Watch for hidden hotel fees when booking your trip online

Watch for hidden hotel fees when booking your trip online

PORTLAND, Ore. – Does a summer getaway sound like a good idea? If you said yes, you might just be doing an online search to find a good hotel deal.

Watch out, however, for the hidden fees that some hotels will tack on your total bill. Those fees don’t always show up right away when searching for rates.

To help expose these hidden fees, we tried doing a search of our own for a hotel in Las Vegas. We turned to Priceline and found a room at Planet Hollywood for $81 a night.

It sounded like a great deal at first. But beware, that price is too good to be true.

A little more digging exposes more hotel fees associated with this room. They’re not taxes or Priceline fees; rather, we’re talking about an actual part of the total price the hotel will have you pay in addition to the posted rate.

You won’t see the extra charge in the search results or even after you enter your personal information. Once we got past all those steps we found an additional mandatory fee on this Vegas room of more than $20 a night. The fee represented a 28 percent increase in the rate displayed on the search page.

We reached out to several travel websites to ask why they don’t include the mandatory fees in the search results. A spokeswoman for Priceline said the company is following what they believe to be standard industry practice.

They may consider in a standard practice, although the Federal Trade Commission says websites should put mandatory fees on the same page as the price.

Representatives from other websites did not get back to us.

We also contacted three hotels – the Planet Hollywood in Vegas, the Aston Waikiki Beach on Oahu and the Sofia in San Diego. All three had mandatory hotel fees that didn’t show up in online search results. Even on their own websites the fees are buried deep in the booking process.

None of the hotels responded to our request for comment.

So how can you know the real cost of your vacation up front? We recommend calling the hotel you choose directly and asking if there are any mandatory fees associated with your stay. Don’t forget to ask about any extras you might want. We’ve seen fees of $15 dollars a day for internet access, $35 for parking and cleaning fees as high as $50.

More: File a complaint against a hotel or website for hiding fees

Do you have a consumer issue you’d like the KATU Problem Solvers to investigate? Email us or call (503) 736-3415.