WSJ Catches Hotels Piling on Fees

In a new article posted on the Wall Street Journal’s website, the author catches hotels piling on extra fees to make up for a loss in room revenue.  Some of the fees that they have found are mandatory valet parking fees, increased resort fees, housekeeping and bellman mandatory gratuities, and other fees such as a mandatory fee for in-room safes.

Should you be adding fees like these to make up for a loss in room revenues?  Absolutely not.

First off, mandatory fees are often illegal.  The article describes how Wyndham Worldwide and Marriott were sued and settled with Florida’s Attorney General over adding mandatory surcharges.  The Florida AG also has six ongoing investigations.  Undisclosed energy surcharges (we all remember those) and in-room safe fees are among the issues being investigated.

Second, it is a pretty short-sighted plan to increase revenues by upsetting guests… or should we say soon-to-be former guests.  Check out the comment section on the article.  One commenter says that ‘I have been a loyal Marriott customer but this disgusts me’.  Another commenter says ‘I do not really understand why hotels do this.  How many guests leave thinking to themselves I will never stay here again’.  Another commenter says ‘I’ve been successfully fighting these hotel surcharges for years’.  Finally, another  commenter cracks everyone up with ‘last week I had a phone charge for calling room service.’  Ok, that is pretty funny.

What ‘fees’ make sure that we never become a repeat guest?

Mandatory gratuities or service charges – Hey, if I want to give a tip I will give a tip.

Fees for internet access – Those of us with cell phones with built-in Wi-Fi know that free internet access is everywhere.  There is no way that I would ever pay $12.95 a day for it unless my company reimbursed me and I didn’t like my company.

Resort fees – $30 bucks a day for local phone calls and use of the fitness center?  I have a cell phone and I am on vacation.  There is no way that I am using the fitness center.

Any fee that comes with poor service – In-room dining and valet parking are the top two for us.  The service is often poor in those areas and the fees are incredible.

We really believe that these ‘hidden fees’ are really short-sighted and bad for your future business.  Stay away from them if you can!