A reader emailed me a question about a hotel fee that’s becoming increasingly common, which I wanted to address in this post. I’ll share what I think, and then I’m curious to hear what the OMAAT community thinks.
In this post:
Hotels charging fees to accept packages
There are all kinds of situations where it can be useful to have a package shipped to your hotel, either prior to your arrival or during your stay. Maybe you want to send some luggage ahead of time, or maybe you just need to order something from Amazon.
Almost across the board, having something shipped to a hotel you’re staying at shouldn’t be an issue. However, back in the day this consistently wouldn’t cost anything, while nowadays we’re seeing some hotels (especially large properties in major cities) monetize this service.
For example, an OMAAT reader shares that he’s going to stay at a Hyatt in Miami in the near future, and he emailed the hotel to inform them about having packages sent there. The hotel responded with a price list of how much this service costs, based on the weight of the package:
- Under 1lb is free
- 1-5lbs costs $5
- 6-20lbs costs $10
- 21-35lbs costs $20
- 36-50lbs costs $40
- 51lbs+ costs $40
- A pallet costs $150
I haven’t heard of a tiered pricing model like this before, but rather there’s typically just a flat fee for accepting a package, for those hotels that do charge. So I guess to look at the bright side, you could have an envelope or letter shipped to the hotel for free… yay?
Is a package acceptance fee unreasonable?
As far as I know, no major hotel group has a policy against individual hotels charging fees to accept packages. Is it fair, though?
Well, it’s certainly not terribly hospitable, it leaves a bad impression with a guest before they even arrive, and it feels like nickel-and-diming.
However, this becoming an increasingly common trend shouldn’t be a surprise. We’ve seen owners of hotel investment companies urge the major hotel groups to stop giving things away, and to seek inspiration from ultra low cost carriers. From housekeeping and room service being reduced, to limited hours for restaurants, to club lounges remaining closed, this is all trying to accomplish the same thing — minimize costs and maximize revenue.
I can’t help but wonder if this policy was initially introduced because some people were really taking advantage of it, and having huge numbers of packages sent to hotels.
In fairness to hotels, accepting packages does take a bit of effort, in terms of accepting the package, storing it, and bringing it to the room, and on top of that there’s potential liability. Personally I find a package handling fee less offensive than just a blanket destination fee, though that’s not exactly an endorsement of the practice.
While I wouldn’t say it’s widespread (yet), it’s not uncommon nowadays to see hotels charge fees for accepting packages. This used to constantly be free, but unfortunately many hotels are now looking to Spirit Airlines rather than Singapore Airlines for inspiration on how to run their business.
What do you make of hotels charging package handling fees? Have you encountered this?