Would You Pay Extra for a Half Day at a Hotel Property?

“H otels have been very accommodating in the past, especially when they aren’t at full capacity, and I’ve never been asked to pay extra”, Terence Chan wrote in this article posted at Hungry for Points. “But at least in once case, according to this thread on Flyertalk, the hotel was standing firm with a policy stating that check-ins between 6AM and 2PM would incur an additional charge of half the room rate. Reading through the responses, others note this is becoming a more common occurrence.”

I believe we need to look at this from another point of view: would you pay extra for a half day at a hotel property — especially if it was guaranteed?

Some years ago, an airplane on which I was a passenger landed on time at 2:20 in the morning, concluding the flight. I checked through customs and rented a car in very little time.

I then drove to the Hilton Park Nicosia hotel property where I had a reservation, knowing that they have free Internet access in their hotel lobby. It was still dark outside when I arrived at the property, as it was not time for the sun to rise just yet. Prepared with an alternate plan, I approached the agent at the front desk and inquired about accessing the Internet, as I would check into the hotel later that day. He had absolutely no problem with that request.

After accessing the Internet and getting some work completed, I then thanked him and was about to leave, intending on returning later in the day to check in. He asked how I arrived at the hotel. I said that I rented a car. He thought for a moment and then said, “Come on. I will check you in now.” I initially thought I misheard him asked if he was sure. He insisted.

The agent at the front desk did not know this, but due to traveling on overnight flights on two consecutive nights, I had virtually no sleep for those two nights; and the sight of a real bed — especially sooner than I thought I would see one — was very welcome indeed. I was even given access to their complimentary breakfast buffet for an extra day without asking — and at no extra charge.

The staff at this hotel went well beyond the parameters expected for ensuring that I had a successful stay. They were under no obligation to go out of their way to do me any favors. They were professional, polite, courteous and thankful to me at all times throughout my stay, and they always performed their service with smiles on their faces. To this day, I appreciate the experience — enough to fully recommend staying at this hotel property if you ever find yourself in Nicosia in Cyprus.

Of course, I did not expect — nor would I expect — the staff of the hotel property to have accommodated me as they did. Perhaps they had an empty room to spare anyway, yes — but they certainly could have charged me an additional 50 percent of the room rate for half a day when I was not supposed to be there. Would I have paid it? Most likely not, as I had at least one alternate plan…

…but an empty room does not just simply get filled, as there are costs to the hotel property for filling that room with a guest. What if the room was not already prepared by members of the housekeeping staff? Giving the guest access to a complimentary breakfast buffet costs money as well.

As I stated in this article pertaining to the new stricter cancellation policies being adopted globally by at least three lodging companies, I believe that this policy of charging an additional half day if the guest arrives hours before the earliest time of checking in is justified, fair, and not unreasonable to the consumer — especially if employees of the lodging company are permitted to use their judgement and empowered to override this policy on a case-by-case basis as necessary. I do not blame management at hotel properties for attempting to charge an additional half day if the guest arrives hours before the earliest time of checking in; and I do not believe that it is unfair monetization on the part of the hotel property — especially if that policy is clearly stated before the customer books a reservation there…

…and as with the stricter cancellation policies, I do not believe that this policy is comparable to the ancillary fees being charged by airlines to nickel-and-dime passengers for using their products and services — but charging a guest an additional half day for checking in two minutes before the official earliest permitted time to check in could appear to be petty at best.

It may be one thing to be charged extra for a room at a hotel if you did not expect it after arriving early and do not necessarily need it; but what if the scenario dictated that you absolutely needed the check in to your room hours earlier than is technically permitted — such as knowing you will be arriving very early at the hotel property after the conclusion of a long international flight where you know you will not have slept well for at least 24 hours? Would you pay extra for the privilege of being able to check in to your hotel room on your terms when you would like to do so; and would you gladly pay in advance?

10 thoughts on “Would You Pay Extra for a Half Day at a Hotel Property?”

  1. PainCorp says:

    When I went to Sydney last year the Hilton I stayed at wanted a full nights stay for me to access the room any earlier than 3pm. I said no, breakfast and a shower in the gym was fine. $300 for 8 hours extra of a hotel stay? No thanks.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That rate sounds like a real pain, PainCorp.

      Sorry…I simply could not resist…

  2. Red says:

    There are times when my next flight is either late in the day or even early evening and I’ve finished work in the morning. I would gladly pay a day room rate not to have to hang out at the airport or in my car. Aimlessly wandering around town isn’t much of an option. I also understand that late check out can cost the hotel overtime if they need the run cleaned that day. Not charging me gains my loyalty, but charging me for their extra expense (within reason) is also fair.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I have always believed that there needs to be a fair compromise where both parties can benefit, Red. I agree with you.

  3. RH says:

    A city I visit regularly requires an overnight flight and a early morning arrival. I routinely book my reservation to begin the day before I arrive just so I can check into my room around 7am. I would love to pay for a half day instead of a full day.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Paying for a full day to use the hotel room for a half day seems like paying an airline for a round trip flight when you only want to go one way, RH.

  4. Philippe says:

    I went on a tour in Vietnam and was arriving early in the morning. Before going, the tour operator offered me a flat rate $50 to check-in as soon as we arrived, and so we did. Love this service. I have also done the same to check-out at 6pm for an evening flight in the Caribbean to be able to shower and get ready after the beach.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Very few people would turn down good service at a fair price, Philippe.

      You are welcome to name the tour operators, if you like…

  5. AndyTLe says:

    With airlines such as JetBlue & Spirit utilizing more of their aircraft overnight for shorter redeye flights, we’re going to see increases in this question.

    Recently was in Merida, Mexico and arrived at the hotel at 8 AM. Was expecting to drop bags and explore the city. Instead, front desk checked us in early and providing access to the lounge for breakfast.

    As posted above, this was unexpected but we were glad it was possible. I have seen “early check-in” option with Hilton with their eUpgrades. For certain trips or events (early weddings), I wouldn’t mind paying extra.

    Now the flip side of it, what should the compensation be for hotels that don’t have rooms ready at the designated check-in time?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      There is usually a consequence for every action, AndyTLe.

      Imagine a guest with super-exalted elite level status showing up at the front desk at the designated time to check in — only to be told that no rooms will be available for a few hours.

      That would be the time to go to the executive lounge, pop some popcorn or grab some kind of snack and a drink; then head on back and watch the show begin and unfold…

      …in the meantime, I am glad to know that you were able to check into that hotel property in Mexico early with no problem at no extra cost to you — and with executive lounge access, too!

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