Fees and surcharges at U.S. hotels are expected to increase
8.5% to a record $2.93 billion this year, according to an analysis from Bjorn
Hanson, industry consultant and adjunct professor at the New York University
School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and
The forecast follows a record $2.7 billion in fees and
surcharges in 2017. This year's projected climb is driven by a 2.5% increase in
occupied hotel rooms, plus additional fee and surcharge categories.
Hanson detailed the emergence of urban hotel fees in his
recent report about 2019 corporate rate negotiations. These fees, he said, are
similar to resort fees and are now common in major cities, averaging between
$20 and $40 per day.
"The practices for disclosure are evolving, different
than for most resorts charging resort fees," the report stated. "Sometimes
these are shown as part of the 'total' cost of occupancy to a guest rather than
as a specific extra charge."
Urban resort fees -- which can can cover goods and services
like Internet, bottled water and newspapers -- account for the largest share of
this year's fee and surcharge increase, despite the industry's adoption of
harsher cancellation penalties.
In 2017, a number of hoteliers -- including Marriott
International, Hilton and Hyatt -- put in place 48-hour to 72-hour cancellation
penalties. Enforcement of these penalties varies by market and hotel, Hanson
Though U.S. hotel fees and surcharges have increased every
year since 2010, recent additional fees appear to be linked to a lack of
pricing power in the industry, as rate increases fail to keep pace with higher
costs for hotels.
Other fees that have emerged or accelerated in recent years
include charges for early check-in (most common at resorts and particularly in
Las Vegas) as well as fees for unattended surface parking in suburban locations
and for holding checked luggage.
Hanson expects 2019 will mark another record year for fees
and surcharges, with the largest percentage increase to come from service and
amenities fees, i.e., urban hotel fees. The report is based on discussions
with lodging industry executives and corporate travel executives, analysis of
industry financial data, press releases and information available on hotel and
Source: Business Travel News