Tired of being shocked by a barrage of fees and taxes on your hotel bill — everything from “resort” fees to taxes and convenience charges? Then you might want to travel abroad. John Humbach did, and learned that sometimes, the price your quoted for a hotel room can be the price you pay. To the penny.
Or, in his case, to the euro.
I just returned from a business/pleasure trip to Vienna, and wanted to report my delight with a hotel experience. Not only did our central Vienna hotel have no fee for “services” we did not use or want, there was also no fee for in-room Wi-Fi or even — and I really had trouble absorbing this — the items we used from the minibar.
The bellhop practically insisted on taking our bags out of our taxi and up to our room (which I normally slightly resent, because we usually have only our easily rolled carry-ons that we manage to get around with everywhere else). But then he acted slightly stunned when, after he thoroughly introduced us to the room, I offered him a tip. He did take it, of course (after a moment or so), but then every time we saw him later he acted like our long-lost friend, and seemed very sincere in his gratitude.
When we got our bill at the end of our stay, it contained one item — our previously agreed room rate times four, for the four nights were were there. No extras, no separate taxes, no nothing. Just the room rate.
I was an amazingly refreshing experience.
Why can’t things be like that here?
From a hotel’s perspective, there’s absolutely nothing to be gained from quoting an all-inclusive price. If it offers the actual room rate, including all taxes, fees and nonsense “resort” charges, then their customers might jump to a competitor who is quoting a base price minus the extras.
The only way to fix this problem is for a government or regulatory agency to step in and say: From now on, the price you give your customer is the price you must charge (minus optional extras like food and beverages). If that were to happen in the United States, I predict customer satisfaction scores would jump dramatically.
Just think: no more surprises. No more resort fees, in-room safe fees, fax delivery fees, bellhop fees, taxes, energy surcharges … the list goes on. None of that on our hotel bills.
Ah, to dream.