Travel Service Fees Will Cost You More [AUDIO]
Airlines aren't the only ones now charging fees for services that used to be free. Hotels are following suit charging fees for everything from parking and mini-bar restocking to faxes and wi-fi.
Hotels collected $1.85 billion in fees last year alone and that number is only expected to go up next year. But, industry insiders insist properties are not profiting from the additional costs, but are simply passing the cost of doing business on to consumers.
"Some of the fees are for services that have always been there, like parking for example. Resort fees started in about 1997 for towels, cabana boys and the like," said Joe McInerney, President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. "Now hotels are all required to put fees on their website and inform guests of them upon check-in. One problem we're running into is when travelers book through third parties and those parties aren't informing them of the fees."
"Some hotels charge for wi-fi, others don't. But, the broadband now has to be expanded to provide more bandwidth because people are bringing more devices with them and wanting to be on them all at the same time. In the United States, travelers are averaging roughly two pieces of equipment. In Germany, they're averaging three pieces," said McInerney. "Someone has to pay for that extra bandwidth because it's getting very expensive."
Occupancy also has increased over the past few months.
"We were at 61 percent occupancy prior to the economic downturn. We went down to 54 percent. We're up now to about 63 percent and that also means a lot more product has to be available in the marketplace. That costs money," said McInerney. "Every night we are selling more rooms than we have sold in the past."