First impressions can make or break a hotel experience, and this is why it’s so important to establish hotel check-in timing in order to shape guest expectations. Knowing how long each process will take in an ideal world allows you to optimize your service and ensure that your front desk works like a well-oiled machine. These processes should be carefully laid out so that you can offer a flawless check-in experience.

Nowadays, people are more impatient and for this reason the check-in process should be as smooth as possible. Generally, guests expect to check in from 2-4pm, so it’s important to be clear about your check-in and check-out time to avoid issues, and give your housekeeping ample time to clean rooms. In this article we will look at average hotel check-in timing, things to keep in mind, the processes and new trends in hotel check in. 

Table of contents

What is the average hotel check-in timing?

As mentioned above, the average hotel check-in timing is between 2pm and 4pm. However, with international flights, this timing can change drastically.

You have some choices as a hotelier on how to handle this situation; you can either offer 24h reception or have a more flexible option, which is a self check-in kiosk. This not only helps reduce wait times during peak check-in hours, but also improves customer satisfaction by allowing guests to be in control of their arrival and departure. 


Things to have in mind when setting your hotel check-in timing

When setting your hotel check-in time, it’s important to have in mind how long the housekeeping staff needs to clean rooms. Of course, some guests will leave well before check-out time, but you have to prepare for the worst-case scenario where all guests check out at the same time.

Make sure to clearly state your policies around arrival and departures prior to your guest’s stay so that they can prepare accordingly and aren’t caught by surprise. 

You may want to have some rooms available just in case a particular inpatient guest arrives early. After a long trip it’s only normal that they want to go to their room immediately for a shower and to lie down, so if you have a few rooms available for early check in, it can only increase customer satisfaction.

If you don’t want to have a courtesy early arrival policy, you could also consider charging extra for an early arrival or for guests to set their own times. If the fee is minimal, many guests won’t mind paying it, and the revenue will slowly add up.

Another option is getting help from Mews’ property management system activity report, which allows you to see when the rooms are ready for check-in, or when people are checking in your hotel. This information allows you to know how flexible you can actually be with your check-in time.


What are the processes involved in hotel check in?

There are a lot of standard processes involved when checking in guests to your hotel. Generally, the guest arrives and looks directly for the reception. Upon arrival at the desk, your staff should greet the guest and then proceed to verify the guest’s reservation.

From there, your staff should give a brief introduction to what your structure offers in terms of amenities or special service. They should also give them any important details like the Wi-Fi password, tell them the availability of front desk staff, as well as provide timing for check out. This is particularly important in order to set expectations.

After this brief explanation you can hand the guest their keys and accompany them to their room, ask the concierge to do so, or leave them to it if they prefer.


New trends in hotel check-in

Because a smooth process upon arrival is such a key part of customer satisfaction, there are of course some new tendencies that you should be aware of in order to cater best to changing guest’s expectations and needs, which we’ll discuss below. 

Check-in kiosk

We mentioned it earlier, but check-in kiosks are without doubt one of the top trends. These kiosks allow guests to take care of their own arrival and departure processes, regardless of the time. Plus, your structure can embrace technology in order to diversify your processes and make them more adaptable to guest needs.

In addition, you can cut down on wait times, a major plus for customer satisfaction.

Mobile check-in

Guests more and more rely on their smartphones for everything, so why not give them the opportunity to go through the check-in process from their smartphones as well? Learn about the 6 most important benefits of mobile check in for hotels. This helps to streamline your processes, allowing the front desk to take care of more important and useful tasks that will help retention rates like ensuring the best hotel experience possible.

Furthermore, allowing guests to take the experience into their own hands ensures a more overall positive interaction with your brand, because guests are able to engage how modern generations know how to engage best: through their smartphones. This also gives great opportunities for upselling, whether that be by offering an early check in at an extra cost, a room upgrade, or simply allowing them to book extra services like your spa or restaurant.


Personalized hotel apps is another important trend in the hospitality industry. It’s a great way to keep the guest engaged prior to their arrival, during their stay, and well after they leave your hotel. An app can also help with guest service requests while they’re staying at your property, like requesting extra towels or room service, but it also can be used for checking in and checking out of your property. Read more about technology trends in hotels.

Flexible check-in

In order to attract a younger audience who tends to expect more flexibility, consider offering flexible timing for arrivals. As younger travelers like to be spontaneous, the more flexibility you can give them, the better. You can consider charging for these different options, allowing them to decide their check in and check out times, or simply use flexibility as part of your hotel’s value proposition. 


The hotel processes like any service should be constantly re-evaluated in order to optimize and provide the best service possible. This is the same with hotel check-ins. Changing times require changing procedures, and allowing guests to use their smartphones brings the hotel experience into the digital world, allowing better service and giving guests an enhanced perception of your brand.

No matter the hotel check-in timing and processes you decide to implement, it’s important to have them be flexible to be updated constantly. Self check-in kiosks, apps and mobile check-in are the future, and it is without a doubt up to your brand to stay on top of the trends in order to use technology to enhance the guest experience and increase customer satisfaction levels, which overall will contribute to increased revenue and retention rates.