What irks travelers even more than having to pay the growing number of hotel fees is the fact that they may not even know about them until they’ve already booked the room, or worse, are presented with their bill. So you need to do your due diligence and find out ahead of time what to expect.
When searching online for hotel rooms, especially through deal sites, travelers can easily be taken in by the deceptively low advertised rates without being aware there’s more to the cost than meets the eye.
“Hidden” charges or incidentals aren’t typically rolled into the cost of a hotel room when booking through online service providers, and if you’re not paying attention, you could be in for a surprise when you’re handed the bill at checkout.
When booking online make sure you have an accurate representation of what your stay will really cost. It’s also a good idea to read your agreement thoroughly at check-in before you sign.
In the minds of some hotel management teams the fees are a way to give guests what they want and not charge them for what they don’t, so hotel fees will not be going away anytime soon. One way to avoid extra fees and surcharges is be part of a loyalty programme which typically offers fee waivers.
Some hotels will structure offerings that are both reasonable to the consumer while adding value. The number and variety of hotel surcharges will likely taper off, but the number of hotels charging fees will increase, as will the amount of the fees being charged.
Additional person fee
To prevent being overrun by large groups of people trying to share the same room, the hotel management often charges an additional fee for each person who occupies the room per night.
Early check-in fee
If you arrive at your destination early, ask your hotel whether you’ll be charged for accessing your room before the regular check-in time.
Early check-out fee
You may also be charged the full cost of the duration of your booking if you shortened your vacation unexpectedly.
Hotels often charge these fees to encourage customers to follow through on filling the rooms that they’ve booked; otherwise, hotels have to bear the cost of an unforeseen vacancy.
Internet access may seem like a basic feature when staying at a hotel, but plenty of properties still charge customers for it.
Parking is often a standard separate charge in large cities, where space is at a premium. But be aware that you may also have to pay for parking or valet service in smaller or suburban properties too.
Baggage holding fees
If you need to stash your luggage away in a holding area, you sometimes may be charged baggage storage fees.
Pool towels fees
Some hotels charge a deposit to use pool towels and a request for a towel at the pool could cost you extra particularly if you take it back to your room.
Before you assume the shuttle from the airport to your hotel is free, be sure to confirm this as some hotels charge a fee for this usually complimentary service.
There are many fees associated with minibars, even if you don’t eat or drink any of the drinks or snacks inside. Picking up an item and putting it back can trigger the minibar’s sensors, immediately adding the price of the item to your bill. On sensitive machines, even jostling minibar items as you add your own items to the fridge can incur a charge.
Before picking up the receiver, study your hotel’s list of telephone charges carefully. Some hotels may charge for local and toll-free calls, while others do not. You may occasionally be charged simply for dialing, even if your call is never connected.
The service charge is set by the hotel and they differ from hotel management company to another.
Taxes are no huge surprise to most travelers as hotels often pass on these mandatory charges straight from the local government down to hotel guests.