Frequently I have talked about the new fees charged by airlines for services such as checking bags, but now hotels are starting to get into the fee game. As Arthur Frommer writes:
At the deluxe Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, the minibars are equipped with sensors recording how long an item has been removed. If a can of soda has been moved outside the minibar for more than 60 seconds, a charge goes on the room bill, even if the occupant changes her mind and puts the unopened soda back in the minibar.Another example is the new $1-a-day fee for having an in-room phone, even if you don't use it. (It's the counterpart to the $1-a-day fee for having a safe in the room even if you don't use it.) However, if you do use it, expect $20 for a few minutes. Then there are the typical fees.
Try resort fees. Parking fees. Housekeeping fees. Energy "surcharges." Maid gratuity fees. Internet-access fees. Safe fees. And a dozen others.As Frommer suggests, many of the fees aren't disclosed until the very end of the process and tired guests will just pay them rather than argue. When I was at my hotel, I had to remind my hotel I didn't use the safe to get my $2 back (Silly? Maybe, but I bet most people forget about it by the time they check out, and that makes a nice pile of cash for the hotel.)
However, now there are at least a few hotels willing to give discounts for not using standard amenities. The Marmara Manhattan is a hotel that will give a $20 a night discount, or "green rate," if guests sign up to use housekeeping only once every three days.
I think the Marmara has thought this through. Isn't that the most attractive way to pass on savings to the customer, by helping out yourself, too? Of course, you could go crazy with this -- perhaps offer a $5 discount a day if they don't use the parking garage, or $30 off if they do a load of hotel laundry? That seems like a better way to cut costs without annoying customers.