The deals can look very enticing. Hotels know this, and will tickle your fancy by advertising a room rate that seems so low that it gets you to book the reservation.
But buyer beware: In many instances, that's literally just the price of admission.
More than ever, hotels are raking in big bucks by tacking on fees and surcharges -- sometimes even when you don't use a service – adding up to an estimated $2.25 billion dollars this year, according to a new report.
Some might consider them hidden fees, which one noted travel and hospitality expert says is a mistake.
"The hotel industry has become very good at disclosing them but it does take some due diligence on the part of travelers," said Bjorn Hanson, a clinical professor with New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, who authors an annual lodging study.
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Here are some things to look for in the fine print:
- Gratuity/Service fees: Many, if not most, hotels will charge a gratuity or service fee for certain conveniences, like room service. So, if you tip the server upon delivery, remember, you're paying above and beyond the likely built-in 18 percent charge.
- Expecting a package to be delivered? While it is considerate of the hotel to accept your delivery, don't be surprised to see a charge on your bill.
- Need a place to store your luggage while you kill time waiting for your afternoon or evening flight? The hotel is happy to hold your bags -- increasingly for a fee, usually $1-2 each.
-Going to a resort property? Expect to see a fee for that, too, to cover the swimming pool, tennis courts, golf course, exercise room, etc. And hotels charge this fee whether you take advantage of the amenities or not.
-Lastly, by paying closer attention before you check-in, checking out should come with very few surprises.
First published August 26 2014, 3:35 PM
Ron Mott was named NBC News correspondent in May 2005 and is based in Boston. Mott contributes regularly to â€œNightly News with Brian Williams,â€ â€œTODAY,â€ NBCNews.com, MSNBC, and CNBC. Mott has covered many notable stories since joining the network, including Hurricane Katrina, for which he earned an Emmy nomination and a â€œLetâ€™s Do It Better!â€ Award of Excellence from Columbia University for reporting on race and ethnicity; the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case; and a series of church arsons in Alabama.
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Mott became a familiar presence during the historic 2005 hurricane season, covering a handful of major storms that threatened the Gulf states and Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
Before joining the network, Mott was a news reporter and fill-in anchor with television stations in his hometown of Kansas City, Mo., and in Burlington, Vt. Much of Mottâ€™s career prior to transitioning to television news was in the sports industry. Mott worked in the public relations office of the Kansas City Chiefs; was a sports writer at the Kansas City Star, as well as a newspaper reporter/writer for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); and spent two years as communications and public relations director for a subsidiary company owned by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus.
While in high school, Mott was selected as an on-air correspondent for the NBC News series, â€œMain Street,â€ hosted by former TODAY co-anchor Bryant Gumbel.
He earned a masterâ€™s degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelorâ€™s degree in political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Mott is a licensed private pilot and member of the Experimental Aircraft Association and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.