Reporting Jim Donovan
By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Were you lucky enough to take a vacation this summer? If you stayed in a hotel, chances are your bill may have been more than you originally expected. As 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, hotels are following the lead of the airlines and boosting their bottom line with additional fees.
According to an annual survey from New York University’s Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management, U.S. hotels will collect almost $2 billion in fees and surcharges this year. Guests will notice the most common fees — and can usually avoid them — are things like wireless internet, phone calls, cancellation and early departure fees.
But other, less obvious fees include mini-bar restocking fees, charges for in-room safes and extra charges related to a hotel’s business center (like fees for receiving packages or express mail). Even automatic room service gratuities and fees for holding baggage after checkout are becoming more and more common.
The good news for travelers? The NYU study forecasts fewer hotels introducing new fees and surcharges in 2013, hoping to avoid the backlash the airline industry has received since it started charging extra for checked baggage, in-flight food and beverages, preferred seating and more. U.S. airlines picked up more than $3 billion in baggage fees alone in 2011.