Time is luxury: Why all high-end hotels should follow The Peninsula in eliminating check-in/out times

Nov 21, 2020

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The times, they are a-changin’.

At Peninsula Hotels, one of the world’s most exclusive and luxurious hotel brands, these words from Bob Dylan ring especially true.

The brand recently shared that beginning Jan. 1, 2021, it will eliminate rigid check-in and check-out times. The chain coined the new experience “Peninsula Time,” and said that “guests can arrange to have their room ready as early as 6 a.m. on their arrival date and check out as late as 10 p.m. on their departure date at no extra charge when they book directly or with their preferred travel advisor.”

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The chain also announced further enhancements to its customer-friendly perks, known as “The Peninsula Promise.” Among them include the ability to book guaranteed adjoining rooms if you’re traveling with a family or a larger group as well as discounts on the room rate when you book connecting rooms, daily breakfast for each guest in the connecting room and a $100 credit to be used at restaurants or the spa during the stay.

Additionally, the chain standardized its cancellation policy, which will allow fee-free cancellation up to 3 p.m. local time the day prior to check in, as well as allowing changes to advance preferred-rate bookings up to 12 months from the original booking date.

Finally, The Peninsula is introducing a 24-hour real-time concierge service that allows you to send messages to the concierge through existing apps on your phone, including WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, with any request a guest may have at any time of day.

We hope other hotels follow The Peninsula’s lead

Undoubtedly, we’re most excited about the implementation of Peninsula Time. No matter how nice your hotel looks, there’s nothing worse than being told you have to be out at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning, even if your flight doesn’t leave until the evening. And begging the hotel’s front desk for a later checkout time doesn’t scream refinement — and the most you’re likely to get is just a few extra hours.

And, there have been several times that I’ve arrived in London or Paris on flights that landed at 7 a.m. local time, with a massive amount of jet lag, wanting nothing more than a brief nap to give me energy. However, upon arrival at the hotel — even at luxury properties — I’ve been told that a room wouldn’t be ready for several hours, forcing me to drag around town guzzling coffee just to stay awake.

It’s time for other luxury brands to follow The Peninsula’s lead and develop similar policies. If larger hotels are worried about never having any rooms available for guests to check in to, perhaps it’d make a great perk for top-tier elite status among the major programs.

As a Marriott Platinum and Hilton Diamond member, I’d feel better about using my hard-earned points or certificates on stays where I know that I could check in and out according to my schedule, not the hotel’s.

While we wait for other chains to (hopefully) match this policy from Peninsula Hotels, you can take advantage of programs like American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts if you hold The Platinum Card® from American Express. It offers, among other valuable perks, noon check in when available and guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout. It’s definitely better than you’ll get at most hotels but still doesn’t match The Peninsula’s generous new standard.

Bottom line

These changes are all very positive and customer friendly. During the pandemic, it’s become apparent that true luxury is when a travel partner listens to its customers. The companies who are making changes that their customers want will be the companies that come out strongest on the other side of COVID-19.

Many hotel chains have made changes to help customers who need to travel during this difficult time, including extending elite status, deep cleaning rooms and offering remote-work packages for those desperate for a chance of scenery.

But, this enhancement from The Peninsula raises the stakes. Based on the new check-in policy alone, it’s not hard to see business travelers and those looking to get the most out of their cash considering a Peninsula over a similarly priced competitor due to the flexibility of this policy alone. Other luxe brands: It’s your move.

Featured image courtesy of The Peninsula Hotels

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