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Watch Out for Urban Fees

You might not be able to negotiate them away—but you can try.

Properties in resort destinations charge resort fees, but what’s a city property to do? Many have found the answer in the increasingly popular “urban charge.”

At the 1,932-room New York Hilton Midtown in New York City, your attendees will find a mandatory $25 “Urban Destination Charge,” which includes, whether they use it or not, a daily $15 beverage credit in the Lobby Lounge or Bridges Bar; Internet access for three devices; a daily $10 food credit in the grab-and-go section of the Herb N’ Kitchen casual restaurant, and free local and toll-free calls.

At Manhattan’s NYLO, a $31 per night “Urban Fee” covers the fitness center, business center, Wi-Fi, phone calls, in-room bottled water, and a welcome cocktail. And Marriott International’s Rennaissance New York Times Square and New York Marriott Marquis properties both charge a $25 “Destination Amenity Fee” that’s not attached to any specific services.

These aren’t the only Manhattan hotels playing the fee game, nor are these “urban” fees limited to New York City. (At the Warwick hotel in Denver, it’s called the “Urban Retreat Fee.”) Raising revenues without raising room rates is an art the hotel industry has worked hard to perfect, and one that will bring in $2.7 billion to U.S. hotels in 2017.

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