Getting an Early Start: Tips for Finding Hotels with Early Check-In

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Have you ever arrived at a hotel exhausted after a long journey, only to be told your room won’t be ready for hours? Early hotel check-in can be a real challenge for travelers. This article will provide tips on how to find and book hotels that allow early morning check-in.

Getting an Early Start: Tips for Finding Hotels with Early Check-In

What is Early Check-In?

Early check-in refers to arriving at a hotel and being able to access your room before the standard check-in time. Standard check-in times are usually between 3-4 pm. Early check-in is typically considered any time before noon.

Why Do Hotels Have Check-In Times?

Hotels have standardized check-in times to allow enough time for housekeeping staff to clean rooms after previous guests depart. They need to wash bedding, sanitize bathrooms, vacuum, dust, and take out trash. This process takes several hours, especially for busy hotels.

Setting strict check-in times helps keep rooms clean and ready for each incoming guest. It also allows staff time for breaks and changing shifts before the next rush of arrivals.

Challenges of Early Check-In

While early hotel access sounds great for eager travelers, it does create challenges for hotels. Making rooms available sooner than expected means hurried cleaning timelines for staff. It can also lead to shorter stays in rooms as hotels try to resell them quickly.

Hotels want to accommodate early arrivals when possible. But their first priority is making sure rooms meet cleanliness standards for the next occupants.

Tips for Booking an Early Check-In Hotel

Here are some tips for increasing your chances of an early hotel check-in:

1.Book Directly with the Hotel

Booking directly with the hotel, instead of third-party sites like Expedia, gives you a better shot at special requests. The hotel controls its own inventory availability. Speaking to staff directly allows you to ask about early check-in policies.

2.Ask at Time of Booking

Don’t wait until you arrive at the hotel to request early access. When booking your room, ask what time early check-in is available and when the earliest rooms tend to open up. Manage expectations upfront so you know what time to realistically show up.

3.Inquire About Upgrades

Ask the hotel if any upgraded room types, like suites or executive floors, have earlier check-in times. These premium rooms warrant higher rates, so they are prioritized for faster turnaround cleaning to sell again quickly.

4.Book Connecting Rooms

Some hotels allow adjacent rooms to be booked together while only cleaning one upon initial check-in. This allows your party to access one room early while the other gets cleaned for later occupancy.

5.Check Loyalty Program Perks

If you belong to the hotel’s frequent guest program, early check-in and late checkout might be some of the perks. Membership levels like gold or platinum may guarantee early access or at least priority requests.

6.Consider Hotel Size & Occupancy

Smaller hotels and bed & breakfast inns have fewer rooms to clean so may be more flexible for early arrivals. Hotels in off-peak tourist seasons also tend to have better early check-in availability as fewer rooms are occupied the night before.

7.Request a Wake-Up Call

If guaranteed early check-in isn’t possible, ask the front desk to give you a ring when your room is ready for occupancy. That way you can relax elsewhere instead of anxiously waiting in the lobby.

Keys to Securing Early Access

Beyond booking the right hotel, a few other tips will boost your chances of an early check-in:

  • Arrive early in the morning, even before published early check-in times, to catch any just-cleaned rooms.
  • Politely request early check-in upon arrival, with a positive attitude.
  • Allow flexibility in room location and be willing to change if needed.
  • Travel light without checked bags to skip baggage delays.

Where Early Check-In Is Easiest

Certain hotel types and locations tend to have the most success accommodating eager early birds:

  • Business hotels near airports and convention centers
  • Suite and extended stay hotels with kitchens
  • Beach and tourist area hotels in off-seasons
  • Hotels in small towns and remote areas
  • International hotels in time zone differences

Apps and Sites for Early Check-In Hotels

Technology makes it easier than ever to search out and book early check-in friendly hotels.

HotelTonight allows sorting by available check-in times, including right now. Filters show rooms ready for immediate occupancy. books hotel rooms for daytime blocks only, focusing on early check-in and late check-out. Rates are discounted since stays are shorter.

Rest Hotels highlights airport hotels with 24 hour front desk and flexible policies. Many allow check-in starting at 6 am.

What To Do If Early Check-In Isn’t Available

Despite your best efforts, sometimes early check-in just doesn’t work out. If your room isn’t ready upon arrival, here are some options to bide your time:

  • Store luggage with bell service while you grab a bite, take a walk, or hit up local attractions.
  • Ask about nearby amenities like pool access, hotel gyms, or day-use showers.
  • Relax in the hotel lobby with free wi-fi, magazines, and coffee or snacks.
  • Request phone or email updates from the front desk on room status.
  • Shift focus to plan the rest of your day and focus on the excitement ahead!

With advance planning and flexibility, early hotel check-in is possible. Following these guidelines will help you achieve hotel access as close to your arrival time as possible. Sweet early check-in dreams!

Jennifer Tuffen
Jennifer Tuffen

I'm Jennifer Tuffen, a travel enthusiast and storyteller, six years and 10+ countries deep into a journey of discovery and cultural immersion.