We all know that it’s frustrating to arrive at a hotel or vacation rental and not be able to get in to your room. Aside from needing a place to drop off your things, travel is tiring plus you want to get settled so you can get down to the business of your trip in the first place.
That said, you need to know that getting in to your room is predicated on two things - if your room was occupied the night before and how cleaning those rooms gets assigned to the housekeeper. That’s it.
If you arrive and your assigned room is still occupied, then you can’t get in. Simple right? It’s the same situation when you’re in a hotel room and you’re hanging around a little longer. That creates a cascade of actions from preventing housekeeping from entering your room to making the next guest having to wait for their room.
The room cleaning assignment is a little more complicated. Most hotel housekeepers work their way down a hallway in a sequential manner - going up one side of the hallway and back down the other. Sure, there are housekeeping supervisors that guide room attendants to specific “rushed” rooms and there are tools out there that some hotels use to send room attendants to specific rooms as they become vacant, but hotels are largely dealing with one housekeeper per group of rooms (called a section) and it takes time to clean rooms. There is also the fact that it takes time to get old and new supplies to the room that is being cleaned, account for employee breaks and the likely fact that there are multiple “rushed” rooms in a housekeepers section because a few other people arrived early (like you did) so the team is trying to keep up.
If you arrive and your room isn’t ready, you should ask if there are any other vacant rooms that the front desk could move you to. In some cases there will be, in others, those other rooms might be a higher category of room from what you booked so you’d have to pay for an upgrade. But in a lot of cases, hotels are running at such high occupancy that there are no options available other than to wait.
While it is frustrating, take it as an opportunity to explore the area a little bit and know that the people behind the scenes are working hard to ensure that you have a great experience. They just need a little time to get things together.
And if you’re so desperately in need of a room that early… book it for the day before you arrive, guaranteeing it will be available for you.
how rooms get cleaned in hotels