Why Is Room Service So Expensive?

And how to keep the cost down
Flickr/Photographus Additional charges and fees make dining in your hotel room costly.

After a long day of exploring a city or running to meetings during a business trip, having a hot meal brought up to your hotel room might be the dream for most hotel guests. But with the generally high room service prices, it might be worth thinking twice before placing that order for a club sandwich. After comparing the room service prices in different cities, we at The Daily Meal wanted to know more about what it really is that makes room service so expensive. Clearly, a delivery fee is understandable, as is the usual tipping policy, but what is it that makes the price of a simple club sandwich rise to more than $20?

According to Bill McGee, columnist for USA Today Travel, a major reason why room service gets so costly is because of all the separate additional fees included on the bill. The service charge and delivery fee, as well as taxes, might add up to a whole lot of extra dollars in addition to the item ordered. On top of this, most people would also tip the server, as they're not aware that the tip is actually included in the "service charge." And here it becomes tricky: a "service charge" includes tip, but a "delivery charge" or "room service charge" does not, McGee points out. He recommends to always double-check with the hotel or server in order to be clear on the pricing, and hopefully save a few dollars. "Industry analysts note that hotels are just like other travel suppliers, eager to increase revenues through add-on services," McGee writes. In other words, as long as hotel guests are continuing to order room service, the prices will stay high. And with tired tourists and people looking for a way to relax, the allure of ordering room service persists. Rebecca Kawano, spokesperson for Carlson Hotels, says that about 35 percent of their guests order room service, and representatives for InterContinental and Wyndham hotels also say that most of their guests order food to their rooms.

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