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August 26, 2014 10:10 PM

Hike In Hotel Fees

Sioux Falls, SD

First the airlines started charging you for bags and food.  Now hotels are cashing in on extra fees--to the tune of $2.25 billion.

Whether you're checking in early or late, request a king sized bed--even the in-room safe--can all come at a price.  But because these charges vary from hotel to hotel, you never really know when you'll face the extra fees.

The Tholen family is leaving the Sioux Falls airport for Portland to attend a wedding.  It's an expensive trip for a group this big and then you add on hotel fees.

"I wish they would tell you upfront what all these, or just have that included in the cost of the hotel, so we know what it is. The fees are always added on and it's a large expense," Randy Tholen said.

We're not talking about taxes.  Hotels can add on fees for just about anything.

"You figure you're going to be charged for the mini-bar, but a lot of them will have bottles of water in the room. You don't realize if you use those bottles of water, they're going to charge you for them," travel agent Kay Parrott said.

Parrott has been in the travel industry for 25 years and has seen the hotel fees rise.

"They took a really big hit when the economy crashed so they are trying to make up for some of what they lost out on that revenue.  We are seeing vacation destinations, just because there is such an increased demand in it," Parrott said.

Las Vegas is a popular destination for people flying out of Sioux Falls because of all the discounted flights, but the hotels, when you add on all the fees, not so much a discount there. 

"Almost every resort out in Vegas is going to add on a resort fee if it's on the strip.  Even some of the hotels that are downtown Las Vegas that didn't used to have those extra fees are adding a downtown fee on to them," Parrot said.

Travelers say some of the fees are downright ridiculous.

"I don't use the workout room. It sounds like they were going to start charging for that.  A towel fee? So you're not supposed to take a shower?" traveler Peg Steinfadt said.

Hotels aren't likely to waive any of their fees, even if you ask.  You'll find most of the hotels that charge add-on fees are at vacation destinations and in larger cities. 

So far the fees are not prevalent in South Dakota.  We checked locally with Regency Hotel Management, which operates nine hotels, including Ramkotas and Cedar Shore resort. It doesn't tack on extra fees except for a $1 per room, per night at its Custer State Park Resort, which goes to the Park and Wildlife Foundation.

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