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We all know about those irritating “resort fees” that hotels list separately from the room rate, but are mandatory whether you use the included services or not. But apparently resort fees are just the tip of the iceberg these days, as more and more hotels come up with new hotel fees for amenities and services that used to be free.
That’s according to a new report from Bjorn Hanson, a professor at NYU’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism who tracks hotel industry trends.
Hanson reports that some of the newer hotel surcharges are: an early check-in fee; a charge to guarantee a specific type of room or room location; fees for holding onto your bag after you check out of your room but before you leave; and charges for unattended parking on lots surrounding suburban hotels.
These are in addition to fees we’ve seen creeping onto hotel bills lately such early departure fees, reservation cancellation fees, fees for sending or receiving packages or faxes, room service delivery charges (in addition to the tip), and automatic staff gratuities.
The travel industry website Skift.com recently noted that guests at the Bellagio in Las Vegas who want to make sure they get a nonsmoking room, a high floor, a pool view and so on can pay up to $30 a night extra for the privilege. (For some reason, Las Vegas hotels seem to be at the vanguard of the fee movement.)
As the airline industry has learned in recent years, most of the revenue from added fees goes straight to the bottom line: “Fees and surcharges are highly profitable,” Hanson says. “Many have incremental profitability of 80 to 90 percent or more of the amounts collected.”
His research indicates that hotel fees collected have doubled in the past decade, from $1.2 billion in 2004 to almost $2.4 billion in 2014.
The Federal Trade Commission has warned hoteliers that all mandatory fees must be disclosed up-front, but it has never taken any action to prohibit or regulate them. Hanson notes that by separating out various mandatory fees from the room rate, the hotel industry also avoids paying local hotel taxes on the amount collected.
Readers: What hotel fee irritates you the most? How do you handle it when charged a fee you don’t like? Please leave your comments below.
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