Is The Hotel Wake-Up Call Obsolete Plus 31 Days of Giveaways – Day 8

  • Date:
  • Posted by Melinda
  • Category: News

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In years past, a hotel wake-up call was a thoughtful touch of customer service. Upon checking in to a property guests were often asked if they would like a wake-up call the following morning.

At the pre-arranged time the phone would ring, the attendant would greet the guest and cheerily remind them that the call was their o’dark thirty wake-up. Fast forward a few years and automated messages replaced the live person but the call remained the same.

I personally haven’t requested a hotel wake-up call in probably 10 years. The last time I arranged a wake-up call it also never came. I had gotten verbal confirmation from the hotel agent over the phone, but there was no wake-up call. Thankfully I had set an alarm clock as a back-up so I wasn’t late to my destination. As I got ready, I remember listening for the phone to see if maybe they had just gotten the time wrong, but the phone never rang.

Today everyone seems to have a smart phone. In fact, many readers will be skimming this article on their phones while walking. Watch out for obstacles!

Smart phones come with easy to use, consistently reliable alarm clocks. I myself use my iPhone. Even if it is set in Airplane Mode, the alarm still works like a charm and I have only myself to blame if I don’t get up when I need to.

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Some people sleep right though their alarm, and if you’re absolutely exhausted it can be a good idea to have a back-up. When traveling through different time zones your body clock may be confused and having that reassurance is appreciated.

In some instances the wake-up call can make all the difference when catching a flight, getting to an important business meeting, or in Jean-Paul’s case from the Seinfeld show, running in a marathon. To quote Jean-Paul, “why separate knob? WHY separate knob?”.

Sadly, the wake-up call didn’t work out for Jean-Paul.

Most hotels still offer wake-up calls but guests are not routinely asked during check-in. Instead, you can call down to the front desk while in your room or hit a button on the phone to request a wake-up call.

I’m curious how often people actually use the wake-up service in hotels any more though.

To enter today’s Day 3 giveaway for a swag bag of goodies, leave a reply in the comments to let me know if you use hotel wake-up calls. Have there been any fails where you haven’t gotten the call? One comment per person, please. Contest ends at 9pm PST, and full contest rules can be found here.

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  1. WR

    Because I am notorious for being a heavy sleeper (once I get to sleep, but that is a different issue), I do setup a wake-up call for an “emergency backup”, mainly. So I wouldn’t call it “obsolete”, but perhaps it is now more in the role I described than a primary tool.

  2. Ed C

    I have never used the wake up call feature but it has accidentally been assigned to me a few times.

    I’ll probably use it if I have an uberly important meeting/flight but haven’t had the need yet.

    Working in the hospitality technology industry, I’ve deployed a few wake up call system (where you can set it via voicemail or the agent can set it via the reservation system). It will ring and send you an automated message assuming it hears noises at the other end of the call (otherwise it will ring again). Looking over the stats, there are still a few people that use it but it isn’t what it used to be.

  3. JR

    No, the article says it best – smart phones are too ubiquitous and easy to use for wake-up calls to be necessary.

  4. Jessica

    I used wake up calls years ago, but I can’t remember the last time I did..

  5. Brenda Dennis

    I use the hotel wake up service as a backup, particularly if I have an insanely early flight or if the power situation in the hotel is iffy. I sleep better knowing I have a Plan B!

  6. Keri

    For early flights I usually do both just to make sure! I’ve had a handful of times of the hotel not calling or my phone not going off as planned which has made me leery of depending entirely on one.

  7. Debra

    I use wakeup calls. There was only one time when i requested one and didnt receive.

  8. Jahan

    What is the point in using them now a days when you have a smartphone or other device that makes it easier to set an alarm?

  9. Anita

    I’ve used a wake up call once or twice when I’m overseas and my phone is on airplane mode. The time doesn’t update.

  10. Robin

    I always make my husband set his phone alarm. I prefer to not have strangers calling me first thing in the morning.

  11. Denise L

    I rarely ask for a wakeup call but did recently as a back up when my jet lag was really bad.

  12. David

    Don’t use the wakeup call, just use my phone.

