Hotel and Vacation Condo Pricing

Old May 2nd, 2021, 08:41 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 93
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hotel and Vacation Condo Pricing

Anybody else think that the price of accommodations has gone up? We're finally venturing out for some vacation travel. I booked a hotel in northern Michigan for a week in July and I'm looking for 10 days in Colorado in August or September. Hotel prices seem to be at least 10% to 20% higher than the last time I booked. Granted, that was in 2019 and the owners have some lost income to make up.

But I've also noticed a new and very irritating practice on my favorite booking site (Booking.com). That site is now showing a lot of rental condominiums. That's great in that it provides more options but the condos seem to be offered by an agency like VRBO rather than an owner. And the irritating thing is that the condos are tacking egregious fees onto the base rate, making a price comparison fairly tedious.

In my current search, for example, everyone charges a 10% tax on top of the published rate. Fine, I understand that. But on top of the base rate and the tax the condos are charging assorted fees such as: 9% destination fee, $8/night tourism fee, 18% property service charge, 8% resort fee, and of course a cleaning fee $150 to $450. I think the "property service charge" is a rental commission and the others are just trickle pricing.

The condos show several of these fees, adding around 50% to the base price of the rental and making it impossible to compare prices without a lot of calculation. Come on booking services -- you can do a lot better. Anything that's not a tax imposed by law is a cost of doing business and should included in the base rate!

What do other Fodorites think?
MichGuy is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2021, 09:42 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,975
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We have travelled steadily the past 5-6 years (mostly snowbird treks from Seattle to Palm Springs), and you are definitely right. We keep close track of our lodging expenses and we used to average around $95-$100 per night for the 5 nights it took us to make the drive down and now this year it is closer to $125/night. We mostly stay at properties that have full kitchens (even before the pandemic since we like to stay in for coffee and breakfast) like a residence inn or other. Sometimes we will stay in a VRBO or airbnb but usually find the extra charges, lack of flex and the inconsistency in the quality of properties not as appealing to us.

I agree that it is getting harder to use booking.com to actually price compare-it is tedious as you say to makes sure you include taxes, cleaning fees. etc. on those properties. And this year I have found better pricing by booking directly with Hilton or Marriott using a AAA or senior rate.
jpie is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2021, 11:11 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,066
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
I've definitely noticed - first noticed it when I booked hotels for a short trip in our state (CO) last September, then again when I booked a week long CO road trip in late April and a two week trip to WY, ID and Utah for May. I've not used Booking.com lately so hadn't noticed all their extra fees, but it doesn't surprise me.

I've been using a combination of Hotels.com, Priceline and hotel sites booking whichever offers the best rate, but they've all gone up.

What's annoying is that hotels are offering less (no cleaning during one's stay or a very abbreviated service, and no breakfast or a very limited breakfast) yet charging more. Last September we couldn't even get coffee, let alone breakfast in a hotel that usually offered it.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2021, 04:36 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 20,310
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yep. Motel 6 is looking better and better. Why pay for services that you won't be getting? These days there isn't much breakfast beyond a bad pastry or granola bar and a piece of fruit, coffee. Nearly all hotels and motels now have at least a refrigerator and microwave, a full kitchen is nice but not really necessary for me.

I travel with a mug that can be microwaved to heat some water and some packets of tea and instant coffee, in the case he room lacks a coffeemaker. Even if the lobby has coffee, I need some before I go there.

Condos have always had those addon fees. The taxes are probably set by the local jurisdiction, cleaning fees are nothing new, I know that Airbnb and Vrbo also had booking fee.

I use hotels.com, Expedia, Priceline, booking.com, Airbnb and the lodging's website. Whichever has the best combo of price and cancel policy.





mlgb is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2021, 05:33 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 67,781
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
I don't disagree with your premise -- things do seem to have gone up quite a bit in popular destinations even with the reduced services and amenities they blame on covid. But just one little clarification:

"That's great in that it provides more options but the condos seem to be offered by an agency like VRBO rather than an owner". vrbo (and airbnb, etc) is not an agency. They don't own, manage, or operate any properties. They are simply listing sites and you are renting from the owner. vrbo is just putting you together with the owner (and taking their own small cut). More insurance/assurance than Craigslist but still really just a listing site.
janisj is online now  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 02:44 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,473
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yea, I noticed but I don't think it is unexpected with things opening up. As for less services--cleaning, breakfast--this may change in the fall but right now it is probably Covid related. I don't want the housekeeper coming in actually and the breakfast bar either.
Prices--more demand? AND there is such a labor crunch that hotels are probably having to do what restaurants including fast food places--paying more because people are not coming back to work.
This summer may seem like Covid is over but it ain't--there's a lot of fallout to come, hopefully NOT another surge but if vaccinations don't increase, don't bet on that horse either.
Gretchen is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 08:04 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 20,310
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes to what Gretchen said. The B&B I used in McAllen Texas was down to one housekeeper. There are help wanted signs posted in virtually every fast-food joint.

