«

»

Apr
28

Hidden Fees Part III

Hotels

resorts

resorts

Sadly, for those terrified of hidden fees, you can’t even rest here, either. Like airlines, hotels have been in on the game of hidden fees for some time. And they managed to be quite profitable from it.

In recent years, hotels have become increasingly adept at finding ways to nickel and dime their customers. An audit conducted by PriceWaterHouseCooper’s Hospitality Division, concluded that hotels are gorging themselves on surcharges and hidden fees. For most of us, it’s a few extra charges here and there, that we’ll roll our eyes at $10 for towel replacement, $25 for grounds upkeep, $20 for the resort fee, but not start a screaming match with the manager. Yes, on their own they are small charges and offensive to be sure but they continue the theme of being reamed while on the road, which we’ve all grown so used to.

It’s become quite a business, too, these $4 bottles of water. Hotels worldwide will rake in nearly $4 billion in surcharges and hidden fees, more than doubling the $2 billion they took in just four years ago. And they’re all so blasé about it, as though hidden fees are really fees we have to pay.

minibar fever

minibar fever

Is there any way around them? Well, yes. There’s transparency, which is never too pretty in the light of day. You can ask your hotel concierge to break down your impending hotel bill, on which you might find:

Early check in or out/extended cancellation
Checked in earlier than the hotel’s stated check-in time? You may be billed up to $50 for that early access. Had to leave sooner than planned? Expect to be charged anywhere from $50 to the cost of one night’s stay. And make sure to check the cancellation policy: Hotels that used to allow you to cancel the same day before 6 p.m. are now billing customers for one night’s stay if they don’t cancel 48 hours ahead of time.

Shuttle service
Taking the hotel shuttle from the airport used to be free, but it’s likely to cost you now, and almost as much as taking a cab to your lodgings.

hotel airport shuttle

hotel airport shuttle

Baggage-holding
Travelers with late-day flights often ask hotels to store their bags so they can enjoy another vacation day before heading to the airport. Some hotels are now charging up to $3 for each bag they babysit for the day.

Bartenders
Check the bill before you tell the bartender to keep the change. Posters on several travel boards have reported seeing charges for 20% of each drink added to their tabs for the bartender gratuity.

Hotel Bartenders

Hotel Bartenders

Room block fees
You’d like to reserve a bunch of rooms, all on one floor, for a family reunion or other event? No problem, because some hotels will be happy to bill you $10-$20 for that service.

Mini-Bar
No, it’s not the insane prices charged for those goodies, it’s the charges that are now added to your bill if you move something in the bar to make room for your own bottle of water, or even pick something up to look at it for a few seconds (sensors in the bar record your action and add the product’s fee to your room bill.) Some travelers who’ve routinely asked for the mini-bar to be cleared out before their arrival have been surprised by $50 “unstocking” fees.

Smoking in a non-smoking?

Some people have complained that they never smoked at all and were charged a cleaning fee of $100 to $250, sometimes more. Other random fees include being charged for unordered movies, unmade phone calls, etc.

Groundskeeping
Who is going to scream about the roses? Especially when it’s $3-4 a night?  Right? And all that air you’re getting for free from the trees?

keeping up the grounds

keeping up the grounds

Towels
Pool towels can be $1 to $2 a pop and if you forget and take it to your room with you, it’s  $5 for the restocking fee.

Business center, fitness room
Even if you never venture into the business center or gym, if the hotel has it, you could be charged for it. Fees typically run $5 – $10 a day. At resorts, this is typically called the “resort fee.”

fitness center

fitness center

Safe
Hotels are tacking $1-$3 dollar a night “Safe Warranty” fees onto bills to cover the cost of providing the safe and the insurance policy that covers the things stored in it. (Good luck collecting anything if that in-room safe is burgled though, as most hotels post signs disclaiming responsibility for valuables.)

