Guest Gouging is on the Rise in Hotels

Before you check into another hotel, here’s what you need to know. According to MSNBC, “guest-gouging” is on the rise in hotels. In other words, when you check out, your bill could be padded with unexpected fees and surcharges. The fancier the place, the more likely it’ll happen. Why? Because hotels need extra revenue to pay for improvements, like flat screen TVs, better bedding, and fancier shampoos.

So, why not just raise the room rates? Since prices can be easily compared online, hotels are afraid they’ll lose business. They’d rather get you in the door and then pad the bill once they already know you’re a paying customer. So, here are a few “guest-gouging” facts, courtesy of Consumer Reports:

  • The first surprising charge: The “resort fee.” Up to $40 dollars a day for the pool, tennis courts, putting green, “complimentary” newspaper, and local in-room phone calls – whether you use them or not!
  • Also, hotels often charge for things like Internet access, storing your luggage at the desk, or providing an in-room safe “just in case” you want one.  
  • For the employee who services the minibar. In other words, that $3 dollar soda could cost you $6 bucks. Some minibars are now equipped with sensors. So if you remove and replace an item – or even open the door – you could rack up a fee.
  • Many upscale hotels also add a mandatory $5 or $10 tip for maid service. So if you leave cash on your pillow, you’re double-tipping.
  • Early-departure fees. In other words, if you leave earlier than scheduled, you could owe up to one full day’s rate!

So how can you protect yourself from guest gouging?

  • Never assume anything’s free. Before you book the room, ask if there are any routine fees other than room rate and sales tax.
  • And before you grab a bottle of water from the minibar, jump on the Internet, or use the room phone to order a taxi – ask how much it’ll cost.  That way, you’ll have no surprises at checkout.  

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