Fee ripoff

Today’s Washington Post has an article on Travel Fees Hotels around the country have historically experimented with an assortment of fees and charges with a view to garnering the extra buck while claiming to be offering a lower rate. The extras include a in-room safety deposit fee (no choice on removing the safety deposit box as they are usually moored to the closet), mini-bar restocking fee whether or not anything is taken from the minibar and the old chestnut – a luggage restocking fee. Not many hoteliers bother to check with their operations staff or their marketing data (on repeat guests) as to how these charges wash down with guests. The short answer is that they don’t and customers almost always feel ripped-off. The short term gain almost always results in a long term loss of market share. A hotelier (limited service) I met from Orlando once proudly recounted to me how he charged a service fee of $2.00 to every room night, claiming that paid for all his “business-class” tickets when he traveled.

The Washington Post article refers to airlines as pioneers in the “a la carte” pricing method. It is hard to imagine that passengers are thrilled to see an assortment of fees tacked on to their ticket. Hotels will be ill-served to emulate the airline example.

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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