  13. SF

    I just use the alarm on my phone. I’ve done hotel wake-ups in the past and have, more times than I’d like to count, never gotten the call.

  14. DaninMCI

    Never use the wake up service at hotels. I would have to be super worried, like wedding day worried, you use this as a 3rd or 4th backup I’d say.

  15. JEM

    Use the clock in my head as my primary -works 80% of the time – with my phone as a backup. But I always ask for a wake-up call – for the latest possible time that will still allow me to make my flight/meeting/etc. – as an ultimate backup. Then I just cancel it before I leave the room. Have only needed it once in the last couple of years, but it saved my trip.

  16. Bill B.

    I still occasionally use the wake up call as a back up if there is something really important…or as a ‘snooze’ alarm with my phone.

  17. Debbie

    I find phone calls disorienting first thing in the morning, and try to avoid needing to speak before I have coffee! Smartphone alarm for the win! The best wake up I’ve encountered was on a cruise ship where I could have coffee room service delivered at the time I wanted to wake up. The quick interaction with the room service attendant was worth it to be drinking coffee within minutes of waking. If hotels offered a complimentary coffee delivery as a wake up, I’d be loyal for life!

  18. mike

    seems like a cell phone alarm is more dependable, and if you don’t get up, you can only blame yourself

  19. Diane

    Never use wake up calls. Unreliable.

  20. Sherri Fennell

    I use my smartphone for wakeup calls, never the front desk. But, I will place the phone away from bedside to force me to get up and turn it off…and in turn I’m awake, not constantly hitting “snooze” on the phone alarm.

  21. phil gold

    I have used them in the past but dont find them reliable and find them annoying (i’m also not a morning person) 🙂


  22. Linda

    I find the front desk staff is not very reliable for wake up calls, so I just use my phone alarm.

  23. Rachel S.

    My husband always uses the wake up call service. He doesn’t trust his smartphone!

  24. Robert

    Haven’t in years since smart phones came around

  25. Laura

    Don’t use them anymore now that I have alarms on my phone.

  26. Dan

    Never used a wake up call. I’m sure there are some people who use it that don’t know how to use a smartphone, but that number is declining every day.

  27. Samuel

    Only once for a overnight delay (airline requested)

  28. J.

    I don’t use them.

  29. Eric

    I use the wake up calls because they are loud and annoying and make me get up! i fortunately have never had an issue with them. I hear people all the time on business trips saying “my phone alarm got messed up” or “it just didn’t go off and I don’t know why!”

  30. Ang

    I don’t use hotel wake up calls. I prefer using my own alarm.

  31. TJ

    Never use it, there’s no snooze button!

  32. Tim

    I always asked for a wake up call when I spent 30+ weeks on the road. Phones are great but I prefer to have another sound that I’m not really used to. It seems to kick in better.
    I gave up on hotel radios and alarms and now actually unplug them. Sick of the alarms going off unexpectedly at 3:20.

  33. Cindy L

    Sure do!

  34. C. Colvin

    There are times when I have a long night and I need to be up early in the morning – I still utilize the good ol’ hotel wake-up call (along with my phone). I’d say in 20 years, I can count on 1 hand the number of times the wake up call didn’t come through.

  35. Tracy

    Unfortunately they’re not reliable as they’ve never called the few times I’ve attempted to use the service. It’s a good thing my trusty iPhone hasn’t failed me

  36. Darlene

    I don’t use the wake up call anymore since there is no back up plan. It is usually not a human voice in the morning anymore, its a message to wake you up. I set my phone with usually a second alert in case I fall bacl to sleep.

  37. JAXBA

    I use my smartphone, I trust it, even with timezone changes it’s accurate. I do make sure the in-room alarm clock is disabled though, and not set for some unexpected time! I might have used a hotel wake-up call once, probably before I had a mobile phone…

  38. Stephanie Scher

    Never trusted the wake-up calls. Always travelled with my own small alarm clock, which has now been made obsolete by my smartphone.

  39. Courtney

    I NEED a wake up call, and 5 alarms on my phone… #nightowl specific travel problems 🙂

  40. dee

    Never used them myself but don’t really get asked if I want one either. Prefer my phone alarm!

