(Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts)
A couple of weeks ago, we recapped an interview hospitality expert Bjorn Hanson did with Skift.com on hotel fees to watch out for in 2013. It got us thinking: What else are hotels charging for these days? Here are 9 irritating hotel fees that are becoming more and more common and tips on how to avoid them from Tingo spokesperson George Hobica:
- Resort Fee: Even if you're not staying in a true "resort," many hotels charge a resort fee of $20–$50 per night. This fee often isn't mentioned on booking sites or in the final price—it simply appears on your bill at checkout. One of our team members was recently charged a resort fee for services that included free yoga class, and he doesn't even do yoga. You must be proactive when it comes to avoiding this fee. Call the hotel before you even book to see if they charge it. (Tip: Hotels like Courtyard by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn, and Staybridge Suites don't assess this and many other fees.)
- Parking Fees: Many city hotels charge upwards of $25–$35 per day to park your car. The most annoying part is that it's sometimes mandatory that you valet it—which means you have to tip. We recommend researching nearby parking garages in advance. You'll probably pay less than your hotel charges to park your car, and you won't have to pay someone to park it, either.
- Automatic Gratuities: Some hotels automatically charge a 10% housekeeping gratuity. Others do the same for spa services. Find out beforehand if these gratuities will be added to your bill, or you could end up tipping twice.
- Newspaper Fee: Some hotels charge up to $1 per day because they assume you want a newspaper delivered to your room every morning. Even if you don't read it, you'll probably still pay for it. Upon arrival, decline this service and ask that the fee doesn't get tacked onto your bill. If you want to keep up with what's going on in the world during your stay, download a free news app like NPR News or The New York Times instead.
- Gym Fee: Using the hotel's gym can cost you $5–$15, so you might want to find another way to workout. One idea is to download yoga sessions ahead of time (YogaDownload.com offers free 20-minute podcasts via iTunes), and then follow along in your room. You could also scope out an outdoor running route, or just skip your workout altogether (we won't tell!).
- In-Room-Safe Fee: Since hotels can charge $1–$3 to use the safe in your room, we suggest bringing your own luggage lock to keep your valuables locked up. You can buy one for around $10 and use it every time you go away.
- Business-Center Fax Fee: Faxing something from your hotel's business center can cost you $1 per page—and sometimes as much as $5 for the first page. Download the FaxBurner iPhone app, which allows you to send and receive faxes for free.
- Phone-Call Fee: Making calls from the phone in your room can cost you $1.50 per call. Expect an even higher fee if your call is long distance. Use your cell phone to avoid paying.
- Meeting/Even Facilities Setup/Breakdown Fee: If you're hosting a meeting or some other type of event in a hotel, be prepared to be charged for setting it up and breaking it down—regardless of whether or not you need the staff's help. Before you sign any contract, make sure you ask the hotel whether or not they charge a fee for this. If they do, you can try dodging it by making it very clear that you plan to do the work by yourself.
You might also like: Questions About Tipping? We've Got a Guide for That!
Which one of these fees irritates you the most?
About the Author: To learn more about George Hobica, visit him on Google+.