Housekeeping, bellman gratuity fees
Fees of $10-$30 a stay are being added to some hotel bills to cover housekeeping and bellman gratuities, I’d hazard a guess, this doesn’t go into their pockets.

Water and newspapers
DON’T TOUCH THAT BOTTLE OF WATER!!! Chances are it’s not a gift and you will be billed anywhere from $4-$6 a bottle. The newspaper that shows up at your door in the morning? Expect to be billed for the “convenience.”

don't touch!

don't touch!

Energy surcharge
Intended to recover the rising costs of providing electrical power, this charge can add $3-$6 dollars a day to your bill.

Now here’s the part where I’m supposed to give you the top ten ways to BEAT the HIDDEN FEES and I wanted to, I did. I know it’s expected of me, but all I want to say is STOP BEING SO DANG CHEAP.

While researching this pieces, I was blown away by all the so-called travel savvy tips like:

  1. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STAY AWAY FROM THE MINI-BAR!!!
  2. BUY A BELLMAN BUSTER, CARRY YOUR OWN LUGGAGE!!
  3. SCOPE OUT ALL SURROUNDING DINERS –DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT ROOM SERVICE
  4. DON’T USE THE GYM OR THE POOL SO YOU CAN TOTALLY GET OUT OF PAYING THE RESORT FEE
  5. DON’T LOOK AT THE FLOWERS EITHER. IN FACE, YOU SHOULD TELL THEM THAT YOU SAW NOT A SINGLE FLOWER WHILST THERE
  6. SAVE THE THREE BUCKS, CARRY YOUR BAG WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES

I mean, come on, people. What’s a few extra bucks? Why not enjoy the resort, the towels, the bellmen? Why not try letting your guard down for a day or two, it’s so worth the extra few bucks you might incur. Enjoy room service, breakfast in bed. Isn’t that the whole point of travel, even work-related travel, to make the most of where you are? We’ve become so obsessed with price hotels have no choice but to slip stuff in because they’re being haggled to death on room prices.

Anyway, I personally think you’ll be better at work and at home if you just let your guard down and stop searching for where you’re getting screwed.  In the scheme of things, what’s a few bucks anyway?

And for those of you who get a rash just looking at the mini-bar here you go:

1. Be aware of your rights. According to federal law, hotels must post information about such fees “clearly and conspicuously.” If extra fees aren’t clearly stated in the reservation conditions when you book online or over the phone, you should inform the hotel they are violating the law and ask for the charges to be removed. Obviously you now need to read the fine print conditions when you book online, and should ask if any extra fees are billed when you book over the phone.

2. If you’re not using the service you’re being charged for, ask to have it removed from your bill. Some hotels remove fees for safes, business/fitness centers, newspapers, and gratuities from your bill. If the latter, explain that you’ve already tipped the staff (assuming you have). The practice of “negative option billing” — the legal name for fees billed without your express permission — is based on the assumption that you’ve used the service and have therefore implied you agree to the charge. If you don’t and haven’t, the hotel should remove it from your bill.

3. Look at your bill before you check out, and question any unexpected charges. If you’re your card is automatically charged before you receive the bill, look it over as soon as possible and contact the hotel if you see any charges you think are unfair. It’s often best to query charges in writing, either via mail or email, so you have a record of what happened should you need to get your credit card issuer involved, or opt to take legal action.

4. Vote with your wallet. Stay at hotels that charge a fair rate for a room and facilities, rather than a bogus low rate which they then jacked up with an assortment of dubious additional fees.

Tell us what do you think? Let go and have a little fun or stay on top of all hidden fees, fight tooth and nail NOT to be taken advantage of? At the end of the day what makes YOU  sleep better, letting go, or getting even?

Do write in and tell….

If your airpods or charging case get damaged phone spy by http://topspying.com accidentally, you can pay an out-of-warranty fee

Flights - Hotels - Vacations - Cars - Cruises - Last Minute - Travel Guides - Airport Guides - City Guides

© 2002-2011 Best Travel Store All Rights Reserved.