Just when you thought hotel accommodation rates are expensive on its own, Hotel Fees unnecessary hotel fees and surcharges unexpectedly greet you when you least expect them. And in most cases, you’re not even aware these hotel fees exist until you’ve checked in or received your bill.
Luckily, it’s possible to avoid some of these sneaky hotel fees once you know what they are. Here are 9 ways to uncover hidden fees and avoid getting charged for them.
Do your homework
Taking the time in doing your homework pays off. Review the hotel’s website. Read reviews. Call ahead and ask about fees. Shop around for other accommodation options, which may offer more value for your money, and do the math.
Read the fine print before checking in
Hotel add-on charges may include Wi-Fi fees, parking fees, additional person fees, early check-in fees, activity or resort fees, and housekeeping gratuity. Chances are that they’re not hidden from you – they’re just buried in the crowded paragraphs of your terms and conditions. Make sure to read and understand the final confirmation of your booking in detail. This will save you from overlooking the fees disclosed in the document and from the embarrassing yourself when trying to argue with the front desk staff. Review your bill carefully before leaving.
Negotiate a waiver
Gym, parking, Wi-Fi, and spa – these are some of the “privileges” of staying in a hotel. However, you are charged for these services and you often have no choice but to pay them whether you use any of them or not. The good thing is some hotels are willing to waive fees if you politely make it clear upon check-in that you won’t be using the service.
Uncover any potential fees before you arrive. Make sure to ask the following:
- What sort of fees will be charged to my room for this stay?
- Will it be possible to waive the fees for these services since I won’t be needing them?
If they agree, make sure these charges don’t appear on your bill.
Know what’s free and what’s not
It’s alright to be skeptical about the things you can get “for free” and “for a fee.” Read the inclusions carefully. You have access to all the amenities in your room, from the 32-inch flat-screen TV to the tea and coffee-making facilities. If an item says, “free” or “complementary,” then take it without even asking. Freebies include free breakfast, newspaper, pen and notepad, water bottle, and wi-fi (specified). Hotels give out free toiletries too.
Don’t fall for the minibar trap
If you see a small fridge in your room, you can use it for cooling your own beverages. But if the fridge comes with some snacks, never ever touch them – they’ll appear on your bill and they are way too expensive. That said, make sure to pack your own chips, candy bars, and beverages with you, and enjoy minibar-style snacks for less cost. Before you check out, review your bill. In some hotels, merely touching the minibar items could trigger a sensor that adds charges to your room. If you get charged for something you didn’t consume, request for a manual audit.
Use your phone for calls and internet
If you’re lazy to go down and eat somewhere else, a variety of food delivery services is just one call away. However, make sure to steer clear of the phone located beside your hotel bed. That phone is meant for calling the front desk. Many hotels charge pricey rates both for short and long-distance calls.
Look for inexpensive parking spaces
If your hotel doesn’t offer free parking and the rates are tremendously high, don’t hesitate to look elsewhere. Take the time to walk around prior to checking in. Use Google Maps too to get a street view of the area around your hotel and look for nearby parking garages. You can score free street parking or an inexpensive parking space.
Ask, ask, ask
Most “hidden” hotel fees can be uncovered and avoided by merely asking.
- Early check-in fee. Ask if you can leave your luggage behind the desk instead of checking in early. If you’ve arrived earlier, this will allow you to explore freely while your room isn’t ready yet.
- Luggage hold fee. Some hotels charge luggage hold fees as well so ask ahead.
- Cancellation fee policies. Other hotels require 48 to 72 hours’ notice for customers to cancel their trip for free.
- Gratuity. At some hotels, tips for housekeeping and spa services are mandatory and are charged to your room. Inquire about gratuity to avoid tipping twice.
Sign up for a loyalty program
If you travel often, consider signing up for loyalty programs that come with various benefits.
It’s typically free to sign up. Many hotel chains offer these programs so members can enjoy exclusive services like free early check-in and wi-fi. In addition, you can earn points which can grant you free or reduced rate hotel stays.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Holiday Inn Parramatta Accommodation, a modern hotel in Western Sydney known for their exceptional hotel accommodation and location, which appeals to travelers in Australia. She has always been passionate about giving in to her wanderlust and collecting mementos from different places.