In recent years, hotels and resorts have taken a profitable lesson from the banking industry. According to PriceWaterHouseCooper’s Hospitality Division, surcharges and hidden fees have produced revenues of US$1.6 billion in 2006. This was a 7 percent increase over the previous year. Four years ago, the industry generated US$550 million in surcharges and fees. This means revenue have almost tripled since 2003. It has been estimated that a 7 percent increase for 2007 could bring in nearly US$2 billion in hidden fees and surcharges.

The increase in surcharges and hidden fee revenue coincides with the fact that more travelers are turning to online travel sites. According to PriceWaterhouseCooper, the average daily rates from hotel rooms booked online increased by a higher rate than did the overall industry average.

Industry experts say that the hospitality industry started charging surcharges and fees to recoup losses suffered after 9/11. The industry has since recovered which begs the question: Why is it continuing to charge fees and surcharges that only become apparent at check-out time? For most travelers, check out is not the time to dispute surprise fees and surcharges. They have rental cars to be returned, flights to be caught, and, sometimes, the added stress of traveling with small children.

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