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Can You Check Into A Hotel Late? Let’s See!

While we’d like to think that everything will go as scheduled when traveling, unfortunately, many obstacles can delay you.

You can face delays in your means of travel or come across last-minute changes. But what does that mean for your hotel?

Hotels typically have specific check-in times. This ensures that the hotels are not losing money if someone decides not to call and cancel their reservation.

Can You Check Into a Hotel Late?

You can indeed check into a hotel late, but this requires communication on your end. Hotels have cut off times as to how late you can check-in before they release a reservation in the hope that that room will not be empty for the night. If you face a delay, contacting the hotel’s front desk is essential. This allows the reservations staff to make a note. This way you won’t be arriving to find that you don’t any longer have a room for the night.


Is Checking Into a Hotel Possible at All Times of Day?

The majority of hotels have someone at the reception desk 34 hours a day, but that does not mean that you can check-in anytime without communicating with the reservation staff first.

Check-in times are usually in the afternoon. They have it set up like this so that housekeeping housekeepers have time to clean the rooms from the guest who checked out the night before.

In the majority of hotels, there is a standard cut-off time for checking in. This is usually around 3 or 4 p.m.

The reason for this is that if they do not hear from a guest and that guest has not checked in by then, it is assumed that that guest will not be arriving.

The hotel can then open up the room for someone else to book. Hotels are a business. Empty rooms mean less cash flow, so they want to act as quickly as possible.

However, this isn’t a cause for worry. You can check into a hotel late, you just need to call before your check-in time and inform them that you will be arriving late.

The reservation staff will typically ask what the window of your arrival time will be and make note of it.


What is the Typical No-Call No-Show Policy for Hotels?

Policies in regards to a traveler not calling ahead to inform the staff of a late check-in time can have different consequences depending on the size of the hotel.

Smaller hotels may not have someone who is at the desk 24/7. This means that you will arrive, and though they may or may not have canceled your reservation, no one will be at the reception desk to check you in.

In larger hotels, the most common policy in regards to a late check-in time is that if you do not contact them it is considered a ‘no-call, no-show’.

They, in turn, will assume that you will not be staying at the hotel and will cancel your reservation so that someone else can take advantage of it.

While it may seem drastic, if you do not contact the hotel, they have no way of knowing that you simply want to check in late.

This is information that they need to know so that they can ensure that someone is at the reception desk and so that your reservation is not completely canceled.

If you arrive to find that your reservation is canceled, but that they still have other rooms available for the night, one of two things can happen.

They can keep the no-show charge for the reservation that you canceled and you’ll have to re-book for all nights involved, including paying again for missing that day’s check-in time.

Though that is not always the case, some hotels will take into consideration the reason behind your no-call no-show and rebook you without charging you twice for the first night.


How Technology is Making Checking in Easier

Like in most industries, hotels are using technology in new ways. Hotels like Hilton are now offering digital check-in as a way to make it easier for travelers.

You no longer have to check in at the reception desk and are able to check-in in advance.

The app lets you select your room and informs you when it will be ready.

The benefit of this is that even if you have a late arrival due to travel times or unexpected delays, your room is already waiting for you.

In fact, you don’t even need to stop at the reception desk at all as your phone works as your room key.


Frequently Asked Questions About Whether You Can Check Into a Hotel Late


Is there a benefit to checking in late?

Some smaller hotels may offer a discount if you check in after midnight. This can be rare and typically seen in smaller hotels with less demand. The rule of thumb is that it never hurts to ask.


If I do not contact the hotel and they cancel my reservation, do I get a refund?

You will not get a refund. However, if you have booked for multiple nights you will not be charged the full amount. As a form of protection against loss of profits, the majority of hotels will still bill you for a one-night stay if you do not call and inform them that you will be arriving late.


Are there penalty fees for checking in late?

There is no penalty fee for checking in late as long as you contact the hotel in advance to inform them of your arrival time.



You can indeed check into a hotel late, but don’t just do it on a whim and assume that since you have a reservation it will still be there when you arrive.

Take the initiative to contact the hotel directly and inform them of your anticipated arrival time.

If it is a big hotel chain, find their local number rather than customer service as there could be a chance that your request is not passed along to the hotel.