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In Germany, do all guests need to show ID at check in?

In Germany, do all guests need to show ID at check in?

Old Mar 15, 17, 11:35 am
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In Germany, do all guests need to show ID at check in?

I'm travelling to Germany with a 17 year old, who will be 18 at check-in. One chain hotel I'm thinking of staying in allows 17-year-olds to stay for free, but charges 18-year-olds as extra adults ($50). If I have to pay the $50, I'm better off staying elsewhere. In the USA, I would just ignore these rules, check-in myself and have no issue. But in Germany, will I have to present all our passports and hope the clerk does hassle me for the extra payment?

Thanks, and sorry if I've offended anyone with my practicality.
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Old Mar 15, 17, 2:56 pm
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In Germany it is mandatory for a person renting a room in a hotel to register with some kind of ID (section 29 Bundesmeldegesetz). In addition, the number of relatives traveling with the person who rents the room has to be given. The law does not require these people to show their ID, and in most cases hotel clerks haven't asked the people I was sharing a room with to show theirs.

In other words: The likelihood that the hotel will not notice that you want to break your contract with them is not that high.
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Old Mar 15, 17, 3:52 pm
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Originally Posted by cygnus View Post
In other words: The likelihood that the hotel will not notice that you want to break your contract with them is not that high.
I'm a little confused by the double negative. I'm guessing you're saying I can probably "get away with this"?

BTW, I'm not even sure the rules on the chain website are correct. I often travel with family members, and I find the chains do a bad job outside of the USA in correctly identifying the number of people allowed in a room and whether there is a charge for them. The chain websites are often "more conservative" than the individual hotel's own policies. I don't really understand why. This is a shame, because unless I REALLY want to stay at that hotel, I don't make the effort to contact the hotel directly, and just move onto the next property where I know I won't have extra guest charges. There is almost always a better lodging option that paying for extra guests in a hotel room (unless the charge is de minimus).

Of course, in this instance, I'd prefer a "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which the hotel might also prefer to losing my business. If I had to actually show a passport for each guest, though, it would be hard not to "tell."
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Old Mar 15, 17, 6:07 pm
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In reality some hotels ask for an ID of one guest, but normally not for the second person.
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Old Mar 15, 17, 7:46 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
In reality some hotels ask for an ID of one guest, but normally not for the second person.
Yeah, that's consistent with the USA practice. It would be unimaginable for a clerk to ask to check the ID of your teenager.

I have noticed that this "extra guest" fee can make a big difference in travel cost if you happen to have a high school senior or college-aged child along with you on a trip. It's kind of a nuisance. In addition to paid rates, it seems to severely impact the value of hotel award stays (like using your points isn't too worthwhile if you have to pay an additonal $50 or $75 for your teenager).

Indeed, the only time I've ever been questioned about the age of my teenagers while travelling in the USA is at the AMEX Centurion Lounges. They've just changed the rules anyway, but I made sure to get them their own cards (I didn't have to pay for them) so they wouldn't be hassled.

Last edited by iahphx; Mar 15, 17 at 7:52 pm
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Old Mar 16, 17, 2:54 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
I'm a little confused by the double negative. I'm guessing you're saying I can probably "get away with this"?
Yes, he's stating you can probably get away with it even though it is not allowed.

Note that in Germany, there's a tradition of charging for hotel rooms based on the number of guests and their age (with discounts given for minors). That is in contrast to standard practice in the US which is to charge a flat rate for a room regardless of the number of people staying in it (the primary restriction being the maximum occupancy).

So yeah, you'd certainly be in breach of contract if you counterfactually claim your child is underage. In the unlikely event the hotel finds out, they might charge a higher rate and/or a penalty of some sort.

Last edited by fppmongo; Mar 16, 17 at 3:03 am
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Old Mar 16, 17, 8:09 pm
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Originally Posted by fppmongo View Post
Yes, he's stating you can probably get away with it even though it is not allowed.

Note that in Germany, there's a tradition of charging for hotel rooms based on the number of guests and their age (with discounts given for minors). That is in contrast to standard practice in the US which is to charge a flat rate for a room regardless of the number of people staying in it (the primary restriction being the maximum occupancy).

So yeah, you'd certainly be in breach of contract if you counterfactually claim your child is underage. In the unlikely event the hotel finds out, they might charge a higher rate and/or a penalty of some sort.
I'm not really sure the policy is all that different. All the USA chains seem to have a "kids stay free" policy (usually to 18, but sometimes a little different), but would charge for a third adult in a room.

