The struggle is real for many businesses at the moment, and travel remains one of the hardest hit sectors. With conversations shifting to reboot, and some countries reopening to international visitors, hotels are looking at how they can cope with fewer people filling their bars, pools and hotel rooms, in favor of necessary social distancing and hygiene initiatives to rebuild confidence. Their best guess: new fees?
Apparently, one major hotel group has the brilliant idea to launch a new fee to help cover additional costs, in the form of a coronavirus surcharge, but before doing so the group polled frequent guests. After resort fees, it’s just the latest tone deaf move being pondered in the hotel industry…
One Mile At A Time reports one of the world’s largest hotel chains contacting private focus groups to understand how brand enthusiasts would feel about the addition of covid-19 related surcharges added to their hotel bill.
In recent years, hotels began adding deceptive “resort fees” to the final tally, which don’t typically show up up front during search, and can mean up to $50 a day payable at the hotel, in addition to room rate.
With the introduction of the fees across hotels in city centers, the point has been made that they have nothing to do with golf, watering grass or any other resort related activities, and everything to do with extracting extra cash. The fees are almost universally hated, and legislation has even been set in motion to ban the deceptive business practice.
Clearly, on the good vibes created from resort fees, hotels are now pondering the latest additional charge, which you won’t likely see up front while searching, with covid-19 fees to increase the cost of a stay.
There’s no doubt hotels will incur extra costs in the interim as cleaning practices ramp up, but many could argue hotels previously weren’t doing enough to maintain real health standards. Demands for them to do so now do not inherently mean we should pay more. If anything, you’d think lower rates and other friendly features would be the idea right now, in attempts to draw people back to travel – not hidden fees to make them begrudge a brand.
The good news, at least at this point, is that the notion is purely being market tested in focus groups. The bad news, is that if the latest marketing genius at a hotel chain decided that 99% disapproval is exactly what the brand needs right now, every other major chain will follow in short order.
Surely, raising the prices of drinks in hotel bars, or adding a small extra fee to discretionary services like room service, or spa treatments would be a better way to create reasonable new fee structures to help support covid-19 related losses or efforts, or better yet – just be grateful to guests rebuilding your business.
How much would covid-19 surcharges impact your hotel loyalty?