Maybe it is just a sign of the weakening economy, but the major news outlets are attacking hotel hidden charges this summer.Just last week, I saw two different morning news channels run pieces on how to avoid hidden hotel fees. This article has appeared in the main section on MSN as well.
Hotels have been notorious for high fees since the beginning of time. Who doesn’t know that picking up a phone in the hotel room is disastrous for your wallet? I remember once staying at a resort and calling to reserve a time to go horseback riding. The hotel charged over $18 for the 2 minute phone call…. and the horse stable was on the resort’s property!
How badly do these ‘hidden fees’ impact your guest service? More than you can imagine. The $18 phone call was almost 10 years ago and I am still a bit bitter today. The real reason for my anger was that not only was I taken for $18 but then I was insulted when I asked about the fee at check out. The snobby GSA responded with ‘phone calls come at a real premium at the resort.’
Charges for parking, internet access, phone calls and resort fees are part of hotel life. How can your hotel charge the fees without hurting guest service?
Be sure to inform guests in advance of the fees. If your hotel charges resort fees or parking fees, be sure that your website and email confirmation notifies the guest of these fees. For in room fees such as internet and phone calls be sure the charges are stated in the guest directory.
Don’t rub the fees in your guest’s face. Having a guest initial and sign that they know about the parking charge is poor service. The guest already saw the fee on the website, on their email confirmation, and on the giant sign when they arrived at the hotel. Anything more than that is just rubbing it in.
When a guest complains about the fees, just remove them. If the guest already paid $219 for the room charge and is really that upset about the parking fee, just remove it. Make sure that all GSAs are trained in how to handle complaints by listening, empathizing, apologizing, and providing a solution.
Make sure the service that you provide matches the amount of the hidden fee. Hotels typically charge a $4 delivery charge and an automatic 20 percent gratuity on room service. However, room service is typically one of the largest areas of dissatisfaction in a hotel. Hotels often charge around $20 for valet parking but they do not provide anymore service than the free valet parking at most restaurants.