How lenient are hotels when it comes to late check-out?

People sleeping in at a hotel due to a late check-out

So you’ve had a big night on the town and you want a late check-out. Well, you actually expect a late check-out. I mean, why wouldn’t they give one to you? Surely an hour or two won’t make a difference……..or will it. Understanding how to make a late check-out request and how late check-outs impact a hotel operation is the key to understanding leniency.


There are all sorts of requests that hotels receive such as quiet rooms, high floors, non-smoking and the popular choice of late check-out.

If you are a member of a hotel loyalty program, frequent guest, etc this may also assist in your request being considered and approved. Some hotels have a late check-out included as part of their loyalty programs, so this is certainly one way to ensure you receive one.

Be polite when making a request for a late check-out, or any request. Don’t forget you are asking for additional time in a hotel room that you have not paid for. If you have made a booking and looking for a late check-out, phone the hotel directly and speak to them. This is far more personable than submitting requests. Remember there is no tone in an email. Pending how the request is written, it might not come across well.

Ask politely if it is possible for a late check-out and specify the time you would like to check out. If they advise there might be a possibility, ask them what charges are involved. Don’t assume this priviledge will be extended at no cost. In the event your request can’t be approved, don’t be disgruntled, nor argue. There is a much bigger picture to your request and this is about to be explained.

The reality

Hotels have standard operating procedures. Check-in generally ranges from 1 pm-3 pm and check-out is anywhere between 9 am-11 am. Between check-out time and check-in time is where the valued and hard-working housekeeping department comes into full swing, turning rooms around in time for the next arrivals.

We pose this question to you. What do you think happens when there is a flurry of late check-out requests or people deciding they are not going to depart on time? How do you think this impacts the hotel operation and logistics of the housekeeping department?

Some hotels have their own housekeeping staff, some hotels contract hotel cleaning companies. Regardless of the situation, the room attendants have a schedule and an allocated time to turn each room around. Having late check-outs places added pressure on the operation to turn rooms around for a guaranteed check-in time. Hotels roster housekeeping according to the occupancy and also check-out times. In the instance where there are late check-outs, this means staff needs to be rostered on later in the day to accommodate these requests. This can also mean having to pay penalty rates for overtime. This is just another example of how last-minute requests or people choosing not to check out on time impacts a hotel operation.

Confirm or decline

Hotels will confirm or decline late check-out requests upon check-in. The reason for this is that they will have a more realistic view of the occupancy for the following day. If the hotel is fully booked then chances are your request will be declined as they will be running a tight ship to have their inventory of rooms turned around in time. If the hotel has availability in the room type you have booked the following evening, there is a promising chance of your request being approved.

Whether the request is extended free of charge is at the discretion of the hotel management. Generally, hotels will charge by the hour up until a set time. After this time a full night’s charge will be incurred. The reason for this is it doesn’t provide sufficient time for the hotel to resell the room, nor does it provide time for housekeeping to clean.

The next time you request a late check-out consider this information.

  • Check if there is a loyalty program that will guarantee this privilege.
  • Phone and speak to the hotel to make your request, this is more personable.
  • Be polite.
  • Remember it is a request only. This doesn’t mean it is guaranteed.
  • If you are approved for a late check-out, expect to pay an additional fee. Don’t assume it will be free.
  • If your request is declined, don’t be argumentative. Remember why the hotel may need to decline your request.

Want to learn more about hotels? do you know why hotels have pre-authorisation? visit our blog page for more information.