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Later hotel check-out time gets mixed reception
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Some city hotels have agreed to later check-out time from this week, while others are worried the practice may adversely affect arriving guests.

The China Tourism and Hotel Association over the weekend removed the section of its regulations that says "guests should pay half a day's room charge if checking out after 12pm, and should pay a day's room charge after 6pm."

Before, the association refused to change the section, describing checking out before noon is an "international practice."

The section was modified so hotels are now obliged to clearly declare check-out time in their lobbies, or inform guests about them before they register.

Some luxury hotels, such as Pullman Shanghai Skyway and Sofitel Jinjiang Oriental Pudong, said they would delay check-out time to 2pm to 3pm at least until the end of the year.

Ctrip.com, China's major online travel service company, described the later check-out time as a win-win strategy.

"Guests can enjoy better service, while hotels can gain a better reputation," said Tang Xiaofeng, senior supervisor of the hotel business department of the company.

Some hotels said they would prolong check-out time during quiet times, but could not guarantee the service during peak periods.

Cui Yi, a computer company employee, who goes on frequent business trips, said she was excited about the new check-out policy.

"Before, I was always exhausted when I checked in after midnight and had to leave in the morning or pay more," Cui said.

"Now I can choose hotels which have a 'soft' check-out time."

The city consumers' rights watchdog said although the regulation was not mandatory, later check-out time would create a fair-play environment for the hotel industry.

"Consumers can choose hotels which allow them to delay check-out time," said Tang Jiansheng, deputy director of the law department of the Shanghai Commission of Consumers' Rights and Interests Protection.

(Shanghai Daily September 9, 2009)

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