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All Those Hidden Hotel Fees are Adding Up

August 27, 2014 at 12:04 PM | by | ()

Every so often, the mainstream media gets fired up about hidden hotel fees. This usually happens when it's revealed how much hotels are making off these miscellaneous yet maddening fees. This year it will be about $2.25 billion, according to a new NYU report.

Us, being both regular hotel guests and hotel trend watchers, have become somewhat accustomed, but no less outraged, to the random fees that pop up during a hotel stay.

Back in 2010 we detailed 10 Most Ridiculous Hotel Fees, included the heinous WiFi charges, the confusing room service charges and the annoying resort fees.

The next year, we followed that up with 5 Hotels That Are Acting Like Airlines with Extra Fees and made it clear we did not like the fees for making a reservation over the phone, nor the early check-in fee and certainly not the baggage storage fee.

Just last year, we uncovered more hidden fees, including the fee for the bottled water on the night stand, the towel at the pool and the safe in the closet. And soon after that, we were blindsided by a random newspaper charge. #GRR. Most recently, we uncovered another sinister type of fee creeping around London, the minimum spend fee during peak hours at the bar.

But hotels want to make money, so fees for things you would expect to be free have long been how they do business. The only way to avoid these fees is to assume that everything you use inside your hotel room, save for the water, towels, and toiletries, will cost extra. Study the little notes placed around the room by the hotel, whether it be the mini-bar menu, or the note about WiFi placed on the desk, to see if there is a charge and how much it will be.

And of course, if a fee pops up unexpectedly on your bill, head right down to the front desk to dispute it. Just make sure you know how to effectively complain to them.

[Photo: Cynthia Drescher/HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

Fees Are Fine

Fees are fine as long as they are not hidden or non-optional. It's fine to charge a resort fee IF I USE any of the resort features but not just to add it to my bill automatically. It's like Sprit airline which charges you for EVERYTHING which is fine but it's all upfront so you know.

Transparent Pricing @Motel One

The Motel One Group has addressed this growing concern of 'extras' that business travellers REALLY do NOT NEED or even USE while travelling.

We have a transparent pricing model that enables businesses to budget while allowing their travellers a designer-boutique hotel accommodation with a relaxing Living Room/Lobby lounge, 24-hour bar, a comfortable bed, a fantastic shower, FREE Wi-Fi and for 9.50 EU/GBP per person, a full continental buffet breakfast to last you through lunch.

Our pricing is up front, VAT/tax inclusive and with the exception of a few supplement dates (based on citywide events) no high/shoulder/low and no weekday/end pricing.

Check out our hotels at www.Motel-One.com or feel free to contact me directly.

Michael Black
Sales Manager
Motel One London-Tower Hill
Opening December 2014


getting the most out of fees

obviously that i hate fees goes without saying, but what makes me really annoyed is when hotels (deliberately?) don't tell you what is included in your resort fee or whatever, so you don't know how to take full advantage. for  instance, i've been somewhere before where a newspaper was part of the fee, but i never got one - turned out you had to go down and pick one up yourself, but nobody told me that.

at the parker palm springs, the resort fee includes free coffee or tea brought to your room in the morning, which is a pretty cool inclusion, but it took me till my third or fourth stay to know this, because nobody had told me before, and i am not sad enough to read the smallprint. this is when i get angry at hotels. if you're going to charge me $30 for internet and car parking and coffee, at least tell me exactly what it's for so i can get full advantage.

(now i stay alone at the parker but tell room service "coffee for two" every day just so i get my money's worth)

Pan Pacific Vancouver-minimal fees, great memories

Ouch!  That hurts!  The photo at the top of this article implies that the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel is one of the "Five Hotels That Are Acting Like Airlines With Extra Fees" (we aren't one of the hotels on the list!) and amongst the properties who charge "The 10 Most Ridiculous Hotel Fees" which the writer claims amount to $2.25 billion every year.

The reality is that Pan Pacific Vancouver charges very few of the fees mentioned.  We don't charge for early check-in or for storing baggage.  In fact, for our cruise ship passengers, we provide complimentary storage and free luggage transfers directly from their room to their cruise ship quarters.

Pan Pacific Vancouver certainly does not charge a fee for reservations made over the phone.  We encourage our guests to book with us directly by offering a best rate guarantee when they do so. We also offer complimentary WIFI in all our public areas.

At Pan Pacific Vancouver, we want our guests to have only pleasant surprises when they stay with us, so we are as transparent as possible regarding any charges.  Our daily newspapers are provided through a rebate agreement with the Globe & Mail which is outlined on our key cards and is frequently used by our guests.  We clearly indicate prices on the bottled water in the guestrooms and we have prices listed for WIFI and mini-bar contents on our in-room dining menus.

Pan Pacific Vancouver works very hard to provide guests with a memorable, first class, full service hospitality experience. The views, the furniture, the linens, the associates who greet and service our guests, the amenities in the bathrooms - we could go on and on - are all part of that experience and included in the rate charged to the guest.  As for the experience and memories we create for our guests, well, to borrow a phrase from Mastercard, those are "priceless".

Craig Norris-Jones
General Manager
Pan Pacific Vancouver

Newspaper charge

Thanks Craig for commenting here. Just to clarify, the Pan Pacific Vancouver was featured on this story for the newspaper charge, not the "5 hotels acting like airlines" story. We used this photo because the newspaper charge is one of those charges mentioned in the report about the hotel industry making about $2.25 billion in fees.