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Hate Checking Out Early? A Hotel Chain Rethinks The 11 A.M. Rule With "Overstay Checkout"

The Art Series Hotel chain is reexamining the 11 a.m. checkout, allowing patrons to stay in their rooms until they damn well please (or at least until someone else wants to check in).

"Overstay. You’re welcome" is the message behind the world’s latest hotel checkout innovation--a new product to be launched by Australian upmarket hotel chain Art Series Hotels in December. The idea is simple: You don’t check out of your hotel room until someone else checks in.

Hailed by Art Series Chief Executive Will Deague as "a genuine product innovation," "Overstay Checkout" is an idea from Naked Communications Melbourne--the agency behind the award-winning "Steal Banksy" initiative for the hotel chain last year in which visitors were offered a piece of Banksy artwork if they could steal it from the wall where it was hung without being caught.

The aim of both campaigns is to boost occupancy rates across the Melbourne-based chain’s three hotels, which are renowned for their array of sought-after artworks, during the quiet summer period.

"We want to create promotional activity that punched above its weight in terms of media activity with an offer that wouldn’t cost the hotel anything," Naked Founder Adam Ferrier explains.

A super annoying promo video for Overstay Checkout.

"For 'Overstay Checkout,' we began by looking at customer grievances--an obvious one being having to check out of a hotel room early, typically by 11 a.m. When we asked hotels why, if no one else was immediately booked in, no one had an answer. It seemed we’d stumbled across one of those sacred cows--a thing you do but don’t know why," he adds.

"Better still, the hotels in effect will give away something of value to the consumer--late checkouts and free overnight stays, at no cost to the hotel as it’s all unsold inventory."

Arts Hotel Series has enjoyed a number of talked-about campaigns since it began working with Naked a little over a year ago.

"Steal Banksy," which won two Gold Effies and a Gold Cannes Lion, helped the hotel chain boost its summer occupancy rate by 1,500 rooms in just four weeks--50% over target. It boosted web traffic to Arts Hotel’s site by 112% and attracted media coverage in 61 countries worth an estimated $2.1m in PR value.

Ferrier readily admits "Overstay Checkout" "isn’t quite so immediately PR-able" as "Steal Banksy." But, he adds: "It’s as interesting if not more interesting by being an innovative new product we can now pioneer for the hotels market."

"Overstay Checkout" is available at Art Series hotels between December 16 and January 13.

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4 Comments

  • Paul Rand Pierce

    You know why people have to check out at 11am? Because the people who clean the rooms (sometimes hundreds of rooms) have to do their job before all the new people check in that afternoon. The overstay idea might work for very small hotels, or at rare, slow times when a larger hotel knows historically that there will absolutely be a surplus of rooms. But if everyone could check out late, and a bunch of reservations and walk-ins come in at the last minute, there's no time to clean the rooms and it becomes an operations nightmare.

    Also, if you set up the expectation of being able to check out late, and then have to say "no" to the guest, they're going to be upset. Bad policy.

    Also, to say that free overnight stays don't cost hotels anything is untrue. The hotel has to pay for water, electricity, room cleaning and other services for every room. Every night an Art Series hotel gives away a free night, they are loosing money. Maybe its worth it to them from a marketing perspective. But to say that free nights don't cost hotels anything is false. Ask any hotel revenue manager.

    So, hotels have thought about these things and don't do them for good reasons, despite Mr. Ferrier's claim to the contrary.

    "Genuine product innovation"? I'd call it mismanagement.

  • First, learn how to spell losing money before you talk about what loses money. It's not loosing money. And, who cares about the people that clean the rooms. They are lower class and they only have their selves to blame for their job placement. The hotel should get robots or hire more people to clean rooms at all hours. If you don't have customers you can't pay the employees. I haven't stayed at a hotel in over four years because I work nights and I can never find a correct hotel check-in, check out system that works correctly with my sleep schedule and therefore cannot use their services. It is unfortunate and the hotels are missing out on business daily.

  • MC

    Hi Paul,

    I agree with you 100%. I work in a Timeshare Resort wish we have more than 2.000 villas from studio to 4 bedrooms. Imagine given late check out after 11am, our housekeeper won't have time to finish the room ontime or clean it as guest satisfaction. That will become a nightmare. Not only that the guest had to wait for the room to be clean but now he/she are looking to be compensated because the room wasn't ready ontime and that is another cost to the resort.

    MC