Fact: Guests Will Buy an Early Check In and Late Check Out
Jos Schaap | ROOMDEX
Early check in and late check out remain two of the most under optimized upsell areas of hotel management. By not interacting with guest between the time of booking and check-in, hotels are making a costly mistake and leaving potential dollars on the table.
It’s Time for Flexible Hotel Guest Check in
It’s a well-known fact that guests hate standard check-in times. Why? Because they are often not practical. The guests who stay at your hotel come from all over the world, which means that travel plans and logistics are going to vary from one guest to the next. It is reported that more than 20% of flights arrive before 9am in major airports. And depending where you are, many departures on long haul flights happen late at night. The traditional 3 p.m. check-in and noon check-out just don’t fit that schedule.
What the modern guest cherishes is efficiency, and check-in and out times should reflect this. One of the trends that the industry has seen is that guests want convenience and control as part of their stay. Guests are used to controlling their world from the comfort of their smartphones. Just look at the airline industry. Travelers have the flexibility to add services that they find essential, such as priority check-in and seat preference. Now, guests are coming to expect the same flexibility in their hotel stay. With set check-in and departure times hotels take that control away.
Offering guests the option of early check in and late check provides the flexibility they want. And that means extra hotel revenue. Seems like an obvious choice. So why have hotels been reluctant to standardize this offering?
Operational challenges associated with Early Check In and Late Check Out
Today’s operations are much more complex than they were 20 or even just 10 years ago. So, when hoteliers hear about offering early check-in and late check-out as self-service products, all they think of are the logistical issues. From a lack of technology to pricing questions to simple communication, synchronizing housekeeping, room allocation – a request for an early check in can be a daunting task. One of the biggest issues many hoteliers face is that most technology solutions do not check inventory. So even if a guest purchases early check-in, if availability is not verified, the sale may not be fulfilled, leading to a poor customer experience.
In some cases, hotels leave it to a front of house member to review each request on its own. This creates an additional labor requirement on an over-burdened staff. Then there is the issue of what to charge. Many hotels feel that, because it doesn’t have a cost, then it should be offered for free, so it burnishes the service halo of the hotel. Hoteliers don’t want to be seen as nickel and diming their guests on the phone or in-person. If they do assign a price, it is typically arbitrary and static. This can lead to a either a lack of conversion (if the price is too high), or a money left on the table (of the price is too low). Considering that room reservation pricing is based on demand, it would seem only logical that extension of that reservation should be based on demand as well.
Make Money from Empty Hotel Rooms
Here at ROOMDEX we’ve built a tool that automates this whole process. We automatically check if the room is available, message the guest, and quote the optimal price. With ROOMDEX early check in and late check out are offered without any operational concerns, and the hotel can always fulfil on their promise. Not only does 100% of the revenue drop to your bottom line but you provide the flexibility that your guests are looking for. And the best part is you don’t need to do anything – everything is automated.
And don’t just take our word for it – our clients love it and have seen some great results. For one particular hotel, over a 30-day period with a low rate of $125, 68% of upsells were attributed to early check in and late check out purchases. With upsells tailored to each customer, the average value of their early arrival upsell was $35 and their late check-out was $37. At weekends they saw this rate jump to a whopping $100. In total they added an extra 28% to the nightly rate / room revenue. That is revenue they would have otherwise missed out on had they decided not to offer early arrival and late departure upsell.
As Kevin Le, Area Director of Revenue Management at Modus Hotels states, “What I didn’t anticipate was the early arrivals and late departures doing so well. I think other hotels will be surprised with the results themselves.”
Early check in and late check out. Contrary to the prevailing thinking, guests are only too happy to pay for early check-in and late check-out. Hoteliers may fear operational issues, but when done right, it is a great way to boost hotel revenue.