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Marriott's $7 water, $2.25 coffee, $12 suntan lotion - what's next?

Marriott's $7 water, $2.25 coffee, $12 suntan lotion - what's next?

Jul 30th, 2004, 07:14 AM
  #41  
 
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k 999 9-

You have missed my point - I would be happy to debate with you about the economy on another forum. Please be aware that this is a travel forum. My original point was that bookings are up at hotels and hotels respond by raising their prices (directly or indirectly) - as you do not seem to realize, this is what happens when the economy gets stronger.
Craig is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 07:35 AM
  #42  
caribtraveler
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Regarding the bandaid incident. We were just at the Hyatt in Coral Gables. There was a small aid kit in the mini-bar! We had never seen that before. Hmmm..didn't check the price either.
The $10 surcharge for the stadium takes the prize I think!
We never touch the mini-bar. Those prices are ridiculous. We always find a local store and buy our drinks/snacks there.
We were in Maui a few years ago and there were so many taxes (with names that make no sense) on our bill at check-out that my husband started asking the front desk employee "so what is exactly this tax for?" He stumped her on a couple of the taxes and she had to go ask the manager.
My "favorite" charge of all time is Westin Maui's charge to GUESTS who use the beach chairs!! My husband and I will never EVER get over that one.
 
Jul 30th, 2004, 07:36 AM
  #43  
 
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you made several points -- not all of them coherent. One of them was that the economy was getting better. Very clear point, and very wrong.
k_999_9 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 09:26 AM
  #44  
 
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Unless you have more money than sense, it's always a good idea to check the details on your hotel bill. I've been erroneously billed for in-room movies I did not watch, phone calls I did not make, and recently, items "moved" in the mini-bar. The front desk will remove these charges if you inform them that they are incorrect.

I can only imagine how many headaches this new system causes for hotel staff. At the last hotel we stayed in with a "you move it we charge you" system, the staff warned us about it at check-in and said to let them know if there were any problems.
Marilyn is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 10:04 AM
  #45  
 
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Yes, hotels (or anyone else) can charge whatever they'd like for whatever they choose. But I would find it annoying and insulting to have all of these little "ads" out in my hotel room. If it were me, I would pick up the phone and ask them to remove them. That's one way to get the message across.
birder is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 10:06 AM
  #46  
 
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Disney can be very bad about nickel-and-diming. Stayed at the Swan once and asked room service for an extra fork- and were told there'd be a $5 charge! Our unhappiness with this must've been clear over the phone, because within ten minutes there was a knock on the door and a staff person had a fork for us, free of charge.
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Jul 30th, 2004, 10:43 AM
  #47  
 
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Whenever I stay at a hotel that lets you view your bill over the TV, I do just that. My HHV bill was fine, no charges that I didn't expect to see. The worst "What the heck is THIS" charge I've ever experienced happened last year on way back from our Yellowstone/Grand Tetons vacation. On our bill was a charge for over $80.00 for Internet access. Not only had we NOT used the Internet, but we hadn't even ARRIVED for the times the Internet was used. Naturally, we had this charge removed ASAP although I still wonder not only how it ended up on OUR bill but also if the hotel tried to get the next guest to pay it!
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Jul 30th, 2004, 10:43 AM
  #48  
 
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Just to clarify, the Swan and Dolphin resorts are run by Starwood, not Disney. They are actually Westin hotels.

Again, you can always ask the hotel to remove all items in the mini bar to avoid charges. This especially usefull if traveling with kids. Honestly, I can't believe people are still surprised that these items are so expensive. They are convenience... if you want them, you will have to pay. Sure, they make it tempting to use, but you can always have the stuff taken away or at least refuse the mini bar key.
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Jul 30th, 2004, 10:47 AM
  #49  
 
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I wonder how hotels would feel if WE started deducting money from our bill for ammenities that were promised but never appeared - like a chair in the room - sorry, can't get over that one just yet! How about the fact that when there are 4 people in the room, they only provide 3 towels towels! How DO they come up with the number 3?
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Jul 30th, 2004, 10:59 AM
  #50  
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Good grief. I hope we never get those minibars. How can you see what's there that you might want if you can't move anything without being charged?

