonable expectation of compensation if; it states on your confirmation, you were told at the point of reservation, if the hotel or the brand says in their advertising that you will get a room in the category you reserved at whatever time they say check in is, typically 3pm. Otherwise it’s a guideline.

    Now, the reason why you get compensated if it isn’t guaranteed or when it is, is because we get graded on performance. None of us wants to see bad Trip Advisor reviews. None of us wants poor post-stay, comment card reviews, and I can assure you none among us want to have any of you yelling at us if you’re room isn’t ready. Many of you can be pretty rude. We failed you and we know it. It impacts our internal employee reviews, sometimes it costs people their jobs if it happens too often.

    So, the Front Desk agents and supervisors work really hard from very early in the morning with Houskeeping and Engineering with the Expected Arrivals list versus the Due Out list to balance the departures with the arrivals of our guests.

    Things that make you wait for your room: guests that check out late; or an engineering issue which can range from any number of things from plumbing ( you’d be stunned to know what people try and stuff down a hotel toilet); to electrical; to broken or trashed furniture- even in the finest hotels; to not having enough staff to clean and “turn” rooms. Room Attendants ( no one says “maid” or “housekeeper ” anymore) sometimes call out sick. It happens but it slows down the process of turning rooms unless substitutes can com in to work.

    Finally, in any decent hotel the Desk staff would rather quickly and efficiently move you right into the room you reserved because they know you’ve had a long trip, or you have better things to do, or both. So when they can’t do that they will do what they can to mitigate the damage, upgrade, discount, free this or that, cash. Whatever. Even if you don’t have a written guarantee.

  22. I had an issue with this at the worst Crowne Plaza on the planet, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I was at the hotel for a convention, and check in time is 4pm. I arrive at the desk and ask to check in, they dont have a room ready for me. To clarify, this is a standard room (though booked on points) and I”m a platinum member. Since I”m here for a conference, I ask when my room will be ready, they say half an hour, so I say I”ll head to the conference and come back to check in half an hour later. I come back at 4:30, same thing repeats: no room, I have to wait half an hour. I ask them to call me when the room is ready so I don’t have to miss my conference, the employee looks at me and says “well, if you leave the number I could call you on my own time,” as if she’s doing me a favor. She doesn’t call, and I have to miss more of the conference at 5:30 during a very short break between panels to check in.

    In short, I had to keep running back and forth and literally missing the event I was at the hotel to attend in the first place because of their incompetence. And I believe IHG does have a guaranteed 4pm check-in time. I managed to talk to the front desk manager during my stay and she was ‘very sorry,” I pointed out that her sorry doesn’t do much since I missed parts of the conference I was here to attend, and ask for a partial refund of the points I used for the room. It’s points, not cash, so how hard can it be to give me some? IHG throws them around like confetti. Of course, it takes two weeks and contacting IHG corporate multiple times for me to get the points in question, and then the manager calls me to complain about the bad reviews I left even though I “received a refund” (fun fact: I hadn’t received a refund or points when he called me).

    So that’s my long story. Honestly, you’re paying for the room. Hotels have a very strict check-out time: if you don’t check out by a certain time, they can charge you extra. If check in is at 3pm and check-out is at noon, you’re literally paying for X amount of hours. When they don’t give you the room, they’re literally taking away something you paid for. If a guest is required to pay a fee for staying in a room for too long, surely the hotel is required to somehow reimburse the guest for not providing a room that was paid for from X time to X time. Of course that reimbursement isn’t guaranteed, but if they can make guests pay for staying extra time in a room, they should give some kind of reimbursement for taking away from time in the room that you paid for. My two cents.

  23. At the risk of feeding the troll, I will just note that I hope lucky will not do any more posts that feature DCS like the post in January describing DCS as a “Hilton fanboy” and summarizing his views. I’ve lost count of how many commenters DCS has stridently attacked in this thread (it’s particularly absurd that he’s so strident on a topic as banal as hotel check-in times). I can now see it’s a waste of time trying to engage with him on substance. Those of us who want a civil and respectful discussion should avoid engaging with trolls, and for that reason, I hope lucky won’t embolden DCS with more attention going forward.

  24. @Anastasia says: “If check in is at 3pm and check-out is at noon, you’re literally paying for X amount of hours. When they don’t give you the room, they’re literally taking away something you paid for. If a guest is required to pay a fee for staying in a room for too long, surely the hotel is required to somehow reimburse the guest for not providing a room that was paid for from X time to X time. Of course that reimbursement isn’t guaranteed, but if they can make guests pay for staying extra time in a room, they should give some kind of reimbursement for taking away from time in the room that you paid for. My two cents.”

