The hotels’ limitless creativity in inventing fees that will increase the price of your room

Hotels often add mandatory extras that you were not informed of to the price of your room to increase the cost of your stay. If some of them have, unfortunately, become commonplace, other very surprising ones show the creativity and greed of some hoteliers.

Hotel fees, the bane of the hotel industry

We have already talked to you about the practice of hotel fees, these compulsory supplements that you are not informed of at the time of booking and that can dramatically increase your final bill and that we find quite scandalous. Some chains such as Marriott have been condemned for this practice but the result is hardly more satisfactory: hotels must now disclose them at the time of booking whereas we think they have no reason to be and should simply be removed. But be careful: obviously this only concerns Marriott which has been condemned for this practice, nothing says that the other chains will do the same until they have been condemned in their turn.

This article is mainly an opportunity to list the differentfeesor supplements that we have heard about from our experience or from other travelers so that you can realize the level of creativity, bad faith and greed of which the hoteliers are capable within the scope of this nauseating practice.

Best of nauseating practices in terms of mandatory fees

Resort fee

We are so used to it that, like a poison that has been inoculated into us in small doses for years, we don’t even feel it anymore.

The principle is simple: to make you pay a supplement because of the infrastructures which the hotel places at your disposal. Swimming pool, spa, gym, beach… Of course you don’t have the choice: it’s not included in the price of the room, but once you’re there you’ll be charged a compulsory daily fee that can amount to several dozen euros, or even more than a hundred!

Finally logical, no?

But why is it that when I go to a hotel in New York, the pool is free but I have to pay for it at a resort in Miami? Because they take me for a fool.

Destination fee

A term that means absolutely nothing but is to conventional hotels what the resort fee is to resorts. Basically “we’re going to give you various benefits, you may or may not enjoy them, you may or may not want them, but you’re going to pay for them“.

This includes things like a welcome drink, discounts on spa treatments or restaurant meals (yes…you pay an additional fee that entitles you to discounts), free bottled water in your room (but one or two per day, no more), discounts at partner businesses…

Seasonal fee

You already pay a hotel/resort/destination fee? Yes, but in high season an extra fee is added to all this.

Damage waiver fee

In this case, you will be charged an extra fee so that if you cause any damage to your room, you will not have to pay for it (well, within a certain limit, don’t dream). Of course if you don’t cause any, you won’t get your money back.

Fridge fee

You bought a bottle of water outside and want to chill it in your bedroom fridge? You must pay for it!

Early check-in fee

Normally you should arrive at the hotel at a certain time. Are you arriving earlier? Well, you will have to pay an extra fee.

I would be tempted to say that if the room is ready it is ready otherwise the customer waits, but no. If it is ready and you arrive early you still pay!

Some even charge an “early check-in fee” if the room is not ready to discourage you from arriving early and cluttering up the front desk while departing guests are checking out.

Mail and parcel fee

During long trips or business trips, it is possible to have mail sent to the hotel. Fortunately, this is less and less common since many years with the development of email and digital means of communication.

On the other hand, parcel delivery is booming and we can all understand why, during a trip, we may need an urgent Amazon delivery.

Mail or parcel, it doesn’t matter: you will be charged for having something dropped off for you at the reception. Of course it will not be delivered to your room, it will be up to you to pick it up.

Historical commitment fee

Our hotel is a historic building and we want to preserve it, so you will pay extra for that. What does this include? Nothing to do with the preservation of the building, it is a destination fee like any other. But since in the hotel in question the destination fees are offered to the members of the loyalty program and not to the others, changing the name also allows to make the loyal customers pay.

Supplement for additional occupant

You can have a child in your room for free, but if you want a third adult in a room for two you will have to pay extra.

Will the room be bigger? No. An extra bed? No, you’ll be fine with your two queen size. Will the housekeeping be more complicated? Not either.

Wifi fee

Yes we are in 2023 and wifi is free almost everywhere except in hotels. In 2005 I understood that, not today.

The reason? A simple matter of devaluing loyalty programs ! By making everybody pay for the wifi and offering it to the members of the loyalty program (no matter what their status is) they get a benefit that doesn’t cost anything (since the wifi is there anyway) but since the others pay for it it’s a benefit for the loyal customer.

Parking fee

Some hotels do not charge you for parking, others do and at prices that are often prohibitive. In addition, you have to give a tip to the vallet parking, the person who takes care of your car.

Gym fee

Sometimes you will be charged for access to the gym and sometimes even in addition to the resort fee!

Housekeeping gratuity surcharge

There are countries where tipping is the norm. But whether or not you tip the housekeeper, some hotels will automatically add it to your bill and it can be as much as 10% of the room rate.

As for knowing if the cleaning lady will actually get the money…

Spa gratuity

Of course if you have a treatment at the hotel spa you pay for it. But sometimes, as with housekeeping, you will find the tip on your bill, whether you gave one or not.

Telephone surcharge

With the generalization of the cell phone and wifi we tend to forget this one. But some hotels charge you extra on top of the price of the phone conversation!

Unless you can’t do otherwise, never call from your hotel room.

And I’m sure we missed some nuggets!

A fortunately localized practice

Fortunately for us these practices are mainly found in North America, especially in the USAThis is a country where the hotel industry has long forgotten the meaning of the word hospitality (which is the name of the business), where the service is certainly among the worst in the world and where customer orientation has long since disappeared.

For the record, this represents 1 billion dollars per year! And if you want to know, before you book, if you’re in for a nasty surprise when you check out, this app lists the different fees for each hotel.

Bottom line

When it comes to sucking the customer’s money and taking him for a fool, North American hotels show a know-how that we would like to see them put to better use in the service of the customer experience. This was just a fast overview of what some are capable of, for amounts that can sometimes exceed 150 euros per night or even exceed the price of the room!

Unfortunately the practice is not ready to disappear and if it becomes difficult to hide these mandatory fees at the time of booking as it was the case until now their pure and simple suppression is not on the agenda.

Frankly, if you want nice hotels and service, Asia is much better.

What about you? Have you ever had surprises like this when it comes to settling the bill at the end of your stay?

Image : resort fee by via shutterstock

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrin
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.

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