Excerpt from Chicago Tribune
Mandatory 'resort fees' mushroomed last year, even as hotels added new charges for all kinds of things, including cancellations and late checkouts. With pressure to squeeze even more profit from customers, you don't have to be an industry insider to see where this is going.
"Rate growth has not kept pace by traditional standards," explains Bob Habeeb, chief executive of First Hospitality Group, a firm specializing in hotel management, acquisition and development. "Traditional add-on costs that once made healthy contributions to the bottom line, like telephone revenue and in-room movies, have all but evaporated."
No one knows what 2018 will bring, of course, but that isn't stopping anyone from making predictions. Regardless of what happens, the takeaway is clear: Be on the lookout for surprises.
Some hotel guests say that they've seen incentives to opt out of housekeeping, for example. During a stay in Newport, Rhode Island, Nancy Jerdan says the Newport Marriott offered her up to 5,000 loyalty points to skip the cleaning. Jerdan, a retired office manager who lives in Springfield, Virginia, accepted, but had misgivings.
"I have mixed feelings about the 'no maid service' policy," she says. "Are they trying to put people out of jobs in order to save money?"
Others see further-reaching motives. If enough people skip housecleaning and take the points, they fear that hotels might try to flip the equation. Rather than offering points for forgoing maid service, they argue, hotels could charge extra for providing it. Some hotels already charge extra for housekeeping, but those fees usually aren't optional.
Industry insiders doubt that housekeeping could become an extra fee in 2018. Not only is there an unwritten agreement that housekeeping is part of a room rental, but hotels have noted with dismay the negative reaction to airlines separating checked luggage, which was also a traditional part of the ticket, from base fares.