The Three Worst Hotel Ripoffs


As a hotelier or hotel manager, you do a huge service to travelers. Providing them a roof over their head, comfortable accommodations, customer service, meals, and more.  You charge a fee for the room, which includes a plethora of amenities in addition to the ones just mentioned–a fitness center, a pool, housekeeping, to name a few.  Yet, there are still other things, other “extras” that you want to provide to your guests but that will either cost you too much money or won’t be useful to every single guest–or a combination of the two.  As a result, the smart thing to do is to charge a small fee for those extras and those who want to take advantage will while those who don’t…won’t.

However, a lot of guests feel that paying the room fee is enough and that everything else should be included–or, fine, at a small extra cost.  It’s when guests encounter exorbitant extra fees that they start to feel nickle-and-dimed and resentful, in some cases vowing never to return to a property.

Therefore, it’s important to strike a happy medium between what you can offer your guests for free and what an acceptable fee is for those extras.  Here, then, are some of the extras that many guests consider outright ripoffs.  Take heed and see if you can offer a compromise in order to create the perfect hotel experience for your guests.


No, you don’t have to provide in-room minibars.  Many people bring their own snacks or don’t use the minibar at all.  But that’s mainly because of the prices in the minibar.  Think about it–why would someone pay $7 for a bottle of water when they can get some from the sink or can go down to a nearby store to get an enormous bottle for a fraction of the price. Yes, the idea of supply and demand kicks in here, as does a pushing to the limits to see how much one will pay for that late-night bag of M&Ms.  However, lowering minibar rates to something more in the ballpark of what you’re paying to get the items wholesale may create more minibar revenue and higher customer satisfaction.  Oh, and one more thing–customers don’t like it when you charge them when they stick their baby’s formula, their own bottle of water, or even medication in the minibar fridge.  It makes you look bad and, let’s be honest, you’re running electricity to run the minibar one way or another.

Hidden Service Fees

One of the biggest customer complaints by guests–particularly in the US–is the hidden fees for gratuity or room service.  It’s one thing to tack on taxes to a bill at the end of a guest’s stay, but try to be up front about all of the fees you’re going to charge.  And be sure to spell out any extra fees so that customers know exactly what they’re paying for when they see “Discretionary Service Charge” on their bill.  Again, this extra customer service and open-book attitude will go a long way to maintain lifelong customers.

WiFi Fees, No WiFi, or Slow WiFi

We live in the 21st Century.  Every single person on the planet has a need–and some a constant need–for Internet connection.  Guests communicate with their families, friends, and jobs on a daily basis using the Internet–let alone keep in touch with news, travel plans, and more.  As a result, there is no excuse for hotels not to offer Internet service.  While it might cost a lot to run WiFi and to outfit every room with WiFi access, it’s something that, soon enough, will be a main determining factor as to whether or not a guest chooses to stay in a hotel.  So, get WiFi–at least in a common area and supply comfortable seating.  Hotels that charge guests to use in-room WiFi better watch out as guests may start to revolt and go to the hotel down the road that isn’t going to charge them $14 per day to use WiFi.  Lastly, if you provide WiFi (especially if you’re charging for it) there is no excuse to have a poor WiFi connection.  People want a fast, secure connection that they can rely on–especially if they’re paying an absurd amount for it.

Hotel Manager

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