Hotels Taking Cue From Airlines, Making Mountains Of Money From Add-On Fees

Airlines have long since discovered that they can make billions by charging consumers for everything, from daring to have luggage to calling customer service. Now, it seems, their travel partners up the line are joining them in the bold new future, as hotels find ever more creative ways of adding to your bill.

Hotels have found a way to bounce back from the recession, Mashable reports, and that way is through fees, fees, and more fees. And while we all know that you’ll pay way more than you need to for taking a can of Coke or a candy bar out of the mini-fridge, the current era of surprise surcharges goes way beyond sugar fixes and tiny liquor bottles.

Need to leave your bag in the bell closet for a couple hours since you’ve got a late flight? There’s a fee. Some hotels now tack on a fee for the safe in your room, despite the fact that you might well never use it. And then of course there are the hotels that charge for internet access… despite the fact that the Starbucks or McDonald’s across the street will have wi-fi you can use for free.

$1 or $2 here and there add up. According to Mashable, in 2014 hotels will take in $2.25 billion — yes, with a B — from add-ons and fees. That’s about double what they were getting a decade ago, and it’s a 6% increase over last year.

Las Vegas is the place to be for every possible add-on fee, it seems. The major resorts on the strip have been figuring out every possible way to get even more cash out of their hopefully-newly-flush customers. For example, several put water and snacks on trays that are loaded with weight sensors. If you move an item — even just to gawk at its ridiculous price tag for ten seconds and put it back down — you get a charge automatically added to your room bill. (Yours truly can confirm this was happening as long ago as 2008, when we declined to buy the $8 bottle of water sitting on the dresser.)

There are $30 fees for checking in early or checking out late, or another $30 for guaranteeing a room-type preference (like two queen beds or one king). Want to use the mini-fridge for your own stuff? Add $25 to the bill for a “personal use fee.”

And when you’ve had enough of Vegas bleeding you dry and want to get the heck out of town with what’s left of your wallet and your dignity, there’s a kiosk in the hotel lobby where you can print your boarding pass. That’ll be a mere $7.95, please.

Hotels Are Making Record Profits From Extra Fees on Stuff You Don’t Use [Mashable]