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Hotel fees to become more aggressive

Melissa Kaplan May 4, 2010

With air travelers numb to what were previously felt to be excessive costs for once free services, it was just a matter of time before hotels jumped on the fee bandwagon. Lodgers are already adept to small charges for room service, the minibar and other amenities, which were generally down last year. But analysts see a significant spike in these fees in 2010. Existing fees are expected to rise and new ones could pop up — including a fee for early check-out time.

The estimate for rising hotel fees comes from Bjorn Hanson at New York University. He said added costs, once more selective, are now everywhere:

The fees and surcharges were initially charged by high-end hotel brands in the late 1990s for access to resort amenities like the swimming pool, putting greens and tennis courts. Imposed generally today on a selective, property-by-property — rather than chainwide — basis, fees of $9.95 to $19.95 a day are now charged on Internet access, Mr. Hanson said. He said fees for room service and tray charges range from $2.50 to $5.95 (added to an automatic gratuity), and he estimated minibar restocking fees at $2.95 to $5.95 a day, once the first item is removed. In addition, he said, the fee for cutting short a stay or canceling a reservation without adequate notice is typically the cost of one night’s accommodations. For storing your luggage, a hotel might charge $1 a bag or more, he said.

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