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?