The hotel industry sure plummeted during the global recession, but quickly found a way to get back on track. In 2012, hoteliers collected approximately $1.95 billion in additional surcharges and fees. As if a few mandatory fees are not enough, more outrageous hotel surcharges are added to the list every year.
According to a study released by New York University professor Bjorn Hanson, the hotel industry is breaking its record by charging customers $2.25 billion in surcharges and fees. This practice is not new since hotels started charging for hot water, towels, and even a penny for each ride in the hotel elevator way back in the 1990s. According to hoteliers, this is a great strategy to keep their doors open.
Airport shuttle, for example, is usually free, but some hotels are starting to collect fees for this service. Also, beware of “complimentary” drinks and snacks. Bottled water already costs over $5 in hotels. These are normally served on your hotel desk so beware!
The hotel industry has found a way to make these services seem more than what they’re really worth. “Be extra-attentive,” Hanson warns travelers.
Cancellations have different fees depending on hotel policies, no matter how early you do it. Even if your plans have changed and you need to check in early or check out late, you have to pay for that.
Due to the rising energy cost, the “energy surcharge” was born so don’t be surprised when you see this on your next bill. Hotel golf courses and lawns may look appealing, but some hotels charge for groundskeeping surcharges.
Even if you are not planning to open that in-room safe you actually never needed, hotels will still charge you $1 – $3 simply by having it in your room. And while most coffee shops offer free Internet everywhere, hotels charge for the use of their high-speed Wi-Fi services, per minute or per day. You have to pay per device, too! So if you’re using the laptop and someone else in the room is using an iPad for the internet, you’re paying double.
Now that’s a lot! But we’re not done counting yet. The in-room minibar is a great hotel amenity not until the items in it turned into potato mines. If you don’t want to pay for it, you have to be extra careful. Because there are sensitive machines, your bill will keep adding up even when you accidentally nudged an item. Even adding your own food in the minibar can incur fees. You think it’s safer to request the minibar to be emptied before your arrival? Think twice unless you want to be charged a “restocking” fee.
Also, receiving and mailing packages now cost up to $25 per package. Guests have to pay for luggage holding, too. Don’t forget the mandatory valet which normally costs $25, plus the tip, of course.
If you like to pay for extra convenience, Las Vegas is the place for you. Avoiding the long lines, early check in, and late check out cost $30 each. If you want a specific type of bed or a certain room, get them for $30.
A lot of travelers are frustrated with these changes. However, there are ways you can avoid these unnecessary fees. When in doubt, it’s okay to ask hotel personnels. Also, doing your research ahead of time will save you from surcharges and hidden fees.