Tag Archives: hotel

hotels charging for items

bed for saleI don’t like to pay full price for hotels, and gladly share my tricks for saving. However, is the hotel business that bad that they need to sell everything in the room from the shower head to the alarm clock?

Many high end stores are even expanding beyond the items you’ll find in a hotel room. They want your hotel to seem as comfortable as your room at home. I might look at the style at a hotel chain like W Hotels or Westin, because they are high-end or luxurious brands. They sell their amenities in online stores, and offer much more than what you’ll find in the hotel room. W Hotels sells jewelry, and the West Hotel Collection is having a summer sale on its products.

This trend of selling products seen in a hotel room is not reserved for luxurious hotel chains. I recently saw a budget hotel making a pitch. I don’t feel luxurious at a budget hotel. I feel like I’m getting a good deal, but that’s about it.

alarm clock for saleAt a low end hotel that I stopped in on my way to Florida, the hotel was selling everything from the alarm clock to the ironing board. Is that really necessary? It wasn’t a fancy alarm clock. It was a clock radio just like the one I’ve had at home for years. Only, the one at home was nicer and cheaper. The hotel wanted $25 for an alarm clock. Really? You can find similar ones for $10 at retailers.

coffeemaker for saleIt gets worse. The hotel wanted $50 for the coffee maker. This wasn’t a Keurig. Just a basic coffeemaker. A similar pot is sold at retailers for less than $20. More than 50% markup is a pretty good profit margin for a hotel.

The hotel chain sold items from $25 to $80. While many were ripoffs, the $80 comforter actually isn’t a bad deal. Those can cost $100, but rest assured the store bought $100 comforters are thicker.

hotel items for saleIs anyone really buying, though? The sign says that due to the increasing popularity of the guest room amenities, the housekeeping staff now offers them for sale. Maybe it’s to prevent theft. The fine print at the bottom of the sign reads, “Each guest room attendant is responsible for maintaining the guest room items. Should you decide to take these items from your room instead of obtaining them from the Executive Housekeeper, we will assume you approve a corresponding charges to your account.” Sounds to me like you’ve been warned. Don’t steal the towels, coffee pot, or ironing board!

What’s next?! Pretty soon they’ll be charging me for the soaps and shampoos that they put out for guests to use. Of course, I always take the supplied ones for my travel stash. At this rate, that amenity will soon cost me $10.

I like my hotel to be cozy and as homey as possible, but I’m never going to fall in love with the products in a room that will make me want to buy them. What about you? Join the conversation.

Related links you may like:
A new hotel amenity?
Airport parking that won’t break your travel budget
Picture perfect honeymoon – best research sites
Tipping habits – have yours changed with the economy

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A new hotel amenity?

iPhone 4Every time I go out of town, I inevitably forget something. Usually it’s something small like a toothbrush. Sometimes I improvise or I ask the front desk for one of their small, complimentary brushes. This last out of town trip, I forgot my phone chargers. Without them, there’s not much you can do. My forgetfulness made me thing of a money-making tool for hotels.

My photographer and I joked with the front desk staff about our forgetfulness. Neither one of us had a phone charger and we had three phones to charge.

The hotel said they used to have a box of random chargers, but they found they were getting old. I guess as we advance in the digital age, people are getting wiser and forgetting their cords in the hotel room less.

The hotel scrambled in the back and found an iPhone charger. Only it was for the older model phones and didn’t fit my iPhone 5 plug. Luckily, the one  employee had an Android version in her car that fit our phones. She went out to her car and let us borrow it until her shift was over.

I thought my iPhone was simply toast until a staff member stopped me the next morning as I grabbed my takeout breakfast. She called me by name and asked if I was still looking for an iPhone charger. I was stunned that this woman not only remembered my plight, but found me a new iPhone 5 charger.

