Everything You Wanted to Know about Hidden Hotel Fees, but were Afraid to Ask!

There was a time when you could stay at a hotel and know exactly what your final bill would be. Well those days are definitely a thing of the past. In today’s world a hotel wants to provide everything for their guests and that really is where it all starts. Of course a hotel wants each and every guest to feel special and have everything they want at their fingertips. And of course feeling special and having access to additional services and amenities does come at a cost.

Hidden hotel fees no matter what they represent can be extremely frustrating. Especially when it comes to budgets and budgeting. In the last ten or so years it seems the fees in our industry have definitely skyrocketed. And I get it, the hospitality industry is always hit hard and sometimes for the sake survival there is no choice.

Beware of the Hidden Hotel Fees

In a new series, www.mastertheevent.com will highlight and address the various hidden hotel fees found when it comes to doing business in the meetings and conventions industry. For our first installment we are addressing the dreaded hotel fees and what there all about.

Cancellation Charges: Be sure to read the fine print and know your hotel’s cancellation policy. Some properties will charge nothing but some will charge a penalty of at least a minimum of a room night if reservations are cancelled outside their cancellation guidelines.

Airport Hotel Shuttle Service: Gone are the days when shuttle service from the airport to the hotel was free. These days, airport hotel shuttle service can at times be complimentary but most likely will come with a charge. So to ensure there are no surprises, check with you hotel.

Early Check-in and Check-out Fees: Looking to check-in early or check-out later from your room? Depending on the property, some hotels will charge a fee of up to the cost of one night, should your plans change and you need to check-in earlier or check out later in the day.

Automatic Service Charges & Gratuities: Prior to handing out any gratuities and tips check with the property to find out if a service charge or gratuity will automatically be added to your bill. Some hotels may charge a per day or per stay service charge for housekeeping, bellman or other services.

Safe Charges: Whether the in-room safe is used or not, hotels are in the practice of charging guests, just for the honor of having an in-room safe. Apparently a safe fee is meant to be not only for the safe but the content insurance as well. But rumor has it hotels put up signs relinquishing any and all responsibility. So beware!

Minibar Fees: There are lots of various fees when it comes to enjoying a hotel minibar. At some properties not only do you pay to have an item (of course) from the minibar but you are required to pay a fee to restock said item. With some hotels just picking something up, trying to make room for your own items or even moving things around will automatically trigger the sensors and ultimately add the cost to your hotel bill. And don’t think by asking for the mini bar items to be removed prior to arrival will eliminate fees, as travellers that did have been stunned to see a restocking fee on their bill when they checked out.

Telephone Fees: The best piece of advice when it comes to hotels and telephone usage starts with before you do anything, and I mean anything check your room for the telephone list of charges. While some hotels don’t charge for local or toll free calls others do. And really who wants to pay some outrageous amount for a local call when you can easily go a different route at half the cost.

Energy Surcharges: Hotels endeavor to tackle the increased energy fees and now many hotels do indeed pass on an energy surcharge. This cost can average anywhere between $3.00 to $13.00 a day, depending on the property and location. When a property adds on an energy surcharge that you were never informed about do not hesitate to ask to have it removed.
Bottled Water: Think before you drink when it comes to that indicing bottled water. We think “how nice” but in reality it can cost anywhere between $4.00 and $7.00. If not sure if an item is “complimentary” or not, then just call the front desk before digging in.

Internet Fees: The majority of hotels and resorts provide internet access, especially properties that accommodate the business traveller. Costs can differ depending on the hotel, brand and service, while some hotels provide internet access on a complimentary basis others lead you to believe internet access is free however once you arrive you find out there is in fact a fee.

Luggage: If you need the hotel to hold on to your luggage after you check out, no problem, but be aware it usually comes at a cost. They’ll do it but be prepared to shell out anywhere from $2.00 – $5.00 per bag.

Parking Charges: Remember the good old days when parking at a hotel was always free. These days the majority of hotels especially those located in big cities charge a daily parking fee. Ask questions and know the costs before you’re on your way. Parking charges can add up and again depending on the property parking fees can cost anywhere from $15.00 – $50.00 per night.

Resort & Towel Fees: A resort fee is meant to cover the bonus services and amenities and the charge can be anywhere from $10.00 – $75.00 per day. And can include use of the gym, pool, business center, receive a daily newspaper, housekeeping, “complimentary” local phone calls and other public facilities, whether you use these services or not. And before you say yes to those pool towels, remember an extra pool towel can cost you at least an additional dollar or so.

Do we have a leg to stand on with hidden hotel fees? What drives us travelers crazy with hidden hotel fees is being unaware of them until arrival or even check-out. Understandably hotels want to provide guests with the ultimate experience offering everything they need and want and only charging for what is used. No matter what we think about hidden hotel fees they are here to stay. So do your research, know what awaits and ask questions, before checking out always, always look at your final bill and if you are charged for services you do not use have it taken off your bill.

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