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What if Hotels Adopt A La Carte Pricing?

There was a time, not too long ago, when you paid for an airline ticket and with it were able to check two bags, get a snack onboard the flight, and reserve any seat in the class of cabin you paid for. In just a few short years, airlines have moved from a more-or-less inclusive model to an a la carte pricing structure – and have made billions by doing so. What if hotels follow?

It isn’t that far-fetched. After all, hotels are struggling in much the same way airlines were – too much capacity, fewer high-yield business travelers and very cost-conscious consumers looking for a rock-bottom price.  One major difference – an airline can park planes in the desert and reduce flight schedules in an effort to gain back pricing power – hotels don’t have that option. Sure, they can cut staff and reduce amenities, but rooms may still sit empty.  It would be bad business for the hotel industry to ignore the revenue stream discovered by the airlines’ a la carte pricing structure and not, at the very least, examine how they might do something similar.

In fact, in a recent New York Times blog post, Michelle Higgins wrote of a hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side that gives guests a $20 per night discount if they decline housekeeping for three days.

In Travelocity’s most recent poll, we asked over 2,000 North American travelers how willing they would be to pay an incremental charge for services if they were no longer included in the hotel stay. The precise breakdown is below, but maid service and towel changes top the list of services travelers are at least somewhat likely to pay for, while personal check-in comes in as the service travelers are least likely. Most surprising is how the vast majority are not likely to pay for any services – meaning if the hotels go the way of the airlines, the majority of us better get used to making our own beds fast.



My name: Genevieve Shaw Brown. I also answer to Genny and Gen.

How I earn my keep: I work at Travelocity.

Greatest travel lesson learned: I travel for my job, but I've learned work is work, vacation is vacation, and it's best not to try and do both on one trip.

Fondest travel memory: There are so many... but a recent experience was being totally jet-lagged and waking up pre-dawn in Koh Samui, Thailand, and watching the sun rise with my husband on the beach. We talked about what all our friends and family were doing at that very same moment as the sun set back home in New York.

First thing I do in a new place: Peruse the local restaurants and map out my dining strategy for the duration of my trip. Dining strategy = eating at as many restaurants as humanly possible.

First thing I do when I get home: Put a push pin on the destination I just returned from on the map of the world that hangs on the wall above my couch.

Travel ambition: To cover that map completely in push pins.

My most beloved place in the whole world: Cockle Cove Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts.


Cabin Rentals Best

That’s a fantastic idea.I don’t know why hoteliers have not implied it yet.

Diamond of bodrum

Hello, I am in charge of the european marketing of a big Turkish franchise hotel concepts. I agree the market shares for the business travelers are on the decline, but that there are enough low budget deal out there. Have filled in the travelocity poll as well, but am of the opinion that a lot of people are just wanting to stay in a luxury hotel for cheap prices. Service is what a hotel makes a good hotel!

susan horbaly

I am terribly frustrated with travelocity. I spent hours securing a flight departing on Delta and returning on Continental, giving all the personal info, credit info, etc. Only to be told to try my search again. I waited at least twenty minutes on two different lines for customer care assistance, only to be told to call back!

(Because my time reguirements and budget require the two different airlines, I was forced to use your site to find this info.)

I find this treatment outrageous.

Gaynor Legge

If hotels adopt a la carte pricing, they should lose their star ratings. I hate being nickel and dimed so will no longer fly if I can drive in a reasonable amount of time. How many customers like me are the airlines losing with these “economies”? How many more customers are the hotels willing to lose? I hotels start charging separately for maid service and towel replacement, etc., I will be finding alternate accommodations when I travel.

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