    Bravo! That comment right there put the finger on it. If a hotel says check-in is at 3pm, and they miss it and check a guest in at 4:30pm, then they have infringed on the time the guest PAID to be in the room they booked. On the other hand, if checkout is typically at 12:00pm for everyone but for elites who are “guaranteed” late checkout, and some hotels charge guests who do not check out promptly at noon, then you can see the problem when an arriving guest cannot be checked in because an elite with a “guaranteed” 4pm checkout is still in the room: it robs the guest checking in of their PAID time in the room, while compensating an elite who would have been CHARGED EXTRA if he were a nobody who stayed in the room until 4pm.

    “Guaranteeing” late checkout makes little business sense. It should be offered to elite members only when there is availability (as Hilton does for ALL HH members, including Blues) because doing otherwise can create a mess by disrupting the “fine balance” between guest departures and arrivals, and, disgustingly, it creates a sense of “entitlement” among the elite class!

    On the other hand, setting a check-in time and not honoring it is problematic for many reasons. For instance, it would truly suck if a guest, who just arrived after a 23h TPAC trip and is dead tired, is made to wait to check in because a lazy elite decided to sleep in the room until 4m simply because it is guaranteed”!!! However, the simplest and clearest reason is that if a hotel set check-in is at 3pm, then they would begin infringing on a guest’s PAID TIME in the room every minute they go beyond 3pm without checking the guest in.

    Bottom line: “Guaranteed” late checkout makes little business sense because it gets abused. An elite would stay in the room until, say, 4pm, causing a logistical mess, simply because it is guaranteed. Making late checkout contingent on availability avoids such abuses, and, in fact, most hotels would accommodate their top elites on a case-by-case basis if there is truly a need for late checkout. I have given this example before but I will give it again. United Airlines has only one daily flight leaving Buenos Aires for the US at 9pm. It would make little sense to checkout at noon and head for the airport to wait for that flight. So, three times in as many years, I requested a 6pm checkout at Hilton Buenos Aires and explained that I needed it because my flight was at 9pm, and I was approved each time. And, get this, Hilton HHonors does not even guarantee their elites late checkout! The program’s T&C simply say that late checkout requests would be approved if there is availability, and they do not even set a limit on how late late checkout requests can be for. That’s why it’s my kind of policy. It is based on common sense, but it also happens to make business sense!

    Glad to see some really thoughtful opinions, devoid of of the influence of travel bloggers’ hype and made up claims about “guaranteed” perks that elites are “entitled” to! 😉

    G’day!

  25. @John — You are the troll, and with a moniker like “John”, you are probably a known troll masquerading as someone else.

    Like I said, if you have something thoughtful or substantive to contribute other than being obsessed with DCS, I will respond. Otherwise, get lost.

  26. I think a temp room would be a bit too much it’s only a couple of hours right? Think of the expense and waste just because you have to wait (those sheets need washing after you stayed there and the whole room will get another clean).
    I think if they offer you some kind of perk it should be OK. It all depends on how they bring it to you (and who). A lunch or at least cocktails and some snacks at the bar would be a very nice gesture. Having worked my way up in luxury hotels I can tell you it all depends. You have the nice ones that make everything easy (both client and receptionist), and then you have the grumpy ones that make everything into a big fuss. That said the ones usually getting most of the freebies are the grumpy ones rather tan the nice ones. But it all depends on what kind of person you are and how you want to “waste” your energy.
    It would be OK with a nice cocktail at the bar, just as long as the receptionist shows they are sorry and give me a reasonable explanation, which I think you were given at check-in. 🙂

  27. Checkin time should definitely be guaranteed: the most wiggle room a hotel gets is 1 hour. Otherwise they have to upgrade you, or give you a temp room until the real one is ready along with some compensation.

    My twin room at the HI Singapore wasn’t ready once, they gave me a king room to stay for the night and move me to the twin room the next day. Complimentary lunch was provided the next day as an apology for that, and the fact that they took quite a while to actually move us. The lunch buffet was only supposed to be for 2 people, but no one complained or charged us when I went in with 4 pax. =)

  28. First question is where In europe was this?

    As this would fall under contract law as a breach, each EU state has a policy for this but I’ll state the common method that the uk court would see it.

