Hotels Now As Bad As Airlines

On our last airline trip, we actually spent this:

  • $16 to have slow wifi on our flight.
  • $15 to have a cold sandwich and a bag of chips
  • $35 for a second suitcase

What we could have spent money on but chose not to included:

  • $75 for a seat upgrade to first class
  • $29 to “upgrade” to a nicer seat in coach
  • $10 to board early

The airline we flew isn’t the worst offender when it comes to these fees. Stories about Allegiant Air are legendary.

If you enjoy these airlines gouging you all these “extras” that used to be part of your ticket price, then you’re going to love staying at a traditional hotel in the coming months. Because hotels are embracing “add-on” charges for every little thing they used to include. This year they’re expected to collect a record $2.47 billion in fees and surcharges.

There’s now a term for treating your customers this way: Hate-Selling. And the hotels have embraced it. Some examples:

  • Guests at the Mirage in Las Vegas can pay $30 a night to “skip the lines” at check-in, go to an express window.
  • Resort Fees” are becoming popular. Jay Peak Resort charges a $25 resort fee to anyone who stays there, and the Bellagio in Vegas tacks on a $30-plus resort fee to guests. If you think about it, it’s pretty shrewd. Your Jay Peak room that’s listed at $179 a night really costs you $204 a night.
  • Bed and Breakfasts like the Phineas Swann Bed and Breakfast near Jay Peak Vermont don't gouge you with extra fees for wifiWant to stay in a nonsmoking room? Want a pool view? Want connecting rooms or for that matter non-connecting rooms? Requests that used to be honored with a smile now are honored only if you shell over an extra $30 a night.
  • Very few hotels will give you a bottle of water. Most sit in your room with a $3 to $5 price tag on them. For something that you can get out of your tap!
  • Sodas? Soda machines at most hotels now tap you out of a dollar per can.
  • Snacks? Again, the machines are seen no longer as conveniences, but rather as money-makers.
  • Minibars used to be a great cash cow for hotels, but not as much now. So some have started charging you if you use the mini-fridge in your room to store your yogurt. Really.
  • Don’t even get me started on the insane amounts hotels charge for wifi.
  • Meals? Breakfast at major hotels and resorts can be quite pricy. Some give you free breakfast, but when you stare down at that cold muffin and lukewarm oatmeal, you quickly realize you’re getting what you paid for it.

Lynne and I travel too. And we have to admit, it galls us when we see so many people in the “hospitality” industry treating their guests so inhospitably. So we’re even more focused than ever on making our bed and breakfast experience for our guests the exact opposite of what they’re dealing with when they stay at impersonal resorts and mega-hotels. How?

  • Free sodas and snacks – No need to bring quarters with you to put in machines. We’ve got lots of goodies — including some home-baked cookies — waiting for you in our Fireplace Room.
  • Free water – It seems silly to us to charge for water. We’ve got Vermont spring water waiting for you from our chilled water cooler.
  • Free wifi – Stream a movie in your room. Keep tabs on work. We don’t care. And we won’t charge you for it.
  • Free long-distance – You can call whoever you want anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. Or you can unplug the phone and not let them know where you are!
  • Parking – No, we don’t charge for parking.
  • Breakfasts like this at the Phineas Swann Bed and Breakfast Inn near Jay Peak Vermont are included in your room charges, not extraBreakfast – A competing hotel two years ago promoted a “bed and breakfast special” where they left a muffin and glass of juice outside your door. We laughed. Then we realized they were serious, and laughed even harder. We’ll start you out with juice. And coffee. Then add fresh-cut fruit. And cereal. Oatmeal. Yogurt. Baked goods. Then we’ll add in a fully cooked gourmet breakfast, like blackberry-stuffed French toast. Or an apple waffle. Local bacon. Sausage. You get the idea. And it’s all included in your room rate.
  • Pets – Bringing your dog? No worries. We don’t charge a pet fee for your first dog. And we just charge a one-time $25 fee for each additional one to cover additional cleaning time. That’s it. Not $75 per day. No huge pet deposits. Hey, your dog deserves a vacation, too!

Either you’re in the hospitality business or you’re not. And Lynne and I want to welcome people to the top of Vermont to enjoy themselves. So don’t expect us to nickel-and-dime you. Should you pick a bed and breakfast versus hotel? Absolutely. Just come visit and find out why.

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