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New hotel fees include a charge to guarantee the room you want

New hotel fees include a charge to guarantee the room you want
Hotel rates and guest fees are on the rise. A hotel expert says more hotels are charging a fee to check in early. Above, the lobby of the Montage Beverly Hills in shown in 2013. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Taking a cue from the airline industry, hotels are squeezing customers with higher nightly rates as well as extra guest fees, such as charges to check in early and to guarantee you get the room you want.

The average rate of a hotel stay in the U.S. is expected to increase to $120 this year, a 5% increase over 2014, according to a forecast by PricewaterhouseCoopers. On top of that, U.S. hotels are expected to collect a record $2.47 billion in extra fees and surcharges, a 5% increase over the record $2.35 billion collected last year.

The higher take from fees comes as the result of a slight increase in the number of hotel guests, plus the addition of new hotel fees and an increase in existing fees, said Bjorn Hanson, a professor at New York University's Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.

In the last few years, travelers have protested loudly against airlines that have increasingly relied on passenger fees to boost profits. The hotel industry has also turned increasingly to extra fees and charges, but with a lot less customer pushback. Since 2008, the combined revenues collected by hotels in fees has jumped 41%, according to Hanson's annual studies.

Hotel charges include resort fees, reservation cancellation fees, Internet fees, business center fees, mini-bar restocking fees and baggage holding fees, Hanson said.

Among the fees that have recently been adopted by more hotels are charges for early check-in, for parking, to hold luggage either before checking in or after checking out and fees to guarantee the features you requested, such as a nonsmoking room or a room with two twin beds.

Why aren't travelers protesting the growth of hotel fees? Hanson said he believes that many travelers, particularly those in the millennial generation, have become accustomed to paying fees when they travel, giving hotels and airlines the justification to add more.

"Fees and surcharges seem normal now," Hanson said. "Most travelers know there will be some charges."

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

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