The U.S. hotel industry is expected to collect $1.95 billion in 2012 on charges for things such as Internet fees, telephone surcharges, business center and resort fees, according to a study by New York University.
The revenue represents a 5% increase from last year when hotels earned $1.85 billion, says New York University professor Bjorn Hanson, a hospitality expert who attributes the raise to improved hotel occupancy rates and higher charges for many of the same services. Many hotels last year introduced some new charges, such as having bell staff hold your bags either before you check in or after you check out.
But the industry hasn’t created many new fees this year for fear of drawing the wrath of their guests, Hanson adds.
“The hotel industry is aware of how travelers feel about airline fees,” he said. “It’s probably not the time to introduce a new form of revenue.”
Hotels began the fee trend in 1997 by adding mandatory resort fees at some high-end establishments. The trend grew during the economic recession when hotels added fees for room service delivery, mini-bar restocking charges and automatic gratuities, among others.
Yet the airline industry still collects far more revenue from fees than hotels. Last year, 50 of the nation’s largest airlines collected $22.6 billion in fees, according to a recent study by Wisconsin-based IdeaWorksCompany, a consultant on airline revenue, and Amadeus, a travel technology firm based in Madrid.