3…2…1 … Initiate Hotel Check-Out Enforcement Protocol!

The mechanics of checking out of a hotel room seem to be pretty straightforward on the face of it. You are told you have to check-out by a certain time, you pack up all of your stuff – remembering to double check all of the drawers and the mini-bar fridge to remove anything you put in there and replace the mini-bar items that you took out to make space – and you leave the room by the designated time.


But some people, people like Aaron101, like to get their money’s worth and so they push their time of departure right up until check-out time. And that’s fine. They paid for the room until 11:00 a.m., or whenever check-out time is, they have every right to use it until then.

But Aaron101 is annoyed that hotel staff don’t always seem to see it the same way:

does anyone else consider it bad manners if a hotel knocks on your door or rings exactly at check out time, or ever worse 10 mins beforehand to let you know IT’S TIME TO LEAVE? … if they loudly knock on my door at check out time when I’m already almost ready to leave, then that’s a 0/10 review score from me regardless of anything else.

Aaron101’s approach to this issue causes a little bit of a kerfuffle. Now, to be fair, Aaron101 also admits that he tends to leave his room maybe 5 minutes late on average, and so some members think he is actually the party at fault.

I think it’s bad manners to knock a rating because you overstay your allotted time while the hotel is simply being efficient with their cleaning schedule. ~MNMark

I think it would be bad manners and rude of me to stay in the room after the time I agreed I’d leave – for all I know someone else has booked the room and wants to check in. It would be rude of me to delay them by even one minute. ~guybooth

And so begins a discussion about hotel check-out etiquette that is more involved and intricate than one might have thought possible. The discussion flows into subjects such as how best to notify housekeeping that you are still in the room (placing the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, calling the front desk); when it’s ok for housekeeping to knock (Precisely at check-out time? Only following a 10-minute grace period?); if it’s ok to ask for more time in the room and, if so, how to do so; and how much consideration should go into the schedule the housekeeping staff is trying to maintain.

Though I’ve briefly outlined most of the points of discussion, the thread is worth a read to appreciate the full depth of the arguments.

And for any of you intrepid entrepreneurs reading this and looking for some business ideas, here are a couple for you:

  1. Countdown alarm clocks. The clocks would look like normal alarm clocks, but at 1-hour prior to check-out they would sound a notice – maybe a voice exclaiming, “You have one hour until check-out”. The alarm could sound again at T-30 and T-15 minutes. Maybe at the 10-minute mark it becomes a bit more stringent – “Your stay will end in 10 minutes”. At the 1-minute mark I think it should begin a countdown, just like in the movies, and once it gets to T-10 seconds the clock would announce every second, “10, 9, 8…”. Now that would make check-out fun and exciting, wouldn’t it. Oh, and the clock should have a battery backup, with the battery tightly secured. We wouldn’t want guests unplugging the clock and ruining all of the fun.
  2. Another idea is a GPS tracking sticker. When the guest checks in the hotel staff would affix a sticker to the guest’s biggest piece of luggage. Or, perhaps travelers could purchase the stickers and hotels would purchase an app designed to read them. Either way, the idea would be that, once the tracking device detects that the piece of luggage has been removed from the room, that means the guest has checked out and the room is available to be cleaned.

There you go. Get cracking on these and you can make tens of hundreds of dollars and solve one of the most vexing travel problems of our time.

Read the thread in its entirety: knock knock – check out time

Countdown” by Stéfan. CC BY-SA 2.0.


  1. Totally reminds me of the Friends episode – the one where Ross refuses to leave his hotel room until 1 minute before check out time.

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