Are you nickel and diming your guests away?

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I donâ€â„¢t know about you, but nothing about travel these days burns me as much as unexpected, and therefore, irritating, hotel fees and surcharges. If these multiplying add-ons burn me (and Iâ€â„¢m an industry advocate, of sorts), you can imagine how they are burning your guests.

PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts that the lodging industry will generate $1.6 billion in fees and surcharges this year, a seven percent increase over the $1.4 billion generated in 2005. Check out a few of the charges PwC anticipates for â€â„¢06: mini-bar restocking charges, in-room safe surcharges, room set/re-set charges, energy surcharges, resort amenities fees, early departure and arrival charges, baggage holding fees, automatic gratuities/surcharges for housekeepers, bellmen and doormen, master folio billing fees.

Yes, I understand business is booming, but itâ€â„¢s cyclical. I would think hotels would jump at the chance of cultivating loyalty and good will that serves them well when times inevitably get tough again, rather than bidding farewell with a lasting poor impression.

I know I, as a customer, would much rather have the fee added upfront onto my daily quoted room rate than be negatively surprised, at checkout. Are you reeling in customers up front on rate, only to risk losing them on the backend?

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