Rip Off Hotels!

Filed under: Florida Leisure Vacation Homes |

Hotel vs Vacation Home Parking Charges

From time to time I have to travel on business and over the last couple of years I’ve been in many parts of the United States. Unfortunately, I’m usually only in one place overnight and that means my options to stay in a vacation rental home are very limited. Unlike my own company, Florida Leisure Vacation Homes, many vacation home rental companies don’t actually take a one night stay so that means I have to subject myself to a hotel.

Of course, when traveling on business, I’m looking for comfort, a great location and a good deal. Sometimes I get it, but more often than not I end up feeling disheartened by the experience I’ve had and the service I’ve received. One of my least favorite parts of a hotel stay is all the add on extra charges that are additional to the daily rate. Car parking fees are one such way the hotels try and eek out extra revenue from their guests and frankly, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

There’s nothing new about outlandish hotel surcharges. The October 6, 1904, edition of The Daily Star in Fredericksburg, VA published a list of unscrupulous lodging fees, mainly in Europe, that included fees for towels, nightshirts, heat, hot water, horse stabling (whether the guest brought a horse or not), and, in one hotel, a one-penny fee for each ascent and descent in the hotel elevator. Today though, hotel operators have got craftier and craftier as they load on the fees that they hope you’ll ignore. Checking in today means paying extra vigilance to all the extra fees such as resort fee, room service fee, housekeeping fee, towel fee, in room safe fee, “energy surcharge” fee, mini-bar restocking fee, package delivery fee, internet connection fee, and of course, valet or self parking fees.

My own distaste for hotel surcharges began years ago on a business trip to Atlanta, when I drank what appeared to be a complimentary bottle of water. At checkout I discovered the water had cost me $5 + tax.  I have never stayed at that hotel again and I’ve visited Atlanta several times since. That $5 bottle of water has cost that hotel thousands of dollars of repeat customer income I’m pleased to report!

Of course, I understand why the hotels do this. It’s a way to generate extra income while advertising what appears to be a low daily rate. Frankly, to me, it’s nothing more than a complete rip off even though the hotels will argue it’s one way they can raise profitability. And, to give you an idea of  how much profitability the hotel industry gains, would it surprise you to learn that they will earn more $1.95 billion this year in surcharges alone? Of course, all this means that extra fees are likely to be with us for years to come but there are some tips I’ll share with you to help avoid the inflated cost of these surcharges.

1. ASK

The first thing to do is to ask before you make a reservation. Ask when you book if there are any mandatory fees (and taxes) that will be added to your bill and what you can expect your maximum daily bill to be with all extras added.


If you’re not planning on using the resort facilities/business center/newspaper delivery etc. you should request that they eliminate those expenses before you arrive. If the hotel staff cannot tell you exactly what is covered you may have legal grounds for dispute and if they dismiss your request as “Automatic” then ask for clarification on what is included.


Fortunately, some hotels now understand how much this “nickle and diming” annoys their guests so look for tent cards in your room telling you what costs extra.


It’s easier to dispute a charge at checkout than afterward so make sure you check your bill carefully before you sign it and checkout.


Sounds easier said than done doesn’t it? But the simple fact is if you do have other options. Some hotels have woken up to the fact that guests simply will not stay with them when they engage in these practices. Look for those… or better still, if you’re in Orlando, come and stay in one of our vacation homes.

Florida Leisure Vacation Homes never charges resort fees, for logging onto the internet or for parking your car. In fact, a vacation home has a distinct advantage over a hotel when it comes to car parking. Most homes have a garage to park your car in, or you may choose to roll up and park on the drive right outside the home.  No more parking miles from your room and having to roll cases and bags down hotel corridors!

In fact our policy is “FREE Parking, Every Home,  Every Day, Every Night, Every Time.” We believe that when you pay your daily rate to rent a vacation home that free parking should be an automatic amenity.

Hopefully you found some of this advice useful… and we hope we’ll see you sometime in the future.



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