Hotels: Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck


Hotel rooms aren’t cheap.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that many properties are now moving back check-in times, so by the time you are forced to check-out you’ve barely been in the place for 18 hours.

How do you justify forking over $200 for a room you aren’t given the opportunity to be in for 24 hours?  Or worse, consider having to park yourself in the hotel’s lobby after a long flight simply because you arrived prior to the set check-in time.

What a waste of time; precious time that you can’t put a price tag on.

To avoid taking this hit see if your check-in time can be moved up.  In most cases someone at the front desk should be able to accommodate your request.  However, if the hotel was booked solid the night before, you may have to wait for a clean room.  Another factor to consider is how many other guests are also looking to check-in early.  If there is a line of early arrivals you may have to wait until the designated check-in time in order to get a clean room.

To increase the chance of securing an early check-in time and getting the most bang for your buck, do some research.  For starters, don’t book a room at a property that has a strict rule forbidding early check-ins.  Next, call the front desk of the hotel a day in advance of your arrival and ask if the property is completely booked the night before you get into town.  If it is, then plan accordingly.  You might grab a bite to eat or do some sightseeing to kill time.

Another option is to call around to nearby properties and see if any of them could accommodate your need for an early check-in.  If you do any switching at the last minute you may be able to score a better deal.  For example, select Starwood Hotel locations allow premium members of its rewards program to book a room for a full 24 hours.  The loyalty program also allows frequent guests to choose their check-in and check-out time.  Meaning, if you check-in at 9:00 p.m. the room is yours until 9:00 the next night.

Finally, even if you can’t get an early check-in, the hotel should store your baggage and may allow you to use their amenities including the pool or gym.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.