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Fees your guests will really hate

We all hate hidden fees – I’m sure you do – and your guests are no different!

It is tempting for hotel businesses to use sneaky add-ons to increase their takings, particularly with payroll and other rising costs squeezing profit margins.

But if you are going to put up prices it is often better to do it upfront, remain transparent, and avoid extra charges for things that most guests feel should be included. These are:

Wifi charges

Wifi, in this day and age, is a basic requirement not a privilege. Many people simply will not stay somewhere that does not have decent wifi. And since we all know, once it is in place, it costs nothing extra to allow people to use it, hotels only annoy people by charging for what is considered an essential service.

Parking charges

Hotel car parks should not cost extra. This should not even be a subject open to debate. For many guests, driving is a necessity, not some kind of optional luxury and should not be treated as such. This is particularly pertinent when hotel policy states that the hotel is not responsible for any damage to the vehicle or other personal possessions left in it.

Baggage holding fees

This sort of sneaky and unnecessary charge puts hotels on a par with budget airlines for squeezing extra pennies out of their customers. It costs a hotel nothing to store some bags and is unavoidable for most guests if they have to check out hours before their flight or journey home.

Automatic gratuities

A gratuity ceases to be a gratuity when it is automatic. Guests will often tip staff throughout their stay, not realising they are going to be charged extra anyway and are rightly irritated when it comes to light. It also implies to guests that the hotel management is too mean to pay staff a proper wage.

Booking fees

When you book a room, you accept you are paying for the room or package advertised and the price stated. It therefore feels like a trick when you are presented with additional booking fees at the last minute. Most people would agree, they’d rather the booking fee, if there is one, were just included in the original price.

Minibar restocking fees

This is something which seems to be creeping into the US hotel industry and we urge UK hotels not to be tempted to follow suit. Everyone knows that if they raid the minibar for a midnight snack, they are going to pay well over the odds for that beer and packet of peanuts. This is an accepted rule. However, it is a step too far to then add a ‘restocking fee’ to the already laughably expensive minibar bill.

In conclusion, these sort of unnecessary additional fees will only serve to put guests off coming back, drive them towards your competitors and lead to negative online reviews and word of mouth reputational smears. The small amount hotels could reasonably charge for these extra fees are not worth the longer term impact of losing bookings.