New Hotel Chain Fee Riles Travelers

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A new charge aimed at reducing cancellations at Hilton-owned hotels is catching some customers by surprise -- and not in a good way.

Hilton Worldwide is testing a new fee at some of its hotels. Not surprisingly, the move has drawn the ire of fee-weary travelers.

Hilton has enacted a $50 cancellation fee at nearly two dozen of its hotels, including Hilton, DoubleTree and Embassy Suites brands. It’s in the middle of a two-month trial period for the extra fee, which requires that travelers pay $50 to cancel a room reservation, regardless of when the cancellation request is received, Money reports.

Members of the Hilton Honors loyalty program are exempt from the fee.

Hotel cancellation fees are incredibly unpopular with travelers. In fact, the cancellation fee was among the most hated travel fees in a recent survey by MileCards.com.

A whopping 94 percent of people said they disagreed with the $50 Hilton cancellation fee in a recent poll on Elliott.org.

The Hilton also added a cancellation policy Jan. 1, 2015, which requires people who cancel their room on the day of their booked stay to pay for a full night’s lodging and applicable tax, Money explains.

The hospitality giant has defended its new cancellation policy and the $50 fee as an effort to decrease what it sees as unacceptably high cancellation rates at its hotels.

“With record occupancies, many rooms are being held, then not used, meaning other customers who want those rooms cannot book them,” Chris Silcock, Hilton Worldwide’s chief commercial officer, told Skift. “This is problematic for our customers because they do not always get access to rooms they want, because they are being held but are ultimately canceled.”

Hilton’s cancellation fee is the latest of a growing list of extra charges travelers are accruing these days. In fact, U.S. hotels collected a record number of fees and surcharges in 2015.

U.S. hotels were on track to bring in roughly $2.47 billion in extra fees in 2015 – a 5 percent increase from 2014’s record $2.35 billion, according to data from New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.

If you’re planning a trip and want to make sure you’re not getting nickel and dimed at your hotel, make sure you read the fine print before you make your reservation so you’re not caught by surprise. For more tips, check out “12 Ways to Avoid Obnoxious (and Growing) Hotel Fees.”

What do you think of the $50 cancellation fee Hilton is testing? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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