Creative Travel Fees in the US

For anyone going to the US, beware that their advertised hotel room prices don’t include - OMG. This link might be subscription walled but if you can read it, it demonstrates the lengths of obfuscation out there to get dollars from guests. Whether or not you use them (chain and location dependent) they will add ‘mandatory’ fees for cleaning, room safe, resort amenities, location fees, higher costs of car parks, and for perspective, the high end Regis in New York City has a typical nightly rate of $800, that gets ‘mandatory’ $50 fees on top. None of that includes the myriad taxes America puts on hotels (and rental cars) that are usually in the range of 10-15%, noting in the US it is not on to show tax inclusive pricing.

FWIW wikipedia has a rundown too. It incldues a comparison of practices here, in the US, and the EU.

Some localities add unique local taxes, such as getting rental cars from the airport or nearby locations instead of ‘well away’ from the airport, where the daily cost can be near 50% because of ‘tourist/traveller amenity fees’ applied on/near-airport.


My son in law and daughter in Qld had a room that when they settled had a fee added for the use of the swimming pool (which they didn’t use). I think anyway a business can tack on a hidden cost in some of these hospitality areas they do eg “corkage”, and as you have noted cleaning, room safes (whether used or not), and so on. Obscure and often not indicated as a fee until when settling the bill.


In the USA everything is ‘plus tax’, sometimes City tax as well as State tax. My family or I usually stay in AirB&B on arrival and Chain, or most recently, Starwood/Marriott Hotels in transit, to airports, all booked before leaving Sydney. We get average priced rooms and never have paid ‘extras’.


Many of us would roll over and pay it at the desk, some might challenge it only if it turned up on a post-stay checkout charge, and some would stand their ground. Obscure might pass the ACL/ACCC test but anything not indicated in a reasonably visible way should result in a formal complaint first to the hotel demanding a cancellation of the line item or refund if paid, and always to the ACCC for dodgy conduct.

The ACCC is what it is with its arsenal of wet noodles and small budgets for its job description, but if they don’t receive a formal complaint it is guaranteed they won’t take action no matter how egregious a situation might be.

It has been a few years since any hotel tried to add such charges to my stay, and when they did the desk person was always willing to apologise and remove it, no hassles. I think most hotels understand how to get extra revenue from anyone willing to pay it, while not unnecessarily chasing away business.