BUSINESS

Hilton tries a new way to boost revenue without hidden fees

Hotel fees are on the rise, and so is the frustration from hotel guests who are often surprised to find their checkout bills weighed down by charges for extras such as wireless Internet, parking and newspapers.

Hospitality giant Hilton Worldwide may have found a way to collect extra revenue without annoying guests with hidden fees.

Under a new program called Little Extras Upgrade, Hilton's DoubleTree hotels will offer guests who are staying in a standard room a package of extras such as snacks and drinks for an added cost of $25 to $35 a night, depending on the package.

The packages will include high-speed in-room Wi-Fi, snacks, candy, water, fruit, drink vouchers and an in-room premium coffee brewer. The food and drinks can be delivered to the room or guests can be given 24-hour access to a snack room.

Hilton announced the idea this month, saying it is now rolling out the deal to DoubleTree hotels across the nation.

Much like the airline industry, hotels are raking in hefty revenue from fees.

By the end of 2015, U.S. hotels are expected to collect $2.47 billion in fees and surcharges, compared with $2.35 billion in 2014, said Bjorn Hanson, an expert on hotel fees and a professor at New York University's Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.

But under Hilton's new program, Hanson said, hotels can collect extra revenue without drawing the ire of guests who hate being surprised by hidden fees.

"This is a way hotels can be upfront and say, 'You have a choice,' " he said. "I think it's a positive way of having fees and surcharges."

Hanson predicts that other hotels will replicate the program. Some hotels might create packages for business travelers, including free newspapers, Wi-Fi and access to a business center, he said.

“I think we are going to see many variations on this,” Hanson added.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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