Are You Paying Hidden Fees When Booking Hotel Rooms?

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ — Are you paying $4 to $10 per night in extra hotel booking fees? You probably are if you use one of the mega-travel sites, such as Expedia,, Travelocity or Orbitz. Now consumers can avoid those hidden fees and other charges by booking through, a new “consumer-friendly” hotel booking site.

Most people do not realize they are paying hidden fees on the mega-sites, because they are added at the very end of the booking process. A recent comparison of rates for a popular hotel in Washington, D.C., turned up a nightly rate of $215, the same rate quoted on the hotel’s own site. The local hotel tax rate is 14.5 percent, so the final rate should be $246.18 per night.

But the Expedia rate was $251 — a difference of $4.82 per night. It was hidden under the term “service fees.” For a typical three-night stay, that amounts to almost $15 in extra fees. For other hotels in downtown Washington and nearby Arlington, Virginia, hidden fees ranged from $4 to $9 per night. The same type of fees were found on Travelocity, Orbitz, and

The mega-sites rely on so-called “merchant model” rates. They contract with the hotel for inventory, mark up the rate to include taxes and fees, and sell it directly to the customer. Merchant model rates pose other drawbacks for the consumer. For example, on the mega-sites a customer is required to pay the entire hotel bill on his credit card at the time of booking, even when only a credit card guarantee is required at the hotel. When you need to cancel or modify a reservation, the mega-sites may charge $25 or more, even if that charge that is not required by the hotel.

All of these problems are eliminated on Unlike the mega-sites, does not rely on merchant model rates. Using the latest XML technology, connects the consumer directly to the hotels. Consumers can compare all available rates, including AAA, AARP corporate and government rates.

At consumers can shop for rates and availability, select a hotel, book the discounted rates online with a simple credit card guarantee (not a full payment), and pay directly to the hotel upon checkout. Best of all, there are no hidden booking fees, and no extra cancellation charges. That’s why it is called the “consumer-friendly” choice for booking online hotel rooms.

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