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Hotels to offer flexible checkout

Good news for Shanghai tourists: Checkout times in local hotels, guest houses and hostels will be negotiable from May. Now, hotels across China's mainland set midday as the checkout time.


According to a new hotel regulation decreed by the Shanghai Tourism Bureau, hotels in Shanghai will be required to confirm the checkout time with guests in writing before they check in.


Hotels do not have to offer a flexible checkout time, but they are required to inform guests of the time of check-out when they arrive. Hotels must also display check out options near the reception desk, the regulation said.


The regulation ruled that hotels should also provide luggage storage facilities for guests after they've checked out.


The adjustments came after a debate at a legislation hearing held by the city government in September. At the debate, most consumer delegates said setting a mandatory checkout time was purposelessly rigid, while most hotel delegates said hotels around the rest of the world are allowed to decide their own checkout times.


"The new regulation is fair and appropriate for both guests and hotel owners," said Zhao Jiaoli, secretary general of the Shanghai Commission of Consumers' Rights and Interests Protection.


(Shanghai Daily March 30, 2009)