Fee, fie, fo fum, hotels are bleeding us dry, wherever we're from

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How else can you take the news that U.S. hotels are now raking in a record $1.8 billion (with a "b") in fees and surcharges? To be fair, some of the increase is accounted for by an uptick in occupied rooms (which come with all those fees and surcharges), rather than just from an increase in the number and amount of the fees. And I can see the appeal to hoteliers, since the report points out that these things tend to have profitability of 80 percent to 90-plus percent, and let's face it, business hasn't been all that fabulous lately. But still, doesn't this seem just slightly outrageous?

What are these fees and surcharges? From the report: "resort or amenity fees, early departure fees, reservation cancellation fees, internet fees, telephone call surcharges, the costs of local calls, business center fees (i.e. cost of sending/receiving faxes and sending/receiving overnight packages), room service delivery surcharges, mini-bar restocking fees, charges for in-room safes, and automatic gratuities and surcharges. For groups, there have been increased charges for bartenders, service, and other staff at events; charges for set up and breakdown of meeting rooms; charges for meeting rooms in which meals are served (the common practice has been that there is a charge for meeting rooms but not an additional room charge for rooms in which meals are served); and fees for master folio billing and baggage holding fees for guests leaving luggage with bell staff after checking out of a hotel but before departure."

The report come courtesy of Bjorn Hanson, PhD, with the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

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