Hotels and Hidden Extras

I work on a daily basis with hotel net rates via a number of different bed banks and I am getting frustrated with two items that are cropping up with annoying regularity.

I guess hotels have to make a living but have you noticed the ludicrous charges for car parking and something they refer to as a ‘Resort Fee’ that is not included in the room charge and is payable locally?

Most tour operators try to include the ‘Resort Fee’ so that there is no embarrassing confrontation for their customer on check out but more and more frequently we are being advised of a newly created ‘Resort Fee’ to tell our customers. What do you get for this honour? Usually a copy of USA Today hanging in a plastic bag on your hotel door or placed on the floor as a doormat and WiFi in your room, towels for the pool, that kind of thing. No breakfast extras but this probably varies by location. The charges are simply out of proportion to the service received. Hotels in New York are around $25 per room per night on top of New York prices and more and more of them are introducing this fee. If you don’t want to offer free WiFi then charge for it and then it is up to the customer to decide but please don’t have a fee for extras that are now compulsory.

The reason I choose to stay away from the city centres of the American cities I visit is because you can get free parking, WiFi in all areas and breakfast included in the room fee. There are many more amenities around these suburbs than in the city centres.

Car parking charges are extortionate and some research is recommended to check that your hotel of choice isn’t ripping you off. I mean come on! Some hotels offer compulsory valet parking for $25 per 24 hours and then are you expected to tip the driver everytime you want to go somewhere?

I had two advisories for hotels in San Francisco today, neither hotel was known to me but one was raising it’s car park charge to $45 per 24 hours and another to …….$60 per 24 hours. Really! I would want my car cleaned inside and out and it babysat for the time it was there. I was surprised to find out that the Zoe Hotel, the culprit in this blog, believe it or not has a room rate of only $140 (plus taxes) per night plus a compulsory $29 ‘Urban Fee’…. to get organic coffee in the lobby and WiFi oh and the usual newspaper. The really funny thing is that this hotel is smack bang next to a public car park. Lesson is ‘Do your research’!

Another hotel in San Francisco charges not for Valet parking but to have the honour of Self Parking your own car it charges $15.

This website is a good one to look at because you can search by city. Parkopedia – says what it does on the tin!

When I was in Denver in 2011 the hotel where my colleagues booked me into had car parking charges of $22 per 24 hours and I desperately searched for nearby car parking. I failed miserably and had to suck it up but it did make my blood boil especially as my last night further out towards the airport was completely free.

I saw a room rate for a downtown hotel in Chicago that had a non refundable nightly rate of $170 or one that offered free WiFi for $210. How is that Free?