caribtraveller, There is so much to legitimately gripe about anyway with nickel and diming, I really hate that hotels are also getting blamed by anyone for imposing a stadium tax. Here's what I said to Jor about that in my note above: jor, if it's any consolation, every one of the items you mentioned falls under the bed tax umbrella, a tax which a city and/or county imposes on the industry within their jurisdiction. Their [the city/county]rational is that these items draw tourists into the town so the tourism industry should help finance them. There is no choice in the matter however, the hotel must give the city that money on every room they sell! Anyway...that's a tax levied by the city or county on every hotel room sold in whatever city you happen to be in and they all have them--that is not a tax levied by and at the whim of the hotel as a way to make a few extra bucks! You (the hotel) sell the room, the city collects the money from you for that tax.

I checked on our first aid kit...if we had them (yes), and if so what did they contain and how much were they. They have two Alkaseltzer, 2 Tylenol Cold and Flu tablets, 2 Aspirin, and two bandaids, for $2. I'm sure Coral Gables has the same kit, don't know about the price, as that is pretty much up to the GM. Our water, I learned last night over dinner (you know my DH hates these conversations over dinner...the last thing in the world he wants to think or talk about is the hotel business, but that's the price he pays for an addicted wife. I do try to keep it to the bare minimun! ) is $4. Coffee is free, as I said. Resort fees...which we don't have, theoretically are to keep you from having to tip everyone you come in contact with for the week or whatever you are staying. I think we still tip valet, but that's it. Parking...you can self park here at no cost. It isn't ALL about the almighty buck (tho a lot is, for you and me too!)

Almost forget...we also talked some about the bed tax which I thought I understood pretty well. There's an addition to that I didn't know. The state is also in on the bed tax...they take a percentage of it, and in our case it funds such things as www.flausa.com that I've seen mentioned here often. In our case, what is left is divided up between cities within the county and the county after the stadium tax is deducted, as well as the tax to support the St Pete Times Forum which loses money hand over fist--then everyone else starts squabbling over getting their piece of the pie. One local town within our county (and one not in the highly touristed area) wants some to improve their sidewalks! The percentage of tax is set by the city/county with the state setting the upper limit. I know this is more than you wanted to know, my eyes are crossing just writing it, but I really hated to see that stadium thing still misunderstood still. And I must say, it's easy to see why the front desk can't explain what the various taxes are--the average county commissioner couldn't tell you either and they levied them!

Mini bar items are sky high and we rarely use them when we travel either. It's the price you pay for convenience, I guess, and if that cold Coke/beer is needed at that moment, it tastes pretty good to us and we'll put up with the charge...and think ahead next time.

Marriot is supposedly the best in the business for yield management and generally doing it at the same time they are keeping their customers happy and smiling from check-in to check-out, and if they aren't, they work to change it! I do know our pricing is up to the GM and it could be Marriott has an errant hotel/GM, either that or not enough people have been vocal about it. If people gripe about it enough though, who knows what changes you might be able to effect--you are the person they are trying to keep happy and coming back for more. One of those changes, however, will not be that *&^% stadium tax!!

To anyone who made it to the end of this, congratulations!! You are more bored than I today.
OO is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 12:04 PM
  #51  
 
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OO -- too funny about your last line!!

I personally never minded the mini-bar because I don't use it, and I know what it is and that stuff from it will cost alot. It's when stuff is laying around all over your room, and especially if it's an amenity that you're used to getting for free such as in-room coffee, that irks me.

BTW, I am pleased to say I am now an Oldsmar, Florida resident!!! Woo-hoo!!! Unfortunately I'm back in VA for 2 weeks but will be down for good shortly. Hubby is enjoying it down there though!
birder is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 12:55 PM
  #52  
caribtraveler
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OO: I guess I am BORED.
Anyway, I thought state residents ended up footing most of the bill for new stadiums? Anyway, sounds like jor's parents were not in Nebraska to see a game, so I can understand them not being happy with the prospect of a $10 surcharge for that. You may think it's a legitimate charge. I think it's a b.s. one.
 
Jul 30th, 2004, 01:15 PM
  #53  
 
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How's THIS for Economics 101:

Obviously almost nobody touches the mini bar stuff except for executives on expense accounts.

