One of the largest U.S. hotel owners is experimenting this year with a new business strategy: Charge guests for most services and amenities, just like in the airline industry.
At roughly a dozen of his company’s independent hotels, Tyler Morse said, any guest can get an early check-in, but it costs about $20. A similar fee applies to a late checkout. Use of the pool might be free on a Tuesday morning, but cost guests $25 on a scorching Saturday afternoon. Gym use and breakfast also come with an additional charge.
In exchange, these properties are lowering their nightly room rates by varying degrees, Mr. Morse said. His hotels trying out the pricing model include the TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport and the High Line Hotel in Manhattan, he added.
Mr. Morse, chief executive of MCR Hotels, said a rocky transition period could occur before most hotel guests adjust to the idea of paying only for the services and perks they want. But he said the a la carte pricing approach is likely to be a hit over time.
“Not every guest wants every product, and they don’t want to pay for something they were never going to use anyway,” he said. “Other owners are fully behind me, but there’s always a fear of change.”