CBS News reports that hotels are copying the airline industry by adding additional fees and charges on everything humanly possible including room coffee and room safes.
The hotel industry will book a new record amount of $2.55 billion in fees and surcharges this year. This is an increase of 4 percent from 2015 and a massive increase of almost 60 percent from a decade ago. The increases come from the rise of a suddenly broad selection of extra fees introduced by hotels and resorts over the last several years. CBS News also notes how this is documented by a new study from Bjorn Hanson, a professor at New York University’s School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.
The standard in-room coffee maker is/was a long-time amenity included in the price of the room. Some hotels are now charging their guests for using the room coffee pots, including New York City’s Empire Hotel, a boutique hotel near Lincoln Center. One complaint found in its reviews on Trip Advisor are “fees for everything,” according to one guest. That includes a $3 charge for using in-room Keurig machines. Marriott (MAR) has gotten heat from some guests who complain about parking fees for hotels outside of urban settings.
While hotel fees and surcharges aren’t exactly front page news, they have been introduced at a rapid rate in recent years. According to Hanson’s research, the types of fees and surcharges that travelers may now face include:
- fees to “guarantee” a type of room, such as a King bed
- early check-in fees
- charges for unattended parking in suburban locations
- baggage holding fees
- “resort” fees
- early departure fees
- reservation cancellation fees related to timing of cancellation
- internet fees
- telephone call surcharges
- some business center fees, such as receiving overnight packages
- room service delivery surcharges
- mini-bar restocking fees
- charges for in-room safes
- automatic gratuities and surcharges for other than all-inclusive resorts
Travelers are frequently surprised by these types of fees. Hanson stated that they are often disclosed on hotel websites, in confirmation emails, or in the room via service binders. Charges can vary for different hotel properties within a chain. One Marriott may not charge for unattended parking, while another may charge $10 or more per day. That happened at the chain’s suburban Quincy, Massachusetts, location.
A recent guest at the Marriott Quincy location noted on TripAdvisor. “They nickel and dime you on everything here — parking is $10 a night, breakfast is not included, and wifi is not free except in the lobby. What hotel does not offer free wifi in this day and age?!?”
CBS News mentions that Marriott didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
Before booking a hotel travelers should research the property’s site for information on extra charges. Checking reviews on sites like TripAdvisor can also provide a realistic idea of what charges might end up on your bill.
Wifi has been a contentious issue for hotel guests for years. Hotels.com observes that expensive hotels are becoming less likely to offer free wifi. With mobile devices becoming more common travelers increasingly feel wifi should be complimentary. Marriott ended up in hot water over this issue with the FCC charging them with blocking customers from using their personal wifi hotspots. Marriott settled the charge.
There are times when joining a hotel’s loyalty program will allow a guest to access free wifi. Before going on vacation or a business trip, it makes sense to investigate fees and ask if a loyalty program will erase some of the extra charges.
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