Hotels Slash Services, Boost Prices

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Some high-end hotels are ditching room service, and other companies are focusing on their value brands.

Many hotels are running a tighter ship these days, with stricter cancellation policies and a wider range of fees.

The largest hotel in New York City, the Hilton Midtown, is doing away with room service in August — and 55 jobs in the process, Crain’s New York Business says. The Hilton Hawaiian Village dropped room service last October, MarketWatch says. Others could follow suit.

“Much like airlines, hotels are looking for ways to maximize ancillary revenue and reduce costs,” Travelzoo editorial director Andrew Young told MarketWatch.

To that end, some are ditching less-used or less-profitable services — which include room service, but also business centers, minibars and spas, MarketWatch says — in favor of free Wi-Fi, free breakfast and free parking.

Sounds like what you would expect from a value hotel. Intercontinental Hotels Group must have had the same thought, because they’re creating 454 more Holiday Inn Express hotels, MarketWatch says.

Others are just bundling desirable amenities into the price tag. Average daily room rates in cities like Seattle and San Francisco are up between a quarter and a third since a year ago, MarketWatch noted.

If hotels really are taking a page from airlines, it’s important not to take travel plans for granted. Check up on policies before you check in, and ask what amenities are included in (or might be excluded from) the price of a room.

Stacy Johnson

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