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Upper Tier Hotels Get in The Fee Game

While a lot of attention has been focused on fees the airlines are piling on to basic fares, the hotel business has also been steadily gaining revenue from adding charges to the basic room rate. Fee revenue has more than doubled in the last 10 years, as many hotels, especially convention, resort and luxury ones, add charges to the bill for services like the use of a business center or an Internet connection, and in some cases apply so-called resort fees that essentially are surcharges for using the hotel’s facilities. Fees are also being added at some hotels for receiving faxes and overnight packages, automatic gratuities, availability of in-room safes and mandatory valet parking. Other possible charges: bellhop service, housekeeping service, and faster-speed internet service surcharges (added to the basic internet service fee). Less common, but encountered by some travelers are charges for such items as a local tourism tax, charitable donations by the hotel and “early departure fees” when you check-out sooner than the departure date on your reservation.

It’s important to note, by the way, that many hotel brands favored by business travelers are not in the fee-adding game. Across the industry, mid-level hotels with strong bases in business travel provide a range of services without any extra charge — from free Internet and business-center access to free breakfasts and in some cases even a free evening cocktail hour with snacks. Among the brands which are still “fee friendly” are Hampton Inn, Garden Inn, and Country Inns and Suites, a Marriott Residence — to name just a few in that market niche. (The New York Times)