More cost for hotel guests?

The Holiday season is supposed to be one of giving although we should be aware of those out there who are more interested in taking or keeping things for themselves. No, I’m not talking about street corner thugs or those who try every way possible to separate us from our dollars such as through fraudulent means.

Instead, I mean corporate clowns. Those corporations that depend on their customers for their well-being often seek every damned last penny they can from their customers. For example, let’s take the hospitality business.

Now when you think of crooked hotels and motels one might imagine the so-called “flea bag motel.” In reality, though, the less-expensive motels may be perfectly on the up-and-up relatively speaking, while it is your more expensive places that are the real money grubbers.

For instance, the huge Marriott Worldwide has asked the FCC to allow hotel owners to block Wi-fi hotspots inside their building, this according to The federal agency hit the company with a $600,000 fine for doing just what Marriott is now asking permission to do.

The fine came after guests and exhibitors were charged up to $1,000 per device to access Marriottt’s Wi-fi or face signal blocking at the company’s Gaylor Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville.

Companies such as Microsoft and Google urged the FCC to reject Marriott’s petition to the FCC which would allow signal blocking of Wi-Fi hotspots other than those belonging to hotels.

Having stayed in a number of hotels and motels for extended periods of time that hotels such as Marriott present much in the way of creature comfort. But Marriott and many other chains try their best at bleeding “blood from turnips.” Even separate hotels within within the Marriott sphere offer different amenities and at drastically different rates.

Just checking rates in nearby Houston, Marriott Hotel’s show those ranging from the high $70s per night to upward of $200 per night. There are differences as well in what one might experience in breakfasts or happy hours.

What guests do see pretty uniformly in Marriotts and other hotels are extras that have outrageous costs. I hesitate to lump all hotels together, I shouldn’t, but what the hell. My most recent hotel stay was with a Hilton affiliate. At least its breakfast was free and made to order. Happy hour also featured free booze for a couple of hours and not just beer and wine, but various house liquor as well.But the restaurant had a limited menu and was more than I wanted to pay. If one was in need of a little nighttime snack while watching the Cowboys get beat by Washington, they should have bought it somewhere else. If you wanted a bag of chips there you would pay $5 a package.

Oh and back to Wi-fi. Paying for internet service at the Marriott hotels in Houston run from $7 to $17.

One more point about internet service at hotels. My service through Verizon — I never thought I’d say this — is better and more reliable than what one may find through the hotel itself.

So I give you this early warning. Hopefully, the FCC will stay on the side of the consumer and reject the Marriott petition. Nickle and diming is certainly not what it once was. Good luck to all you travelers come the new year. Ho Ho Ho, Merrrry Christmas.