Is 5 Euros For a Hotel Airport Shuttle Fair or Ridiculous?

“From 1st August 2017 our shuttle bus operation will change. The shuttle bus will run every 30 mins (traffic permitting) from 04.00 am to 23.30 pm with seating for up to 28 people max. There will be a charge of EUR 5.00 per person return or EUR 3.00 per person one way.”

Is 5 Euros For a Hotel Airport Shuttle Fair or Ridiculous?

The text you just read was from a yellow alert box found at the top of the official Internet web site of the Hilton Dublin Airport hotel property, at which I stayed almost three years ago. At that time, I paid in advance 59.63 euros per night for a total of 178.89 euros in total; but that room rate has since all but vanished.

To use the shuttle bus service one way back to the airport currently costs two euros — even though the service from the airport to the hotel property is complimentary. At the time I stayed at the hotel property, I personally believed that this charge was rather petty.

My stay did not start off well: even though the airplane operated by Ryanair on which I was a passenger for my first flight arrived approximately 20 minutes ahead of its original scheduled time of 23:40, I still was unable to catch the airport shuttle bus to the hotel, as the last pick-up scheduled from Zone 14 at the airport was at 23:40. The gates which serve Ryanair flights at Dublin Airport seem to be in their own county, as it felt like the walk was at least one kilometer — and then I still had to go through passport control.

There I was standing out in the cold, wet rain staring at the shuttle buses of other hotel properties still collecting and transporting their guests.

I went inside and told the person behind the information desk of my dilemma. She told me where the hotel courtesy telephones were located. When I tried to use the one for Hilton Dublin Airport, all it did was beep as though it was out of service. The person behind the information desk called the hotel property. After telling them of my situation, a special shuttle bus pick-up was scheduled.

The last shuttle bus will apparently be scheduled ten minutes earlier when the fee is increased. That would not have been helpful to me in the situation through which I experienced — and yet I would be required to pay more for it anyway.

Reaction

Noting that management at this hotel property is no longer “offering any drinks vouchers anymore to Golds/Diamonds alike, plus overnight rates creeping up and there isn’t a lounge either at this Hilton, that’s something to keep in mind when booking this hotel”, FlyerTalk member uggboy opined that “the overall value proposition has pretty much weakened into negative territory in terms of what they offer and how much it actually costs to stay with them, at least for now with all the cuts/rules/new added fees/costs brought in, not forgetting that they made their shuttle bus drivers redundant and outsourced this service, it adds up IMHO, but as a poster mentioned above, the hotel seems to be nevertheless to experience high occupancy volumes. It’s for the guest to decide where to stay and what’s of value to them.”

Apparently, the fee increase for the airport shuttle service at this hotel property is a simple case of supply and demand, as FlyerTalk member BAGoldBoy posted: “I asked why they treated Diamonds so badly and the answer was they don’t need to as they are always full.”

To be fair, charging a fee for operating a shuttle bus between a hotel and an airport is not pure profit, as the time of the driver, maintenance of at least one vehicle and fuel are three of the expenses to be considered — but should those expenses be incorporated into the room rate itself? A fee for an airport shuttle service provided by the airport hotel is not as onerous as a mandatory resort fee; but I would bet that the majority of guests at the Hilton Dublin Airport typically do not rent a car — especially when public bus transportation is available nearby for access to the city centre.

As a comparison, parking a car by yourself currently costs six euros — but I would not be surprised if this fee eventually increased as well.

Summary

One of the reasons I typically choose a hotel property located at or near an airport is for the complimentary shuttle service, as it can potentially save me a significant amount of money on a rental car. I am usually willing to sacrifice some of the convenience of being closer to a city center if the total cost of staying at an airport hotel is significantly less expensive as part of the aforementioned overall value proposition…

…but that value decreases when room rates become more expensive; there are fewer amenities to enjoy; and fees increase.

I still believe that charging a fee for the airport shuttle bus is petty — especially when the current schedule has the airport shuttle bus operating every 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the time of day; and the frequency will apparently be every 30 minutes throughout the entire day — but if what BAGoldBoy posted is true, then management at the Hilton Dublin Airport might be short-sighted. Just because an “opportunity” of supply and demand is favorable on the part of the business does not necessarily mean that one should automatically take advantage of it, as it could foster adverse effects on customers who could use the fee increase as a reason to stay somewhere else.

Then again, if the majority of customers respond by shrugging off the charge and simply paying the fee increase, then that will increase revenue for Hilton Dublin Airport — and could potentially encourage other airport hotel properties in implementing similar fees.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

7 thoughts on “Is 5 Euros For a Hotel Airport Shuttle Fair or Ridiculous?”

  1. NB says:

    Agreed. Oddly enough I was looking to book an airport hotel in Dublin for next month and the Hilton was on the radar. It isn’t any longer.

  2. It is annoying that there is the fee. I realize it is not that much money but I’ve found the airport hotels frequently increase the nightly rate and add fees like this. I guess we need to keep these on our radar.

  3. Donald says:

    The fee should be worked into the room rates. A private hotel car is one thing, but a shuttle bus running back and forth that charges you for the privilege of staying at their property is a joke. Just another of the endless ways to gouge guests by nickel and diming them.

  4. CLiff says:

    Both the limited frequency and the petty charges have been common for the Hilton Dublin Airport for some time, I’m afraid. It definitely doesn’t make it easy or conducive to transit Dublin, and I avoid it any time I can. Moreover, the rooms (with or without Diamond upgrades) are just meh.

  5. It’s amazing how many airport hotels have poor shuttle service, whether it’s infrequent schedules, stopping service before the last flights arrive, or fees. If I’m staying at an airport hotel, it’s for one reason & one reason only: to be able to get to and from the airport as easily as possible. It seems like most of them forget that.

  6. Kregg says:

    I’m going to go against the grain on this one.

    I’m a fan of the unbundling of services. I doubt anyone would argue that they should include the cost for parking in the rate of the room, so why should a driver paying for parking subsidize in his/her room rate the cost of an airport shuttle they’re not using?

    It’s a great convenience – but not everybody will use it.

    I actually stayed at this Hilton in Dublin (with my rental car – and paid for parking) waiting for my friends to fly in early the next morning. When I visit LA, I usually get great last-minute deals at hotels near LAX, even though I’m not flying.

    A public bus would run around the same rate, but this takes you literally to the front door of the hotel, with bell service right there to grab your bag and take them to the room (and the driver will unload your bags at the airport on the return trip.)

    Nope, I’m fine with a shuttle fee. As long as it is truly unbundled – the cost of the room has to reflect that the shuttle expenses to the hotel are covered by the outside fee. Just an extra money grab is unfair.

  7. A says:

    I take shuttle bus fees into consideration when choosing hotels, as you have to factor it into the price when price-shopping. Some of them can really add up.

    But I’m not sure why you’ve got a whiny tone for the beginning part of this-the shuttle ran until 11:30. You got in after that. You complained and the hotel sent a shuttle for you, though it was after the scheduled time.

    If you don’t like the shuttle service hours or price, vote with your feet. I mean, it’s a Hilton. Don’t expect things to be cheap or included at Hiltons.

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