    Generally the room is booked for 20 hours (e.g. checkin at 3 checkout at 11) you missed the room for 3 hours, so your due 15% of the value back.

    However most hotels will comp with drinks etc to make up for it, which is generally worth more

  29. @DCS I would just like to point out this Dave, the one that had the stay at the Waldorf, is not the one that responded to you. There is a troll on here that will pretend to be prior posters to start arguments. I think what happened to you is exactly how a situation like that should be handled. I wasn’t terribly mad about my situation, but it is frustrating when they clearly were not coordinated with housekeeping (by saying the same thing twice). at a small 5 star hotel, you would expect that type of coordination. If this happened at the Hilton instead of the Waldorf, I would have not cared as much. You pay a premium for this type of service.

    @Lucky is there any way to prevent someone from appearing to be me in the comments? perhaps leverage the email to create a unique identifier?

  30. @John – you are exactly right. For a so-called academic, he is woefully short on real-world expertise. The canard he’s created that “guarantees are bad!” is laughable…you see that no one ever agrees with him. Why? Be cause it’s insanely rational – why would I spend dozens of nights and thousands of dollars on a program, only to get little if anything actually promised?

    Contrary POVs are healthy if they actually have a dash of rational thought to them…his of course do not.

  31. Speaking to yourself again, I see…
    Well, how about making a substantive contribution under which ever moniker, instead of ad hominems and obsession with DCS?…

  32. @Dave (Original Dave) — Thank you for clarifying that there was another “Dave” masquerading as you. Trolls have been engaging in “identity theft” with increasing frequency. 😉

  33. Usually I stay with Starwood and now Marriott. As a platinum member, I don’t know if anything is “guaranteed” to me with check in times, I never really checked. But anytime my room hasn’t been ready by 3 p.m., I try to be as polite as possible and not make a big deal about it. Every time but once, I have been upgraded or received some form of compensation (breakfast, dinner, drinks, etc). I don’t throw around what my guaranteed benefits are (mainly because I don’t really know what is guaranteed vs expected) but it seems just being kind to the front desk and being understanding has worked pretty well for me. Then again, maybe it’s the status, IDK.

  34. For the record, I’m not either “Dave”, which Lucky can happily confirm if he desires.

    DCS, find me a SINGLE other poster who agrees with your mantra of “guarantees are a bad thing” and then we’ll talk. Otherwise you’re on your own delusional island.

    (and your Buenos Aires late checkout “example” continually shows how ill-informed you are…just because you are guaranteed 4pm w/Starwood and Marriott does NOT mean hotels will never go above and beyond that…just like with upgrades and anything else)

  35. Who cares if anyone agrees with me?! Everyone is wrong. Period. Are you really so stupid not to realize that, considering who frequents this site and how kool-aid they have drunk, I am here in a virtual “lion’s den” and my views are pure heresy that should get me burned at the stake? Also, that most people do not agree with me so, therefore, I must be wrong — also known as “argumentum ad populum” — is a well-known and discredited fallacy.
    REDUCTIO AD ABSORDUM: more than 90% of the German people supported Hitler in his quest to dominate Europe and then the world, so, therefore, Hitler was right.

    G’day!

  36. @UA-NYC sez: “DCS, find me a SINGLE other poster who agrees with your mantra of “guarantees are a bad thing” and then we’ll talk.”

    A SINGLE other poster? I can find several but I will just give the one that got me commenting here in the first place.

    @Everybody Hates A Tourist said on December 4, 2016 at 1:25 pm: “Late check-outs for elites should only be available if capacity allows. There’s no excuse for delaying someone’s check-in time, and if it happens, you should expect to be well-compensated.”

    BTW, I did find that poster, and it means that you need to go away. I do not wish to “talk” with you. Too unhinged [read: stupid]…John?

    Goodbye!

  37. What I don’t really like at all is when hotels think failures in room inventory management are the guest’s fault.

    Hotels routinely ask for the times you want to check in and check out, yet rarely pay any attention to this (or use it to manage inventory), and hold out standard check in and check out times (they seem quite capable of enforcing standard check out times, if you don’t have an loyalty extended check out guarantee, yet seem to think standard check in time is merely guidance). They manage room inventory ad hoc and slap dash and expect the paying customer to lump it, accept a lower grade room, or other breach of contract with gratitude.

