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Double Check That Hotel Bill

Jason Womack of In The Life had a very eye-opening post today referencing an article from USA Today [3] about how hotels, either purposefully or by accident, overcharge patrons. Both articles reference a review by Corporate Lodging Consultants, a company that negotiates hotel rates for various companies; of one of their client’s charges within the last twelve months. The results? 11.6% of the bills were incorrectly charged with an average overpayment of $11.35 a night. Extend that to 1.4M rooms a night, the US average, and that means approximately $500M in overcharges.

What makes it worse is that it appears that a lot of these errors are commonplace. American Express said that “that room rates quoted by central reservation systems differed from negotiated rates 56% of the time.” A “vast majority” of which benefited the hotel (duh!)… FIFTY SIX PERCENT!? That’s ridiculous. The stories in the USA Today article explains are very eye-opening; I suggest you check it out (especially about how someone was charged $16 for picking up a bottle of water).

Here are the stats:

Kansas-based Corporate Lodging Consultants examined hotel room charges of a major client for the 12 months ended April 30. Study highlights:

  • Nightly charges examined: 624,606
  • Nightly charges that varied from the negotiated room rate: 72,269, or 11.6%.
  • Total overcharge: $820,250.
  • Average overcharge: $11.35 per room per night.
  • Source: Corporate Lodging Consultants

    There’s also a story about how Florida’s attorney general’s office is investigating four hotel chains for illegally overcharging folks…

    Personally, I’ve always double checked each and every charge (hotel, airfare, everything) because mistakes always happen and now, given the statistics, you probably should too. 🙂