Obviously, any age-cut off is going to be pretty random. I've noticed that Airbnb does not seem to have any age discounts or penalties. It just asks how many people will be staying, with no difference between them being adults or children. It seems the better system to me. I don't think there's going to be a rush of adults bunking together in hotels to save a few bucks if there wasn't an additional person charge.
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Old Mar 16, 17, 8:09 pm
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You mention "chain hotel", which sounds promising - because unless it is one of the many small, family-run independent hotels in the countryside, you'll most likely get away with it just like you would in the US. The larger/more international the hotel, the lower the chance they'll pay much attention. Make the booking before the 18th birthday, and you'll even have an excuse story up your sleeve as a bonus

[Don't like "cheating" in general, but do believe the "p.P. tradition" is anachronistc]
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Old Mar 17, 17, 1:31 am
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Funny, I wasn't asked to show any ID when checking in last week
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Old Mar 17, 17, 2:27 am
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During checkin you have to fill in a form so that the hotel can potentially inform the authorities who is currently residing there. Similar to legislation that requires anyone living in Germany to register their place of residence. You don't have to show ID, stating your name and (usual) residential address is sufficient. Even for registration of local residence ID is not required, in fact you can even mail in the form without personal appearance.
Chain hotels do this data collection via their system, and usually just pick the required data from your reservation. Sometimes when you require a different billing address (for expensed trips), this gets tricky as they have to fill in two fields. Similar to airlines collecting your full name and passport/visa details for the immigration authorities.

I am annoyed by European hotels charging more for more than one occupant, and usually only book for one person and see what happens at checkin. In the past 7 years I've never been really challenged by anyone, even when having my wife and two kids standing beside me. The PH in Istanbul once got very nasty, but settled by charging 20€/night extra for my wife because of the 'additional breakfast cost' (never mind that we had a suite via a DSU and I was Hyatt Diamond with free breakfast at the time). A Mercure in Paris saw the family and said 'I better give you a bigger room', the Ramada in Berlin I usually stay at always gives us a suite. I recently redeemed some spg free nights at the Le Meridien in Hamburg and told them I was coming with family, they charged me 60€ for a rollaway bed but made sure we got a really large room. This to address the comment that chain hotels may get nasty.
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Old Mar 17, 17, 7:08 am
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Originally Posted by oliver2002 View Post
I am annoyed by European hotels charging more for more than one occupant, and usually only book for one person and see what happens at checkin. In the past 7 years I've never been really challenged by anyone, even when having my wife and two kids standing beside me. The PH in Istanbul once got very nasty, but settled by charging 20€/night extra for my wife because of the 'additional breakfast cost' (never mind that we had a suite via a DSU and I was Hyatt Diamond with free breakfast at the time). A Mercure in Paris saw the family and said 'I better give you a bigger room', the Ramada in Berlin I usually stay at always gives us a suite. I recently redeemed some spg free nights at the Le Meridien in Hamburg and told them I was coming with family, they charged me 60€ for a rollaway bed but made sure we got a really large room. This to address the comment that chain hotels may get nasty.
Well, I don't really mind hotels charging for extra people. Or, I should really say, extra bedding. It makes some sense that a room with 2 queen beds could cost more than a room with 1 queen bed. There's obviously some extra expense in servicing such a room, and it often is larger. Similarly, if breakfast is included, there's real food cost in having extra guests. (We've even had a discussion in the Hyatt forum about their USA Hyatt Place hotels serving cheaper "free breakfast" food on weekends than on weekdays, because they charge "by the room" and there are lots of solo travelers during the week and families on the weekend).

Obviously, though, this extra room cost has to make sense. The most illogical system is what I call the "British" one, traditionally popular in British lodging where you pay solely by the person. If I stay in a room by myself, it will cost 75 Pounds. If I bring my wife, it will cost 150 Pounds, even if we share the same bed. Clearly, a more logical pricing structure would be to charge me about 100 Pounds for a couple.

Bringing kids with you overseas is often problematic, as you can almost never predict how much you'll be charged for them (and, as I mentioned above, sometimes the website rules are different from the "actual" rules). Sometimes they're free to age 18; sometimes to 10, 12, 15 or 16. Sometimes they're never free, but sometimes they're discounted up to these various ages. Sometimes the additional fee is modest (like $10), and sometimes it's silly -- like in the example cited in my original post where a one-year age difference makes the room $50 more. I've previously had situations where I had to "lie" about my kid being 15 when they were 16 to enable me to stay in a particular hotel, because I would have had to stay elsewhere if they had strictly enforced their child pricing rules with a sky-high pricing surcharge.

I do agree that hotel clerks are often flexible to extra guests or older children. Like I recently had a clerk (oddly) complain to me that a foreign family had 8 guests in a room (they had just called to ask him for a bunch more towels). I told him that I thought they had a room occupancy limit of 4. He said that management told him not to question guests about it.

In any event, thank you to everyone who has helped me with this.
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Old Mar 17, 17, 8:24 am
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The only places where this becomes tricky are jurisdictions with local limits based on room size. Families used to cramming 3-4 people into a room only authorized for 2-3, find themselves SOL and renting a 2nd or larger room simply based on head count.

This can be avoided by watching for a capacity cap on the room rather than an "extra person" upcharge.
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Old Mar 17, 17, 10:31 am
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Yes, the Regis in Mardvavall did this to me. 'Max occupancy 3 persons, fire rules, you need to book two rooms'. The fact that person number 4 was only 2 or 3 years old at the time didn't convince them one bit. I booked someplace else.
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