    My view is you should only be guaranteed loyalty extended check out if you applied for that at booking (via your nominated check out time), hotels have to guarantee your room is available by your nomination check in time, or standard check-in time—whichever is later—and if they don’t they have to supply a higher grade room/suite, or credit you back half your night rate for any delay beyond 15 minutes to 4 hours, and credit you back the full rate, if they’ve delayed access beyond four hours.

    In what other consumer goods situation would It be deemed acceptable to offer to supply a good or service at a certain time in exchange for monies, only to take the monies but delay the supply.

  38. To clarify, I have only posted on here as “John,” which is my name. I did not post anything as “Dave,” “UA-NYC,” or any other pseudonym or handle. I think we should set aside the name calling and personal attacks; this topic really does not merit the level of vitriol that some people have brought to it.

    On substance: I have not seen any good response to the argument I made in my first post in this thread, specifically that hotels make a business judgment about what services to “guarantee” and what to offer “based on availability,” just like other businesses do. (I gave the example of FedEx service guarantees earlier. But one can find many examples of businesses that offer “satisfaction” guarantees”; a “warranty” is also a kind of “guarantee.”) Businesses choose to offer “guarantees” because they want to signal to their customers that the customers can expect to receive a certain level of service. That’s make customers willing to pay more. If I’m choosing between sending a package Priority Mail via the U.S. post office or FedEx 2-day service, and only the latter offers a guaranteed delivery time, I’m willing to pay more for that because I value the relative certainty that my package will be delivered within the stated number of days. At least in New York City, where I live, the U.S. post office is completely unpredictable and I often receive packages long after they were sent. I’m obviously willing to pay a premium for the guarantee.

    The same principle applies to hotels. Starwood and others that choose to offer “guaranteed” benefits do so because that drives value for their customers — and makes their loyal customers more willing to stay at the same hotel chain again and again, even if they have to pay a premium to do so. It’s true that there will be situations when the hotel can’t actually deliver on every “guarantee” it’s made (just as FedEx sometimes delivers packages late). But the hotel presumably has made a business decision that the cost of compensating customers for those incidents (and the minor ill-will that may be generated in those cases) is more than outweighed by the value provided from offering a guaranteed service that will make customers more willing to stay at a particular chain.

    I don’t see anything wrong with that business judgment. It’s a bit presumptuous to suggest that the guarantee “makes no business sense.” These hotels have sophisticated management teams with lots of information about what customers value, and what makes customers willing to be loyal to their hotel chain. I suspect the hotels that choose to offer guarantees have studied this issue quite a bit, with data on actual check-in and check-out times, before making the decision to offer an guarantee.

    I don’t disagree with the main thrust of the comment DCS quoted from “Everybody Hates A Tourist,” specifically the idea that “you should expect to be well-compensated” if your room isn’t ready at the stated check-in time. The hotel has independent commitments to loyalty program members who are checking out on a given day, and to the incoming customers who are checking in. It’s up to the hotel to determine what commitments it can realistically make. If the hotel can’t ensure that rooms are ready for incoming guests at 3 p.m., the hotel is free to set a 4 p.m. (or later) check-in time (or, frankly, affiliate with Hilton if it feels that the Hilton loyalty program is more in line with the level of service that specific hotel is able to provide to loyalty program members). Most Starwood hotels stick with the 3 p.m. standard, presumably because they know from long experience, backed by actual data, that most of the time enough outgoing guests will check out well before 4 p.m. (and enough incoming guests will arrive well after 4 p.m.), such that everyone can be accommodated. On rare occasions it doesn’t quite work and they need to compensate someone for a late check-in. What’s the big deal with that?

    A more interesting question would be, if forced to choose between a “guaranteed” 4 p.m. late check-out time, or a “guaranteed” 3 p.m. check-in time, which would you prefer? Personally I think I would rather have guaranteed check-out at 4 p.m., and check-in at 3 p.m. subject to availability. On the check-in side, it’s rare that I would arrive right at 3 p.m. Either I’m way early (having arrived off a red eye flight, for example), in which case early check-in is subject to availability anyway, or I’m coming in the evening when it’s not an issue. On the other hand, I do get decent value out of a late check-out because it’s nice to know I can book a late flight on the day of departure and know that I’ll have access to the room.

  39. I can count on one hand the number of times that a hotel room has not been available at the stated check-in time. On the other hand, I would estimate that I have been allowed to check in BEFORE the check in time probably a hundred times or more.

    I would expect a hotel chain to offer guaranteed late check-out for elites if they believe that they can do this at every property based on the number of elites and the number of people who typically request late check-out. Otherwise either vary it by property where they can’t do this, or just do it based on availability.

