First the Airlines, Now the Hotels Are Nicking Us.

The late Senator Everett Dirkson of Illinois, famous for his deep voice and a manner of speaking that bordered on pomposity, is probably best remembered for a remark attributed to him, “A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking real money!”

Well, $2.25 billion is a significant chunk of change. That’s the estimated amount of money hotels in this country are going to be raking in this year from add-on fees. They have taken a page from the airlines’ book, you see, and are finding ways to extract a few extra bucks from us … after we’ve accepted the room rate.

 Check it out the next time you book a room on line. You settle on the standard room, then up pops a new page that says if you really MUST have two queen beds, they’ll be happy to guarantee that’s what you’ll get … for an additional fee of $10 or $15 a night.

My pet peeve is finding out that the internet connection in the room is going to cost me an additional $17.95 a day. The  NARP board member responsible for, among many other things, negotiating with the hotels in the various cities where we hold our semi-annual meetings insists that there be no charge for accessing the internet.
Of course, there’s also the notorious mini-bar, which has always been a rip-off with prices three or four time what the item would cost you at the neighborhood convenience store.  Ironically, the mini-bars are often a headache for the hotel, since they have to be checked every day and restocked as necessary. That all takes time and (all together now) time is money.

More and more of the mini-bars now come equipped with sensors. If an item is removed for more than 40 seconds — ka-ching, ka-ching — you’ll find it on your bill when you check out. But, as always, the solution to one problem just creates another one: you’ll be still charged if you remove an item, but change your mind and put it back more than 40 seconds later!

And don’t try to buy some snacks or drinks outside the hotel and stick them in the minibar’s fridge to keep them cold. A recent visitor to Las Vegas discovered when he was checking out that the hotel had charged him a “service fee” of $25 a day for stashing a couple of sandwiches in their little fridge!

Truthfully, I don’t have a problem with businesses doing what they can to maximize income. But do it on the up-and-up, will you? Don’t lure me in with what appears to be a fair and attractive price, then hammer me with a bunch off additional costs after I’ve committed. That smacks of deception and no one likes to be treated that way.