It happens to all of us. We spend time researching, planning, and finally deciding on which hotel to book a reservation, only to realize that perfect sale on a hotel room actually lasts until the moment you enter the lobby.
But before we look at these hidden costs hotels make against your wallet, when was the last time you actually checked your hotel receipt before checking out? In fact, when was the last time you asked about extra charges before actually booking a reservation?
There’s a good reason when we wake up the morning of checking out of a hotel to find a piece of paper slipped under our hotel room door, as if someone from the front desk tried pulling a fast one to avoid any sticker shock. It’s because it’s too late before you realize that midnight Snicker’s bar and bottle of Fiji water for $15 from the mini-bar costs a lot more than you thought.
But the midnight mini-bar express is not the only thing you’re hotel bill requires extra charges being forked over without realizing what could perhaps have been avoided, or negotiated, before making your hotel reservation.
Let’s take a closer look:
Parking: Spot On
While some hotels don’t charge for a parking spot, most premium hotels have an average daily cost to bring your own vehicle, whether you decide to valet or not. On our last trip, the average daily rate exceeded $30 per day. If you can, try calling the front desk to ask about parking to see if they would be willing to negotiate the rate down or let them know you have a set budget in mind. They just might be willing to waive the fee if you are considering another property.
The Last Resort
Think that infinity-edge pool is included with your hotel rate? Many travelers don’t even realize that with all of the custom outdoor activity, there is a resort fee just to use the grounds, sometimes in excess of 10% of the total reservation price. If you don’t plan on using the hotel amenities, try asking the front desk if they would be willing to waive the fee if you sincerely plan on only sightseeing while in town.
View to a Bill
Every hotel uses professional photos, sometimes using the same photo for multiple categories. What guests don’t realize is that most room types face a different direction. If opening up the window and staring out into the highway or parking lot doesn’t matter to you, ask which direction and floor number your room will be on. Just because the room reservation says “Ocean View” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accurate. In fact, it could end up costing an additional 25% premium on what may result in being a ground floor, side facing room that has a sneak peak of the ocean with the main view being the roof of the building next door.
Personally, any business that continues to charge for internet needs to focus on other areas of why they are not as profitable, and not by restricting access to the information super highway. Some hotel rooms will even charge by the hour block or per day. If you’re on vacation, it may be a good reason to unplug – but spending an additional $10 or $20 just to check email can add up quickly. If you do need to connect and can’t make it to the café, try asking the concierge or front-desk if they have any free WiFi passwords to hand out. You would be surprised how many times they have these to give away.
Gratuity tipping is a good thing. I’ll say it again….gratuity tipping is a good thing. But before you add 20% to your bill for a tip (and higher for better service which we typically do) be sure to check the fine print on your bill. You would be surprised how often 18%-25% is included already in the total charge. Unless you’re paying attention, your food bill will end up being 40% more.
So before you consider booking a hotel room, think about the added savings you could be getting with booking a vacation home rental instead. None of these above charges apply, and the savings on your vacation could end up being in the neighborhood of an extra 30%+ or more. Request an invite by connecting with the HomeSlice app on Facebook to learn more – and we promise not to slip your reservation bill under your door on the day of checkout
About Matt Heady
Matt grew up helping his parents run a top-rated and family owned Bed & Breakfast Inn for 25 years, sharing his home with guests from around the world. After graduating from Roger Williams in 1999 with a degree in Visual Communications, he went on to lead the web redesign efforts for eDiets winning the #1 trafficked Health site online in 2005. Matt currently provides the Visual Design & Strategy Planning for SONY in Fort Myers, Florida where the humidity rarely breaks 90% during summer. Connect with Matt on Google+