Hidden hotel fees could add up to more than $1.8 billion


Hotels are now charging a minibar restocking fee in addition to charging for the items in the minibar. Image: Flickr / James Fraleigh / CC-BY-SA

The hotel industry is one that most of us patronize only occasionally. For many travelers, the proliferation of new hotel fees are proving very surprising. Here are the most common new fees and how to avoid them.

An extra $800 million in fees

The hotel industry, in 2001, generated about $1 billion in add-on fees and services that were, at one point, included with the cost of a room. In 2011, that figure is expected to clock in a record profit of $1.8 billion. This additional $800 million is expected to come from fees for early cancellations, housekeeping, room-service gratuities, even holding luggage or re-stocking the minibar.

Where new fees are appearing

The new fees at many hotels are showing up in two places: for things and for services the hotel provides. Some of the things you might start to see fees for:

  • Extra towels in your room or at the pool
  • Toiletries – of any kind or additional
  • The safe in your room, whether you use it or not
  • Newspapers delivered to your room, or even at the front desk

Many new fees are appearing, automatically added for your bill, for services. These include services that traditionally garner tips, such as:

  • Housekeeping gratuity
  • Bartender or service gratuity
  • Restocking the in-room minibar
  • Holding baggage at the front desk after check-out
  • Cancellation of your reservation, up to three days before the stay

Protect yourself from the fees

Unlike the airline industry, hotels are not required to publish all “add-on fees” or final prices on their websites or in advertising. Instead, much of the final cost of a hotel may not appear until the final bill is handed to you at the front desk. Try calling the hotel directly before making a reservation and asking about final cost. Also try researching travelers websites. Request to pre-pay your bill when you check in, and carefully look over every line item before signing off on the charges.


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