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Room at the Empire Hotel, New York

US hotel fees to hit almost $3bn in 2018

Guests should increasingly be on the lookout for hidden fees and surcharges at hotels and resorts in the US.

Fees and surcharges at hotels in the USA are expected to hit a record $2.93 billion this year, according to new analysis, Business Travel News reports.

Bjorn Hanson, an industry consultant and professor at the New York University School of Professional Studies Jonathan M Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, calculates that this is up 8.5% from last year’s record of $2.7 billion.

This year’s climb is being driven by a 2.5% year-on-year increase in occupied hotel rooms, Hanson says, plus additional fee and surcharge categories.

Calculations going back almost 20 years show that hotel fees in the US have risen steadily from $1.2 billion in the year 2000 to $1.7 billion in 2010, to $2.45 billion in 2015, to almost $3 billion this year.

Part of the total cost
Hanson blames in part the emergence of urban hotel fees in his recent report on 2019 corporate rate negotiations – fees that are now similar to resort fees and which are common in major cities.

“The practices for disclosure are evolving, different than for most resorts charging resort fees,” the report says.

“Sometimes these are shown as part of the ‘total’ cost of occupancy to a guest rather than as a specific extra charge.”

The services related to these fees and surcharges range from planned or unscheduled activities such as visits to local attractions to things like printing, copying, overnight package delivery, “complimentary” bottled water that is not complimentary, newspapers and early or late check-out.

Other fees that are emerging or accelerating include charges for early check-in – most common at resorts, especially in Las Vegas – as well as fees for unattended parking and holding luggage.

In addition, the industry is adopting harsher cancellation penalties, with Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, among others, putting in place 48-hour to 72-hour cancellation penalties.

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