Airlines made the change years ago and started charging for amenities that we all were used to receiving for free on each flight. Items like pillows, blankets, earbuds, and meals now come with a nice little fee that has earned the airlines an additional steady stream of income. Hotels have taken a page out of that revised business plan and started charging for amenities and services that were all once free or shall we say included in the nightly rate. Hotels made $2.5 billion in 2013 with these hidden fees.
A hotel that has a great reasonable/low rate more than likely is going to recoup some of that loss with these hidden fees. For example if you want to store your passport or jewelry in the in-room safe that’s now $1- $3 per night. Checking out at noon and need to store your luggage at the hotel? Well, that’s now a fee called ‘luggage handling’ and it is $1- $5 per bag. If you want to check-in early or check out late, some hotels are now charging $30 for that luxury.
And then there are the ‘mandatory resort fees!’ I started noticing these hidden hotel fees at a lot of family resorts and chain hotels lately. These fees can include: daily newspapers, local free calls, and use of the gym/business center, use of beach umbrellas & lounge chairs, and towels from the pool, especially if you take them back to your room. The main culprit is the ‘internet usage fee.’ They don’t point this out most of the time so you can pay for it again in your room. Double check and ask is wifi included in your mandatory resort fee. There’s no set fee for these and they range anywhere from $20 – $70 per hotel and yes this is a per night fee! BTW, you pay these whether you use the services or not. (Insert side eye here…lol)
Business travelers they didn’t forget you, they have special fees for you (lol). If you need to ship a package or presentation materials/supplies before you arrive, that’s anywhere between $10 and $70 per package. Need to print that revised presentation before your meeting that fee can be as much as $7.95 per page.
Tips to avoid hidden hotel fees…
- Do a little research, before you reserve a room at your favorite budget hotel. Visit their website or call and ask for disclosure of what’s exactly included in those ‘mandatory resort fees.’ Make a note of the person you talked to just in case you run into a problem.
- Know your rights! All fees must be disclosed at the time of check-in in the ‘reservation agreement.’ Read it carefully and if you discover that you’ve been billed a fee for something that is not in the agreement, bring it to the front desk clerks attention and ask for it to be removed.
- When in doubt, ask! “Is there a fee for this service?” Remember anything can be removed if you ask nicely.
- Prepare and pack! Make a list, check it twice and print extra copies of documents or presentations. Stop at a Walgreen’s or Walmart and get your snacks and drinks and avoid the mini bar restock fee.
- Discover what’s around you! Use your favorite app or ask the front desk clerk for a list of stores and service providers near the hotel. You never know how much you can save yourself by simply walking next door.
The best traveler is an informed traveler, know before you go!
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