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Service Fees

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Proud Texan

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For reservations, do any of you charge a "Service Fee" in addition to state and local taxes?
If so, for what purpose. It's seems only fair since we have to pay service fees for everything else.
I know state laws vary, but isn't illegal to specifically charge a fee to cover credit card transactions?
 

EmptyNest

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Yes it is illegal to charge a service fee to cover your credit card charges. I would never charge a service fee...but I make sure my room rates cover all my costs:)
 

swirt

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It's not so much illegal, as in criminal law, to charge a fee. It is against the contract you signed with your credit card processor. So it would be a breech of contract.
 

EmptyNest

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It's not so much illegal, as in criminal law, to charge a fee. It is against the contract you signed with your credit card processor. So it would be a breech of contract..
yeah that's what I meant...just didn't go back to edit;-(
 

NW BB

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I am one of the inspectors for our state association and I recently inspected a b&b that was applying for membership. I found that they charged a "surcharge" of approx. 5%. When I questioned them what it was for they said it was to cover the extras, such as wi-fi, beverages, cookies, etc.
After I explained to them that those things are not "extras" in a B&B, andoneof the reasons why guests choose to stay in a B&B and not a motel is that we don't add on extra charges for every little thing. I encouraged them to just raise their room rates by a couple of dollars.
It made sense to them, so they just raised their rates a few bucks. Personally, I think adding any extra charges "cheapens" the experience of the guest. Just adjust your rate to the amount you need to cover the bills and make your profit.
 

swirt

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I am one of the inspectors for our state association and I recently inspected a b&b that was applying for membership. I found that they charged a "surcharge" of approx. 5%. When I questioned them what it was for they said it was to cover the extras, such as wi-fi, beverages, cookies, etc.
After I explained to them that those things are not "extras" in a B&B, andoneof the reasons why guests choose to stay in a B&B and not a motel is that we don't add on extra charges for every little thing. I encouraged them to just raise their room rates by a couple of dollars.
It made sense to them, so they just raised their rates a few bucks. Personally, I think adding any extra charges "cheapens" the experience of the guest. Just adjust your rate to the amount you need to cover the bills and make your profit..
Excellent point you and Catlady make about making sure it is all part of the room cost. I can't think of a good marketing reason to throw that is as a separate line item.
 

Samster

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I have seen a few higher end B&B/inns in California charging some kind of a fee and also a automatic gratuity for their staff. Let me see if I can go to find out what the wording was.
Edited to Add: Drat! I can't find the ones that I was thinking of...I'll keep looking. What I did see was some very well known, 4 diamond B&Bs who have "Sale" prices on their room rates...I have never seen that before at these places.
 

Copperhead

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I was just reminded of another reason not to charge a service fee...because HOTELS do it, that's why! It was noted in the tread "Getting the Best Hotel Room for the best Price - Inn the news 1-31-09
 

Samster

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Here's what a high end place near Asheville, NC has on their policy page (they include 3 meals a day & activities though). It's also a Select Registry Inn, larger, and no doubt, run by staff.
15% service charge, 7% state tax and 4% room tax are additional.
 

muirford

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Here's what a high end place near Asheville, NC has on their policy page (they include 3 meals a day & activities though). It's also a Select Registry Inn, larger, and no doubt, run by staff.
15% service charge, 7% state tax and 4% room tax are additional..
So many places these days charge a 'resort' fee - even regular hotels, if they have a fitness center or some other amenities. If you complain you can get it taken off, sometimes. And most of them charge you for the paper they drop off at your room - you can add that to the list of things that B&Bs don't charge for.
 

1linda

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The gas co can charge a fee, the state can charge a fee, but lowly little B and B would loose her B and B ability to take credit cards. It does vex me.
I have even told the gas co etc that, but so far the comments have fallen on dead ears. So how is it that this can happen?
 

Samster

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Here's what a high end place near Asheville, NC has on their policy page (they include 3 meals a day & activities though). It's also a Select Registry Inn, larger, and no doubt, run by staff.
15% service charge, 7% state tax and 4% room tax are additional..
So many places these days charge a 'resort' fee - even regular hotels, if they have a fitness center or some other amenities. If you complain you can get it taken off, sometimes. And most of them charge you for the paper they drop off at your room - you can add that to the list of things that B&Bs don't charge for.
.
Yes, we have a looooooooooooooong list of things that we provide for gratis, don't we?
This is when I want to smack the people that ask for some dumb discount on top of whatever promotion I'm running.

Not to mention, I was just thinking as I stripped EVERYTHING that could be washed out of a room where a guest stayed who had a roaring cold and have spent twice the time cleaning with major disinfectant (which is not a short time because it's a large room with steam shower & jetted tub!). Do you think hotels do that? HA! I don't think so....
 

Morticia

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No, I don't charge a service fee. Like someone else said, raise the rates to cover whatever the service fee would cover and then stress that 'everything' is included in the price.
 

Mr.Design

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I wouldn't charge one and it ticks me off the places that do. I booked a hotel on Orbitz a few weeks ago and it said my total was around $109 or something like that. At the "congrats" page it said I was charged $116. I called them and explained what it had said before, $109, and how it charged me more. After getting the run around they finally told me it was a "miscellaneous fee." Oh, well okay then!
 
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