A rather interesting Hampton Inn check-in experience

From time to time it happens that my wife and I arrive at our booked hotel separately. Not a huge deal for us in general, so long as the hotel has properly documented our reservation, and I’m pretty good at making sure that happens. So this past weekend’s check-in at a Hampton Inn was particularly perplexing. In more than one way.

Like always, I called in to make sure that both of our names were showing properly on the reservation. Like always, they emailed me a fresh confirmation showing the update. This time I actually read the new confirmation email – something I don’t always do – and noticed that her name wasn’t actually on the room. Whoopsie. No big deal, I figured. I called back and got another great agent on the phone and she understood my issue and acted on it quickly. I reloaded the reservation on the website and still didn’t see my wife’s name but the agent assured me that it was in the record in the appropriate field so that the front desk would see it.

As expected, my wife arrived at the room ahead of me and I didn’t think anything special of the event after that until she described the check-in experience to me later.

Apparently the record was not properly annotated. Or the front desk clerk didn’t know what she was looking for. Either way that’s a bit annoying, but not a huge deal as the clerk handled it by checking her in to the room anyways. Did I mention that we have different last names? It seems that at this particular Hampton Inn simply arriving and claiming to be the spouse of someone with a reservation was sufficient to get access to check-in on that reservation.

Obviously in this case nothing untoward about it as she really is my wife and she was supposed to be listed on the reservation. But the way it was handled was certainly not what I expected.

Absolutely bizarre.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I once had security knock on my door when I failed to answer a wake-up call at a Hampton Inn. I was in the shower. They wanted to make sure I was OK.

  2. Did they imprint from her CC? Perhaps they felt the most they’d be troubled would be the renting of an additional room to you if you showed up and tried to claim your original resie. I thought that was why they ask for an actual CC at check-in.

    Guess I’d see it differently if you said the hotel was fully booked and they potentially gave your resie to a stranger, leaving you in the lurch.

    Either way, glad it worked out for you..

  3. With my experience in hotels, I have seen that they have log book with special notes so all shift knows whats going on. Sometime they just put the note there when you call and try to leat bother guest specially if they are HH members.

  4. Sorry… but to be honest, I think your reaction is what is bizarre.

    I fully expected you to end the post by complaining that your wife was not allowed to check in despite you having called in before several times to ensure her name was on the reservation.
    The end result was that she was allowed to check in, just like you wanted. I’m not sure why this a problem.

    Yes, the idea that any person who mentions a name can then check in to that room is disconcerting. But I don’t imagine this happens easily since they would need to know the details of when and where you are booked. Furthermore, I imagine the check in agent spoke with your wife who explained that you have different names and that she was supposed to be on the reservation, right? Didn’t this agent make a good judgement call by allowing her to check in instead of acting only “by the book” and forcing her to wait until you arrive?

    1. It wouldn’t have been such a strange occurrence if they hadn’t let her in, John. That’s what I was expected to happen based on the story she told, right up to the point where she said they gave her the key. The front desk clerk certainly made a judgment call and ultimately it did work out in our favor, but it was also still somewhat surprising and unexpected.

  5. I locked my self out of a my room at Hilton South Wharf, wandered down to reception and gave my last name and room number and wallah had another room key. No ID or anything.

    Next day i had an issue with one of the door cards and couldn’t get into my room. I called down to reception from a public phone that was near the lifts. They sent someone up who swiped and opened the door for me. Again no verification of ID or even a name to the room. Just me standing outside the door??

    Kinda scary when you think how easy it would be to gain access to someone elses room!

  6. Well it’s the same problem with my wife…if they just took our last names NONE of this would be a problem :):):):)

  7. My wife also has a different last name than mine, but when she is travelling alone (infrequently) I make the reservation in my name with my loyalty program. She carries the same hotel credit cards, so they just compare the card number with that on the reservation and all is well. Rarely, with a Hilton family hotel, they refuse to credit the stay to my account. Hyatt and Marriott have always been well behaved.

  8. Did your wife try checking into the Hampton Inn with a dog in her purse? I really want to see someone do that in person vs. in a movie.

  9. Is it “somewhat surprising” or is it “absolutely bizarre”? I’d go with the former. Sure, it leaves some room for abuse in theory, but I think most people would agree it’s bordering on paranoia to worry about some random person figuring out your name and exactly what hotel you’re staying in, and then going and checking in while posing as your spouse. I guess that as a travel blogger you have more to worry about in this area, but in my case, that’s not a concern that would ever cross my mind.

    I’m guessing the check-in agent knew from experience that sometimes these things don’t get notated correctly on the record (maybe it’s a common issue), and she judged that your wife was telling the truth (and was not some kind of stalker/murderer/whatever). I guess she might have asked your wife some kind of question to further verify that she was in fact your wife (e.g. your email/phone, HHonors number, CC number) but frankly I just think this was good customer service.

    Reminds me of Home Alone 2 where Kevin is at the Plaza explaining that his dad is at a meeting but he needs to check in to the hotel himself!

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