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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.
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.