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New Early Cancellation Policies Lead to Record High in Hotel Fees

New Early Cancellation Policies Lead to Record High in Hotel Fees
Jennifer Billock

Just what we all hoped for! More fees on hotel rooms. Another record high for nine years in a row.

It’s official: For the ninth year in a row, fees and surcharges levied by hotels to guests are going to hit an all-time high. Bjorn Hanson, a clinical professor at NYU’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, recently released a new report showing hotels are in line to collect $2.7 billion in fees this year. That’s up 3.84 percent from last year, even though occupancy rates increased at a lower rate than expected.

Cancellation fees are one of the major reasons hotels have been able to collect so much over the past year. Nearly all the big chains introduced new policies that penalize tourists for canceling at the last minute, hoping to encourage earlier cancellations.

“This is something the brands have started looking at years ago,” Hanson told Skift. “It’s only been in the last year where we saw brands – prior to their announcements – try this more at individual hotels and certain reservation centers. Some hotels now have it on their websites and in their email confirmations. Brands are becoming more vigorous about their cancellation policies and enforcement.”

It makes sense for the hotels, as well. When they know of cancellations earlier, they can manage their inventory better, instead of sitting with empty rooms that were meant to bring in money.

On the bright side of all these fees, though, internet prices are going down.

“This was the first year we saw a decline in Internet access fees,” Hanson said. “There’s now a base level of bandwidth available for no charge, but there are premium charges for higher bandwidth.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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