Hotels to collect record $2.25 billion in guest fees

A tram travels by the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. At several Las Vegas resorts, including the Aria, guests will be hit with a $25 fee for putting their own items in the mini bar.
(John Locher / AP)

Internet connection fees, bag checking charges and reservation cancellation costs.

Most Americans have grown accustomed to nickel-and-dime charges from the airline industry. But hotels and resorts are also taking a bite out of their guests’ wallets too.

U.S.-based hotels are expected to collect a record $2.25 billion in guest fees in 2014, a 6% increase over last year, according to a New York University study.

Study author Bjorn Hanson, a hospitality and travel researcher at the university, attributes the rise in hotel fees to an increased demand for rooms, the addition of new fees, plus an increase in existing fee amounts. Hotel guest fees have been rising since 2009.


The most common hotel charges adopted in the last year are fees to let guests check in early, to park on unattended lots and to hold luggage for a guest who has already checked out, Hanson said.

At several Las Vegas resorts, including the Aria Resort and Casino, guests will now get hit with a $25 fee for putting their own items in the room’s mini bar.

Sensors in the mini bars keep track of the food and drinks for sale inside, and hotel representatives say guests can damage the sensors by squeezing their personal items into the fridge.

“A charge for doing so is clearly stated on the mini bar menu, on a card atop the mini bar, and at check-in,” said Mary Hynes, a spokeswoman for Aria.

That is not always the case. Hanson said hotels often make fee information hard to find.

“They are included in the prices but usually at the bottom of the page in small print,” he said.

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