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.
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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.