Bjorn Hanson, a lodging consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, outlines some of the changing fee structures he's noted over the past two years.
Then: Rental fees on just the room where the meeting itself is held
Now: Rental fees also on the room where the food and beverages are served
Then: Charges just for the bottles of liquor opened for an open bar reception
Now: Taxes and gratuity for the bartender, plus per-bottle charges
Then: No charge for associations billing direct to a master meeting folio
Now: Charges that average $50 in a small hotel, $500 in a larger hotel, to bill to the master folio. “This one is a little sneaky,” says Hanson. “The hotel is charging you, plus they don't have to pay the commission on individuals' credit cards.”
Then: No charge for local calls
Now: No charge for local calls — unless they go over 20 minutes. Then they get billed as toll calls, because the hotel assumes that you're dialing into a computer network's local access number instead of making a restaurant reservation.
Then:$1 per-page charge for faxes
Now:$5 for the first page of the fax, $1 each for following pages
Now: Guarantees for cancellation or room block changes getting more expensive as the meeting date approached
Then: Expanding timeframes and increasing guarantees that have planners paying more for canceling earlier