I stayed 5 nights at a Motel 6 in Winnie, Texas and they were doing housekeeping every other day. You could do a towel exchange at the front desk and empty your own wastebaskets. They were offeriing the famously bad Motel 6 coffee in the lobby but it was left up to the individual hotel to decide whether to still do coffee service.



mlgb is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 06:45 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 5,078
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
A lot of restaurant workers are getting called out for not going back to work but they are still getting vaccinated and don't want to risk their own health serving maskless people. When you make less than 6 an hour and depend on tips you weigh the options.

We are going to Maine for our vehicle and all our hotels are averaging 200 a night or more. We are coming back through Vermont, NY, Gettysburg, Va, and our last night in Savannah which was the cheapest in the historical district. I feel ok about it as they all have had a rough year and don't blame them if they can get it.
I try and always book direct with the hotel. I think we are using Hilton twice but the rest are privately owned Inns. Eight nights and I wanted something different in each place. The place in Maine is on a beach. I can't wait. I had trouble with booking.com trying to cancel a place in Germany during COVID and now just use it as a feeler for what is out there. You can normally book the hotel or apartment direct.
Macross is offline  
Old May 4th, 2021, 03:10 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,473
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When you make less than 6 an hour and depend on tips you weigh the options.

My DSIL is paying $30/hour with benefits and can't get employees as are a lot of other restaurants. Our retirement communtiy pays $10/hour to even high school students and is having trouble filling needs. The employment market is BRUTAL.

Last edited by Gretchen; May 4th, 2021 at 03:28 AM.
Gretchen is offline  
Old May 4th, 2021, 04:12 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 5,078
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Gretchen, where is his restaurant? Everything is wide open where I live in tourist central but the pay is really horrible. My brother pays 15 an hour in NY plus they make great tips. He still isn't open and never will now. Over a year closed and they have moved on in a different direction to make a living. Ten years of hard work gone but they have moved on to work in other areas. We just don't have enough service workers here to fill low paying jobs.
The unemployment here doesn't cover bills, especially in Orlando.


Macross is offline  
Old May 4th, 2021, 08:26 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 93
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Actually I'm commenting primarily on the trickle pricing coming from the condos and how the booking sites handle it so poorly, making it tedious for users (us) to compare the price on one unit to another. Especially to compare a condo to a hotel. I think the booking sites could find a way to put pricing on the same basis for all units, not that hard.

I think the comments here about pricing in general are spot on. The higher prices are demand driven and that's normal. Plus owners have to make some money after the last 15 months. And no problem with reduced service levels either. Most of that is covid related and, frankly, I don't want people around yet. We are still not eating in restaurants and when we're on the road we get take out and eat it in the hotel. Sympathy for the restaurant people. We try to tip to make up for their situation.
MichGuy is offline  
Old May 4th, 2021, 10:47 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 297
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I understand where you are coming from. If I go to the VRBO site I fully expect there to be a service charge and cleaning fee, but not a hotel site like booking/orbitz/priceline. I want to see the all in price up front.
DaveS is offline  
Old May 4th, 2021, 03:52 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,066
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
I've spent the past few days looking at apartments in Switzerland on Booking.com, and I'm lured in by what seems a reasonable price, only to find a whole list of add-ons such as the expected cleaning, but also things like spa taxes, bed linen rental, tourist tax, etc. I've seen this before on Booking.com, at least for rentals in Switzerland and Austria, but I've not seen it applied to US rentals...but then again I haven't looked for apartments in the US lately.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old May 5th, 2021, 03:12 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,473
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Macross View Post
Gretchen, where is his restaurant? Everything is wide open where I live in tourist central but the pay is really horrible. My brother pays 15 an hour in NY plus they make great tips. He still isn't open and never will now. Over a year closed and they have moved on in a different direction to make a living. Ten years of hard work gone but they have moved on to work in other areas. We just don't have enough service workers here to fill low paying jobs.
The unemployment here doesn't cover bills, especially in Orlando.
WELL, you have enough to fill the places at low pay. When unemployment funds run out this summer it may be different too. But people are paying a LOT here.
We are in Charlotte and when the lockdown first came it was awful because his restaurants (seafood/oyster bar and hamburger "joint") were not at all set up for a pickup style service. They were able to hang on and adapt and actually finally "thrive" because of innovating and hard work. A LOT of upscale (particularly) places in Charlotte did not survive. One place is in dwontown which is of course a ghost town and it was hardest to turn around.