If the hotels would cut the prices of this stuff in half, they'd sell 4 or 5 times as much of it, and would end up making twice the profit.

Meanwhile, the CEO's who actually USE the minibars no matter what the price, would save money since the prices would now be reasonable, and with a few more bright ideas like this wouldn't have to go cutting jobs in order to save their companies from bankruptcy

.

tracys2cents is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 01:23 PM
  #54  
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Two people made it through that! Wow.

caribtraveller somehow I'm not doing a good job explaining the tax...probably too long and tangled a tale, but let me try to restate it, OK? The hotel has absolutely no option but to add that tax on. It is not their choice. The city or county has mandated that they charge the tax on every room they sell. The hotel does not keep the money...it goes to the city. They cannot not charge it. It was legislated by the county commissioners. It's not an optional charge. They are the messenger, if you will, of the city/county's bad news. The hotel can't control the amount...the county sets it, sort of like a sales tax, except they call it a bed tax....that is county government at work!! I hope that's clearer, and I'd better quit now before it gets more detailed. Can anyone tell I've got an electrical engineer's genes? LOL

birder...I saw you'd made the transition. Congratulations on the move...if you love it this time of year, you'll really love it come winter! I hope you'll come down and enjoy our boardwalk and mangroves some early morning or late evening when there's the most activity. It really is beautiful. The most unusual thing I've ever seen, not here but off Courtney Campbell, was a lone flamingo feeding near the hump in the causeway...not a roseate, but a flamingo. He stayed long enough for us to go back to the hotel and get our camera to document him. Amazing sight! I called the zoo and Busch to see if they'd had an escape, but they hadn't. One of them knew there was one in the area, thinks it may have been a chick during Andrew and blown up here. Anyway, welcome, hope the area is everything you want and were looking for.
OO is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 01:41 PM
  #55  
 
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tracys2cents - cutting the price probably would increase sales - that is economics 101 - unfortunately its probably not the ceo's that are paying for this stuff in the first place - it is people too dumb to check the price or too lazy to go out and buy the stuff at normal prices - most ceo's are neither dumb nor lazy (that's how they get to be CEO's). Of course there are exceptions - Ken Lay (Enron) comes to mind.
Craig is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 02:23 PM
  #56  
 
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OO-

Your comment about parking jogged another memory from our recent trip. When we checked in at our hotel in Maui my DH, the frugal one, asked the valet how much much parking would be per day. The valet director on duty who copped the 'if you have to ask you can't afford it' attitude, told him you paid $12 per day whether you used valet service or self-parking. So why would you self-park, other than to save the tip? He let the valet park it (and got the name of the valet director). When we checked in, he asked the front desk manager about the parking charge and it turned out self-parking was free.

That's how the week started at that hotel and as someone else suggested, he checked the charges daily and our room TV and sure enough, erroneous charges turned up several times.
Jayne11159 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 02:27 PM
  #57  
 
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I think the "nickle and diming" is a product of all the websites we love to use where you can compare costs of many hotels over another in the same location - no longer just check the AAA book or the individual hotel's website or even calling the hotel.

So if we see a room at 2 different recognizable brand hotels that we think are relatively comparable, people will pick the lower room rate. No way to compare the costs of the above-mentioned items and surcharges without a lot of effort. I think they've got us.
gail is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 02:27 PM
  #58  
 
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Jayne11159, After hearing this latest tidbit about your adventures in Maui, you MUST post your trip report ASAP!

BTW - I think we were in Hawaii around the same time, although maybe not in Oahu.
Cats_Do_Dance is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 02:37 PM
  #59  
 
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I will I will before all of you who were so helpful think we didn't enjoy ourselves in HI!! We did--I promise I'll get to the good parts!
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Jul 30th, 2004, 07:23 PM
  #60  
 
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gail, you are absolutely right. That is the missing piece of this annoying picture. We all compare hotel rates but we don't know if we are comparing apples to oranges. The hotel wants to offer the lowest rate so it will get the clientele, but then it has to tack on these bogus charges so the bottom line doesn't decline.

OO, maybe the simplest way to say it is that the hotel has no more control over charges like a stadium tax or a bed tax (badly named, from a marketing perspective!) than it does over state sales tax. In this case, I think the hotel gets the blame unfairly.
Marilyn is offline  

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