Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Watch Out: Hotel Energy Surcharges Are Slowly Returning in 2021

Remember when hotel and resort properties implemented energy surcharges to cover rising utility bills back in 2000 — often without advance notice to you, the guest? Some hotel properties even charged a fee just for having a telephone in your room — whether you used it or not. Lawsuits against lodging companies were filed. The result was that lawyers were paid handsomely; while you were offered a coupon. Whoopie.

Watch Out: Hotel Energy Surcharges Are Slowly Returning in 2021

As a result of a number of recent factors — such as rising fuel prices and financial losses from the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic as two examples — hotel and resort properties are scrambling to find creative ways of increasing revenue in order to be more profitable…

…and one of those ways is the return of the energy surcharge. Yes, that electricity that is provided to your room during your stay may actually be an extra charge — whether you use it or not — rather than being included in the room rate.

As one example, take a look at the fine print at the bottom of the official Internet web site of the Artisan Hotel Boutique in Las Vegas…

Click on the screen shot for an enlarged view. Source: Artisan Hotel Boutique.

…which informs that “Artisan’s standard $19.95 resort fee & $3.95 daily energy surcharge applies.”

Click on the screen shot for an enlarged view. Source: Artisan Hotel Boutique.

In booking a random reservation for checking in on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 and checking out the next day on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, as the displayed rate is $36.00…

Click on the screen shot for an enlarged view. Source: Artisan Hotel Boutique.

…the next screen shows that the lowest room rate is actually $45.00 for the rack rate…

Click on the screen shot for an enlarged view. Source: Artisan Hotel Boutique.

…unless you know to click on the small chevron to the right of the room rate, where the promotion rate of $36.00 must be selected in order to procure that rate.

Click on the screen shot for an enlarged view. Source: Artisan Hotel Boutique.

Perhaps members of the management team at the hotel property are hoping that someone thinks “I thought I saw $36.00? Oh, well — that must be sold out. $45.00 is still not a bad rate for a night. I will just go along with that rate.”

Anyway, the initially hidden promotion rate of $36.00 was chosen…

Click on the screen shot for an enlarged view. Source: Artisan Hotel Boutique.

…and the total cost of the room for the night winds up being $67.92, which is almost double the room rate because it includes taxes and the resort fees. Note that the word fees is plural and not singular — and also note that you are charged taxes on those resort fees.

Something does not add up here — literally: $19.95 for the resort fees plus $3.95 for the daily energy surcharge adds up to $23.90 and not $22.62. Is the daily energy surcharge not listed here?

Boutique hotel properties are not the only lodging options which are implementing energy surcharges. Hotel and resort properties which are part of multinational corporations are getting in on this scheme as well. As another example, take a look at Hyatt Place Chicago O’Hare for the same dates as the Artisan Hotel Boutique…

Click on the screen shot for an enlarged view. Source: Hyatt Place Chicago/O’Hare Airport

…and yes, there it is: an energy surcharge of $5.22 as part of the total cost of $175.08 for the night — at a Hyatt Place hotel property.

Summary

What — did you really think that life would return to normal as the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic started winding down after most of the entire planet was shut down and isolated? Did you really think that companies were simply going to charge you the same — or less — for products and services as they did before the pandemic after losing a substantial amount of money over the past 16 or so months?

For many of those companies, they are going to recoup their losses — and some of them will do so in unscrupulous ways.

As for a mandatory daily energy surcharge, that is at least as execrable and odious as the infamous mandatory resort fee; and lodging companies should not be allowed to charge it — especially as electricity and hot water are absolutely necessary when staying in a room for the night. A lodging company should simply increase the room rate if more revenue is needed to operate a hotel property.

Combined with shortages of various products and services, you are about to get gouged from all ends by many companies in most industries — and the lodging industry is certainly no exception.

Until further notice and for the foreseeable future, be extra careful about the products and services you choose — and ensure that you avoid staying at lodging companies which charge a mandatory daily energy surcharge, as they do not deserve your money or patronage.

That I vehemently oppose the implementation of mandatory daily resort fees, facilities fees and destination fees is no secret to you if you have been a reader of The Gate for years — they should either be optional or eliminated altogether, along with mandatory daily energy surcharges — and I will just let this extensive body of work over the years pertaining to mandatory daily resort fees speak for me…

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

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