  41. Bill G

    Even though most wake-up calls are automated I don’t really trust them any more than I trust my phone and I don’t use them.

  42. Kenny

    We still use them as back ups to our phones. Unfortunately when my gf and I were in South Africa back in September, the calls did not come in at the times we requested! But normally I still see value in the wake up call , as an alternative /backup.

  43. Mike

    I never trust wakeup calls, always set an alarm.

  44. cy

    I’ve had the front desk come knock on my door when I didn’t pick up my morning calls… definitely the safer option.

  45. cori

    I do use them as a backup. Haven’t had issues.

  46. Leo

    I’ve only used a wake up call once in my life when I had an early morning tour pickup after a late night of painting the town red.

  47. Matt

    I definitely use wake up calls. It’s a lot less difficult for me to ignore a hotel phone call than my phone alarm.

  48. Nathan W.

    I frequently use the hotel room alarm clock.

  49. Chris

    I can count on one hand the times I have used anything other than my own watch or phone alarm in the last five years. A couple of times I put in a wakeup call through the desk or automated system when I had a super-early flight time the next morning.

  50. Amanda

    I haven’t had used a wake call at a hotel for years!

  51. icicle

    When I need to be somewhere, I do like to have a back-up wake-up call…but they always seem to call late. So I ask for the wake-up call to be earlier than what I need….because I usually will get the call as a “snooze” option after my own phone alarm!

  52. Karen

    I never use wake-up calls but a lot of times when I’m in China I get one anyways from the cleaning staff checking to make sure my room doesn’t need to be cleaned even when I put out the do not disturb sign. 🙁

  53. Elena G

    No I dont use them..i rely on my phone to wake me up

  54. Ben

    Never used wake-up calls, and never plan to!

  55. Doug

    I stopped using hotel wake up calls a long time ago. Smartphones are by far much easier than having to call the front desk and hope that the person on the other end sets it up properly.

  56. Lynn

    Only as a back up for a really early need to wake up such as for a 5:30 AM flight

  57. Joe C.

    No. Not sure why anyone would need to use a wake-up call anymore.

    Does anyone get wake-up calls when they aren’t traveling?

  58. Kathy

    Never use wakeup calls.

  59. Jordan

    I do NOT trust wakeup calls. Use an alarm.

  60. JRG

    I’ve used a hotel phone, but only as a backup.

  61. Mary

    I always just use my phone alarm.

  62. Michael H.(oldfox)

    I still request a hotel wake-up call. However, it is my back-up plan. I have a trusty alarm clock that works well. I just sleep better knowing a have a back-up.

  63. Kenneth

    If I have something important then I usually ask as a backup for my phone. Yes, I have not recieved numerous calls over the years that I had requested

  64. Jennifer

    I have on occassion, but I usually am with my husband and we both just set our phones. We have asked for them and not gotten them before though

  65. r Hirsch

    i do request them. just because it reminds me of being at hotels with my parents….

  66. Rich

    always ! as a Back – Up to a phone battery or charger going dead

  67. CT

    I am a bit of a luddite, and don’t own a smartphone. I have had multiple occasions where the hotel alarm clock didn’t work properly, so a wake up call is still handy.

  68. dotti cahill

    i have used them as a back up t my alarm or cellphone esp if really early like 4 am need backup then

  69. Marcia

    I only use my phone alarm.

  70. Marilyn B

    Usually I just use my own alarm, but on a trip last month I had very early flights on both ends of the trip. In both instances I used a wake-up call as backup just in case my alarm didn’t go off/wake me. Rather have a loud phone call than miss my flight.

  71. nbdona

    We always use them, plus a back-up phone


    I always use Hotel Wake-Up Calls, as I am usually in town for Business. I have always found them to be very reliable. Thanks for the Chance to Win. Happy Holidays

  73. Kathy

    I don’t use the hotel’s wake up call system. I set the alarm on my smart phone and will sometimes use the alarm on the clock in the hotel as a back up if it is really important that I get up on time.

  74. Bob

    I use wake up calls every time!

  75. Rick Hood

    I Quit using wake up calls after a failure. I rely on my smartphone!