If you’re planning to book a hotel soon, you may be surprised to learn that some things you used to pay extra for are now included in the nightly rate.
A new study from the American Hotel & Lodging Association identified a number of trends in the hospitality business that affect the price of your hotel stay. Every two years, the organization reaches out to hotel properties in the United States to complete a survey about the state of the industry. Here are some of the major findings from the 8,000 hotels that responded:
Remember when the big hotel chains all charged for Wi-Fi? Those days are gone, at least for the most part. The study found that 98% of hotels have in-room Internet, but only 9% charge a fee for the service. If your hotel doesn’t provide free Wi-Fi, ask the front desk for it. Some hotel rewards credit cards may also entitle you to free surfing.
Your mother may have told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s a good thing that 62% of hotels will serve you a morning meal for free. Midscale, upper-midscale and economy hotels are most likely to have complimentary breakfast.
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Just want to relax in your hotel room after a long day of traveling? Chances are you won’t find an old Zenith! The study found that 88% of U.S. hotel rooms are equipped with a high-definition or flat screen TV for your viewing pleasure. Many hotels also provide premium channels for free.
Hotels are making it more convenient for you to check-in on your smartphone and see if your room is ready before you even get to the property. The study found that 65% of hotels offer a mobile check-in tool, largely upper-midscale to luxury locations.
If you can’t stand the smell of smoke, no worries! An all-time high of 97% of hotels offer non-smoking rooms. In fact, the study found that four out of five economy hotels have gone smoke-free. You should know that violating a hotel’s no-smoking policy can result in a hefty charge.
Staying near the airport? No need to order a taxi or an Uber. You’ll be happy to know that 85% of hotels near airport locations provide free shuttle service. Just don’t forget to leave a few bucks for the driver.
Overall, 85% of hotels have free parking, which is up from 72% in 2014. But larger hotels (130+ rooms) are far less likely to give you a free space. And if you’re splurging for a luxury property, valet service is standard.
When you’re looking for a hotel deal on Priceline or Hotwire, two of Clark Howard’s favorite sites, the key is to book a place that has the amenities you’re looking for. If you do some research, you can avoid paying a premium for the extras once you arrive. And even though the specific hotel may be a mystery on these sites, the amenities are listed for you to see, such as free Internet, free breakfast and free parking.
To score the best hotel deals, here’s the strategy that Clark uses 95% of the time to save money.