Saturday, June 26, 2010

Local Calls – Why are Leading Hotel Companies Still Charging?

Okay, is it just me, or do you get upset at still being charged for local calls, and 1-800 calls for that matter?

I recently did some travelling, within Canada, and I stayed at two different Hotels, both significant international brands, and both in major Canadian cities. Given the nature of my trip, let’s just say that I wasn’t on a negotiated rate plan of any kind.

Given that I do usually travel either on a corporate rate, or, some sort of negotiated rate, those rate plans have included complimentary local calls, and 1-800 calls etc., and as a result, I had forgotten that both of these highly recognized, significant international brands, still charge the unsuspecting guests for local calls.

I have to admit, I don’t get it. I do understand that it represents a significant amount of revenue to the major chains, when they add it up for the entire company, and therein lies the dilemma.

But please, consumers know that these days, with the overall access to voip, (voice over internet protocol), you can make calls to the other side of the world for mere pennies a minute, and yet hotels continue to charge to make a local call.

I have been making this argument for over a decade now. Look at the optics. You charge a guest $300.00 + a night (or more) plus all the respective area taxes and DMF’s, $15.00 for fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning, and then you charge them another $1.50 because they had to call a restaurant to make a reservation for dinner.

I just don’t see how these Hotels don’t see that on the one hand they speak of service and luxury, while on the other hand, they are seen to nickel and dime the guest after they have made the commitment to stay (and pay) at that luxury branded property.

I know when I was on the front lines, and that was a few years ago, we would have a constant stream of guests complaining at check out. They couldn’t believe that they had just paid $300.00 to $500.00 a night and then someone had stuck them for $1.50 to call a cab.

Will it ever end?

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