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In Germany it is common that your hotel room booking is guaranteed until 6 pm. If you plan to show up later, you can give your credit card number beforehand, otherwise your room might be given to someone else. The advantage is that there is no cancellation fee if you don't show up.

Sometimes it happens that I haven't given my credit number beforehand and on my way to my destination it becomes clear that I won't make it before 6 pm. I usually call the hotel and tell them that I am on my way, that I will show up and please do not give my room to somebody else.

My question is: Is this commonly accepted in hotels and will the hotel staff take it into account? Or could I just as well not call and hope for the best?

  • Of course you can just not call and hope for the best. And if your room is given to someone else when you arrive, you can just go and look for another hotel. – Neusser Feb 19 at 15:40
  • Where exactly are you going? I've been across most of EU/CAN/US and never called up to tell them my arrival time, if it was after 6 it was always still available. Might be country dependant – Uciebila Feb 19 at 15:51
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    I don't know if calling ahead gives you any guarantee, but I'm pretty sure it will increase your chances. But whether your room gets given away might also depend on what you tell them on the phone (can you give an estimate of your new arrival time or not), if you are a regular, if there's an unforeseen event (e.g. a shutdown of the nearest airport due to weather), ... – Sabine Feb 19 at 16:16
  • Are there still hotels taking reservations without a credit card guarantee? Anyway, your chances depend a lot on the circumstances: size of the hotel, whether the hotel/destinatin caters more for business or tourists, whether there's a big event in town, whether there are sudden travel disruptions... – jcaron Feb 19 at 16:19
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    @Uciebila This is common in German hotels. From a recent booking confirmation: "Booking type: Standard booking - Arrival by 18:00 (local time) required. If you arrive later, you are not entitled to the room." and "For late arrivals after 18:00 (local time) the reservation must be guaranteed [by credit card]." (Translated using DeepL) – elzell Feb 19 at 16:23
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The best answer here is composed to three points:

  1. They are in no way required to change their rules just because you call.
  2. If you call, the staff might give your room away last, but because of #1 they can still give away your room to a paying guest.
  3. If you don't call, your room might be sold first or all rooms might be sold by the time you get there.
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When you book a room in Germany, with either one of the large websites like booking.com, Expedia or similar, you will be able to select your arrival. Most places will honour that. If you book direct with them, write down and ask for late check-in. If that doesn't work either, give them a call and explain you will arrive late.

I travel on Friday evening a lot, and have arrived after 10pm in many German cities. This has never been a problem as long as the hotel reception is still open. When I lived in a hotel for several months in central Berlin I would often talk to the evening staff, and they would sometimes complain that not everyone has arrived yet, leaving a check-in for the night watchman rather the actual trained hotel staff.

It has never even occurred to me that a hotel would give away your room if you don't show up early. There's a comment on the question that says this is common, but I strongly disagree. I've not seen this, and in fact business hotel websites even advertise that you can cancel up to 6pm as a feature of their service.

You cannot usually leave your credit card number with a hotel in Germany. That is exceptionally uncommon, and if a hotel would ask that of me, it'd be a massive red flag. Of course you can do a payment guarantee through a website, but never over the phone in Germany.

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