Check-out is usually between 11am-12pm: Hotels know there's 0% probability every guest will stay in their room up to check-out time, and rely on the early-outs to ensure more rooms are available earlier for arriving guests). Depending on the size of the hotel, housekeeping is either 24/7 (usually in hotel/resorts with 1000+ rooms) or starts between 8am-9am in smaller hotels. Because there are always guests who depart earlier than check-out time, housekeepers come in early AM, start with these rooms, and then move down their list of due-outs.
Put That DND On The Door: ANY ROOM DUE-OUT WITHOUT A DND (Do Not Disturb)IS FAIR GAME, whether it's 9:30am or check-out time. Use it if you don't want to be disturbed. They're there for guests to enjoy their privacy. Help hotel staff out and use them. Don't be surprised next time you receive a knock in the morning if you forgot the DND. Housekeepers, in general, are simply trying to work as efficiently as possible and have no intention of disturbing guests.
One-Knock Rule? Definitely Not Acceptable: Most hotel companies have a mandatory two-knock, three-announcement rule.They must knock twice and say "housekeeping" and upon entering the room again announce themself in case the guest didn't hear them from outside the room. They should never assume the guest heard them and should always make their presence known so as not to scare or disturb them.
When Rules Will Be Broken: "Breaking a DND" (ie hotel staff ignoring the DND sign and proceeding into the room anyway) is a huge industry-wide No-No! The ONLY exceptions to this are: [a] when a guest is due out, and stays in their room beyond check-out time without having been granted a late-out, they are no longer entitled to privacy (as they should be gone already), and the DND may be broken or [b] if a long-stay guest has refused service for multiple consecutive days of stay. Depending on various state laws, we are required to perform "welfare checks" to ensure the well-being and safety of our guests. Have you ever had your DND on for a few days, and subsequently received a call from a Housekeeping manager asking about your stay? What may seem like an innocent inquiry regarding your visit is really a welfare check to get the guest on the phone and communicating with the hotel that all is OK.
Double Lock Your Door: You should always do this. This will prevent anyone from coming in, and housekeeping staff keys do not have the authority to override the double-lock /deadbolt.
Well! We certainly feel a bit sheepish and yet empowered for our next hotel stay. (Even though just last week we had a housekeeper who knocked 3 TIMES even with our DND on and was told of our late check-out? Blah! Okay, exception the rule, we know!) We'll put all of these tips to use and are no longer convinced every housekeeper is out to catch us in the nuddie pants. Thanks, Wunderkind!