Get ready for some annoying new hotel fees, such as minibar restocking and baggage holding fees, in 2013 as projected modest occupancy increases embolden hotels to tack on new fees and surcharges even for their most loyal guests.
And, regarding existing fees and surcharges that you have come to grudgingly expect, hotels will up their game and charge them more frequently and at higher rates.
Here are five new fees Hanson says to watch out for:
Minibar restocking fees
In addition to paying for the beer or M&Ms that you can't resist in the minibar late at night, hotels will charge a minibar restocking fee once you remove the first item. Restocking fees may range from $2.50 to $5.95.
Baggage holding fees
Can you nostalgically recall the days when you left your bags with a bellhop in the hotel lobby, and merely tipped him/her when you were ready to pick up your bags and head off to the airport? Fuhgetaboutit. The hotel now may typically charge you $2 per bag for the privilege of stowing away your bags for a few hours. The tip is not included.
Tiered Wi-Fi fees
Everyone craves free Wi-Fi, but hotels will increasingly go to tiered Wi-Fi fees. Internet access in your hotel room may be free at basic levels for tasks such as checking your e-mail, but expect one or two additional tiers if you want enough bandwidth to stream that movie on your Netflix app (instead of buying it on the hotel's pay-per-view system).
Early departure fees
If you are due to check out on a Thursday, and plans change, meaning you have to depart a day earlier, the hotel may charge you the full rate for the next night anyway, even if you originally booked a refundable rate.
Hotels are getting more strict about their cancellation policies. Although previously you might have been able to cancel your stay without penalty by 6 p.m. the day before your scheduled arrival, some hotels are closing that window and changing the deadline to 48 or even 72 hours prior to arrival. And guests must pay one night's stay if they cancel too late.
Not all of these fees are new, but expect to see them more frequently in 2013.