They have opened 2 more of the hamburger spots (it is rated 34th on Yelp for best in USA!) and NEED staff. They pay well, have benefits and are BIG tip places and can't get hires.

Last edited by Gretchen; May 5th, 2021 at 03:15 AM.
Gretchen is offline  
Old May 5th, 2021, 06:33 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,975
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Very interesting thread from many perspectives and it lines up with our experience over the past year of travel. Airbnb has started to at least show the "full price" on the top page of the listing so it will say something like $130/night $251 total, so that is an improvement (my biggest heartburn with them however is that they won't allow you to sort the listings).

With booking.com, they do tell you something like "excludes" 11.5% tax, etc. blah blah blah. So sometimes I go ahead and start to select the property just to get the page with the total cost of the stay. But this is tedious and also annoying because then they want you to "finish your reservation" even if you delete the choice.

We are having a similar experience as others in that housekeeping is not offered daily and like others, we are fine with that and actually prefer not to have other people in the room. We also are tipping generously for both housekeeping and restaurant and take out meals since we appreciate so much the work they are doing during this difficult times.
jpie is offline  
Old May 5th, 2021, 07:36 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 93
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Melnq8 and Jpie -- This is exactly what I'm talking about. Sure, the information is there but it's tedious to use it Of course the condo owners / listing agencies do it on purpose to get the perception of a lower price. And a higher place on the list if you filter by price.

The listing websites could fix this if they wanted. It's software. (Are you listening Booking.com?) Although I don't use AirBnB I'm glad to hear that they figured this out. See, it can be done.
MichGuy is offline  
Old May 6th, 2021, 06:05 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,975
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes I totally agree! Unfortunately the choices these companies make are not usually driven by what is best and easiest for us, but what they believe will drive the most sales for them. Otherwise, airbnb would give us a way to sort instead of just expecting you to endlessly shop by moving around on the map. I actually think that folks like booking in particular are going to be hurt most by the fact that the large hotel chains like Marriott are figuring out ways to make their websites easier and more powerful to book and can ultimately offer the most rooms at the best price. So more and more I am booking directly with the properties.
jpie is offline  
Old May 6th, 2021, 08:04 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 20,310
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I also look at the hotel websites. On my recent Texas trip I used the full range of options including direct with property. True it takes a bit of work and you do need to go to the final page to see the all-in price.

But I almost never beat the booking or hotels.com prices, even with a Senior Discount. The one exception was Motel 6 which will always be equal, and in one case of a longer 5-day stay, better. And easier to cancel if you book direct.

I don't expect Airbnb or any of those places with cleaning fees to be a good value, not in the US anyways. I've only used them overseas (Ecuador and South Africa) where they can work out better. But again, you lose out on 24hour front desks and onsite assistance.
mlgb is offline  
Old May 7th, 2021, 06:59 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,975
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I used to use booking almost exclusively because it seemed like I could get a better price there even when using discounts directly with hotels at their websites, but lately I have been more successful with the hotel's own website. This is especially true if the hotel is one of the large chains and/or if I want to get something like a suite-many times booking might not have, like a 2 bedroom 2 bath suite at a property like Marriott for example. On the drive back we are about to make from Palm Springs, 2 of the properties I booked directly with the hotels and 3 of the properties via booking. We also always book with free cancellation since our plans can change more these days.

Last edited by jpie; May 7th, 2021 at 07:01 AM.
jpie is offline  
Old May 7th, 2021, 09:30 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 20,310
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It seemed to me in booking some places recently, that lodgings have done away with rooms that can't be cancelled. That used to be where the big discounts came from. Hence right now there might be less advantage using those third-party sites.
mlgb is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:37 AM.