Isn’t it frustrating to think you’ve got a great hotel deal only to end up paying more than the initial price you were given? Thanks to the sneaky hotel fees that weren’t clearly disclosed during the booking process, your trip is ruined.
The next time you book your hotel stay, be wary of these fees which are often bogus attempts to charge consumers for what should be a complimentary service.
What is a resort fee?
Resort fees are nightly surcharges imposed by hotels on top of the usual rate to cover the cost of certain amenities. Sneaky hotels often charge a resort fee to be able to advertise an arbitrarily lower nightly rate.
Let’s say a hotel accommodation wants $130 a night in revenue but also wants to appear cheaper, especially with the high competition on booking sites. Instead of listing a $130 hotel rate, the hotel puts a rate of $105, but eventually adds a mandatory $25 fee, which guests have no choice but to pay when they check out.
These fees are often hidden in the fine print. They make it seem reasonable by saying the fee covers perks and extras (that should’ve been included in the room rate):
- Local telephone calls
- Restocking the minibar
- Using the minibar to store personal items
- Use of in-room safe
- Use of pool, sauna, fitness center, hot tub
- Use of lounge chairs and pool towels
- Luggage storage
- Shuttle service
Whether you use these amenities or not, you’ll still be charged. Well, not if you’re gonna be a smart traveler from the beginning.
If you’re planning to stay at a nice hotel accommodation with lovely amenities, we recommend these tips to make sure you won’t pay a dollar to sneaky resort fees.
1. Check online using Resort Fee Checker
The first step is to avoid hotels that charge such fees. ResortFeeChecker is a handy website that hates resort fees as we do. It’s free to use as well. Simply type your destination city in the search box and it will display the names of the properties that charge resort fees and how much they are. Easy, right?
Just take note that this website doesn’t cover all accommodation properties in the world, including the ones in the Caribbean islands and Mexico.
2. Use other means online to expose the hotel
While we recommend booking directly with the hotel for perks, we suggest using third-party websites when doing the digging. Booking sites, including Priceline, Google Hotels, and even Tripadvisor may provide a better breakdown of these fees – which the official hotel websites chose to omit.
3. Not all hotels charge resort fees but be vigilant
Generally speaking, hotel accommodations that charge resort fees are likely to be located on beach, ski, and entertainment destinations. Resorts often have an “umbrella resort fee” covering costs for maintenance and services. Some hotels in urban areas use the term “amenity fee” as an attempt to charge their guests.
4. Ask the hotel upfront
Contacting the hotel directly is the best way to know whether or not you’ll be charged. Before you book, speak with a reservationist to ask about the breakdown of what you’re going to pay for, including surcharges. Don’t forget to write down any information given and jot his or her name.
Once you’re at the hotel, ask about the items you’re not sure of, like the “complimentary” breakfast and the use of certain room amenities.
5. See if the fees can be waived or reduced
Are you going to stay at the hotel solely for the room? If you won’t be using any of the amenities or services listed in the resort fee, it wouldn’t hurt to ask the manager to remove the fee altogether. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Read the fine print. The law requires all fees to be listed. So if you’re being charged for something that’s not stated in the list, you have the right to have it removed from your bill.
6. Having an elite status pays off
If you have elite status, a loyalty program member or you’re a repeat guest to that hotel accommodation, you’re more likely to be successful with the aforementioned strategy. On top of that, you may even enjoy the bundled amenities listed in your resort fee for free!
Just make sure you let the hotel know in advance which elite status level you have, as well as the extras you’re entitled to.
7. Offset the fee using points
While this isn’t a tip for avoiding fees per se, this can help offset the charge when all else fails. It’s good to have a stash of points or cash from the best rewards credit cards.
You can also ask for bonus points in exchange for paying any extra fees. When front desk agents ask about your stay, you may tell them that you’ve had a great time but you were a bit disappointed that you’re forced to pay a fee for amenities you didn’t use.
Since hotels don’t want to receive negative satisfaction feedback, they offer goodwill points to your loyalty account.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a travel and lifestyle writer. Aside from taking vibrant street photos, you can find her writing articles about travel, food, and lifestyle. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Pembroke Hotel Kilkenny.