  40. @John — Of the programs that offered so-called “guaranteed” late checkout and were touted for it, one, SPG, is moribund, and the other, HGP, is soon to be disfigured beyond recognition. “Guaranteed” late checkout is boneheaded from the point of view of the business side of things. It is a point that this whole thread affirms. In addition, the only reason a loyalty program would want to “guarantee” a perk, when it does not have to, is simply to limit its benefit. You want a “guaranteed” 4 pm late checkout? No problem, you got it. But then when you go and request a 6pm checkout, you’re more likely than not to be denied because, remember, your late checkout is “guaranteed” only to 4pm.

    Also, we heard a lot about how HGP Diamond suite upgrades are the “best in the business” because they are “confirmed” or “guaranteed”. In reality, that was just a ploy for HGP to limit or restrict how many suite upgrades their Diamond members got? B.S., you say? Then explain how this exact same “guarantee” isn’t a limitation of the perk. The “Explorist” level under the World of Hyatt will be “guaranteed” Club Upgrade Awards, according to this rule:

    Explorist Club Upgrade Awards:
    1. Receiving Explorist Club Upgrade Awards. Upon receiving or re-qualifying for Explorist status, Explorists will receive four (4) complimentary Room Upgrade Awards for accommodations with Club lounge access (“Explorist Club Upgrade Award”).

    See? They are guaranteed 4 “confirmed” Club Upgrade Awards simply to limit the perk!!! HH and MR Golds on the other hand do not have such a restriction (although HH Golds must first be upgraded to the Club floor to get Club access, but there is no restriction on how many times they can be upgraded to the Club floor).

    Swap 4 Club Upgrade Awards for 4 Suite Upgrade Awards you get the point.

    Q.E.D

  41. Regarding DCS’s comment, I disagree with the suggestion that SPG’s program “is moribund,” at least in this context. Incident to the merger, Marriott adopted 4 p.m. guaranteed late check-out as a benefit of its program. So that benefit is slated to remain in place at the world’s largest hotel chain indefinitely. Arguably, Marriott’s move suggests that the industry as a whole might be moving towards guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out for loyalty program members at a certain level. As DCS noted earlier, Marriott’s program is “thriving.”

    Notably, smaller programs that provide “elite-like” benefits, such as American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, also guarantee 4 p.m. check-out. So while Marriott/SPG and Hyatt are the most prominent examples, many smaller/independent hotels offer similar guaranteed benefits.

  42. @John must have missed the part in @DCS’s comment where a “guaranteed” perk is a diminished perk and the evidence for it. So, MR was only too happy to adopt the “guarantee” as a bloodless way to appease SPG loyalists. With Marriott Rewards “as is” consistently ranking tops in most reputable customer satisfaction surveys and SPG ranking dead last or only better than Red Roof Inn Redicard, it is highly unlikely that Marriott plans to turn their program into an SPG clone and become another loser. SPG is moribund and will be dead and buried as soon as it is integrated into the “new” MR system.

  43. DCS is insanely stupid for his believe (shared by absolutely no one else) that a “guarantee” magically sets a ceiling on benefits…he is too dogmatic and foolish to recognize that properties tend to set it as a floor instead.

    What’s his evidence that programs w/guarantees do NOT go above and beyond? Nothing at all.

    (not obsessed, just calling out a chump as I see fit)

  44. Dealing with an unhinged moron is not something I would wish on anybody!

    Listen, DCS is so “insanely stupid” he just returned from the largest medical conference in the world, the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), in Chicago with an honorific certificate that reads: “In recognition of his major accomplishments in imaging science, DCS has been elected to the Council of Distinguished Investigators of the Academy of Radiology Research — November 28, 2016.”

    If you have not yet realized it (everyone else has, to use your “argumentum ad populum”), you brain does not generate sufficiently coherent cognitive impulses for you to try to do “battle” with me. It is a mismatch so lopsided I feel guilty to keep beating on you like a drum and you keep coming back for more. The brain damage was already done, but the repeated beatings you’re getting here cannot help.

    Please go away. You and I are not in the same league. Really.

    Goodbye.

  45. Lol yeah DCS and i am the annual winner of Nobel Prize. If the hotel promises something as its program and does not mention t & c that could restrict the offer, they have no excuse if they failed to deliver the promises to ANYONE at no exception, from so-called “smart” radiology scientist like you or so-called “blogger bitches”

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