This experience got me thinking. Hotels should buy the basic chargers for phones, and charge guests $3-5 to use the charger for a night. I bet that would be quite the business with so many forgetful travelers. I would definitely pay to use a phone charger. Luckily, I stayed at a hotel with staff willing to lend me their own personal charges. I doubt every hotel would do that. Your choice at that point – a dead phone or go pay full price for a new charger.

hotel selling itemsSome hotels are making it a business to sell you products. Some hotels want you to buy their hair dryer, pillows, shower head and so on. I was stunned when I stayed at a hotel in Boston, and saw little stickers on all the products in the room including the hair dryer. Do people really fall that in love with the hair dryer at a hotel that they want to buy it?

There was an entire catalog full of hotel products you could purchase for your home including an alarm clock and lamp. I wonder how many of these products the hotels sell.

hotel selling stuffInstead, I wish they’d sell me a phone charger for a few hours. That’s all I need and want when I go to a hotel.

Airport parking that won’t break your travel budget

When most people book a flight, they search and search for the cheapest fare. With airfares skyrocketing, people are holding out longer. Some are even driving several hours to a different airport to save money. Once you book that flight, are you applying the same research tools to save money on parking? Spend ten minutes before you leave for the airport to save big bucks.

We drove to Pittsburgh for our wedding and honeymoon because Cleveland flights are simply astronomical. We saved $600 just on our return trip by flying out of Pittsburgh rather than Cleveland, but our return flight didn’t arrive until almost midnight. We didn’t want to drive home at that hour, and we were going to be gone for sixteen days. With a hotel and parking, it doesn’t take long for the expenses to eat away at your savings.

Sixteen days of parking at the airport would cost $128. I tried to find my normal $50 hotel, but had no luck. Once the Priceline price tag reached around $90, I began looking for other options.

Many airport hotels offer great discounts on parking and hotels. They’re called a Park, Sleep, Fly package and can save you big bucks. There’s an entire Park, Sleep, Fly website that helps you find the deals. We paid $128 with taxes for 16 days parking, a night’s stay, breakfast, and shuttle to/from the airport. You can’t beat that.

I highly suggest this option if you can’t find a good deal for a hotel room on Priceline. When I say good deal, I mean $50-75. I never pay more than that in a big city for any hotel room. Call around and you might be able to save even more by doing a price comparison of hotels.

If you don’t want to sleep, call some of these hotels that offer packages. They may charge you a reduced or flat fee to just park your car for the duration of your trip. At last check, there are some airport hotels in the Cleveland area that offer reduced parking rates. Plus, they’ll transport you to the airport. Just check, because sometimes these shuttles run only once an hour.

Just like you shop around for that airfare, do the same for parking whether you are travel for the holidays or a vacation any time of year.

Vacation getaways at a great price

 It’s week two of Groupon Getaways, and there is a new group of exotic getaways. I’ve been checking the sales of last week’s featured items, and at last check 7 deals sold out and 13 did not. The Vegas trip I mentioned last week didn’t sell out at last check.

Saving on vacation is not new to Groupon. SniqueAway is another great site to save on hotels and resorts. The Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill is featured this week for just over $100 a night for a room. These are four or five star hotels that receive a TripAdvisor rating of four out of five. You get an idea of what other travellers thought of the hotel because there’s a review next to the deal.

The difference between the two sites is that SniqueAway is a members only private sale. If one of your friends is on SniqueAway, ask them to invite you so you can begin to cash in on the discounts.

Better Business Bureau warning: hotel scam

If you got a phone call in your hotel room in the middle of the night asking for your credit card number would you divulge it? According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving east Texas, hotel guests are falling for the scam.

According to the BBB, the caller identifies themself as a hotel employee and tells the guest the hotel computer system crashed. The BBB says the guest is told their credit card information is needed, and a discount on the room is offered for the inconvenience.

There is no indication this is a widespread ripoff at this point, but it caught my attention because it’s unique. If I got a call in the middle of the night, I’d probably tell the hotel employee to call back in the morning. I wouldn’t get out of bed to grab my wallet in the middle of the night. However, when people are awoken they are not thinking as clearly so someone may fall for the ripoff.