When will Hotels and Airlines Learn

Some of the dumbest companies on the planet are also the largest. How they got where they are today, I will never know. @PYMVanessa shot out a link today via twitter talking about how American Airlines is going to start charging to sit in the first three rows of coach. Learning this shot me into one of my rants and I am now going to share it with everyone!

Just like Spirit Airlines, American is trying to spin this shit like it is actually a good thing. “My God man, for only $39.00 you can have the privilege of sitting up near the muckity mucks in first class, good heavens chap, why you can almost smell the peanuts! Can you hear them popping those champagne corks! You can get a Budweiser for only $98.00 and watch them! Oh, sorry sir, you want your beer cold, that will be another $29.00 and what was that? You want to recline? No, no….. that is another $23.50”.

What I find particularly amusing about the whole stinking fee mess is that hotels and airlines really don’t understand the American (or World) consumer. They spend thousands of dollars on studies and consulting and either ignore the data that they receive or have paid a whole lot for something that they immediately spill coffee on and throw in the recycle bin.

Here is a quick education for them that will cost them nothing. Americans hate fees. We detest them. We dislike them so much that even movie rental stores were forced to give up charging late fees…. And that was a fee that most Americans actually understood. Yet the airlines and hotels keep on rolling.

Hotels easily tie the airlines for stupidity. Internet Charges, Resort Fees, the list is a mile long. Go to a hotel in Florida or Hawaii, guess what, here is what you may encounter! “You paid $249.00 for that room! For only an extra $49.00 you can have a room with a balcony… did you know that if you go out on that balcony at high tide and lean way out you can see the ocean when a wave comes in.. make sure your wife holds tight to your belt so you don’t fall! Wait, you want internet in your room? Well, that is only $19.95…. Oh, you want it to work?… that is an extra $5.00 and you have to sit in the corner of the room with your laptop over your head between the hours of 2 and 4…. in the morning. Want to workout in the Gym, good for you! That is $59.99 and did you know, we upgraded and now have 2 treadmills so your wait will only be 9 hours! You are so lucky to be staying with us”

The truth of the matter is, we are not lucky to be staying with them and we are not lucky to be flying the friendly skies. They are lucky that we have deemed them worthy enough that we have decided to stay with them or fly with them.

I am not suggesting that the Airlines and Hotels do not encounter costs associated with providing service, and I am not suggesting that we don’t want to pay those costs. All I am saying is that People hate fees. Fees make you feel like you are getting cheated or that they are trying to scam you. They should use a little common sense.

Simply charge what the service is worth. Make it what it actually costs. Tell me the room is 189.00 and leave it at that. To me, this is better than charging $149.00 and then adding fees as we go through the online check out that will make it $179.00. You see, I will pay more to not feel like you are beating me up.

Oh, BTW, before you tell us that you have a survey that says Americans like the way you do it…. We actually do understand the real reason so you can save your breath. If you have the room rate at $149.00 that is what you pay certain taxes on. Get over it, pay the taxes.

Americans love to think that they are getting a deal. This is why Southwest consistently posts a profit. They don’t hide anything, they tell you up front and you know you will receive exactly what you have paid for in black and white. With Southwest, the equation is simple, you pay for your ticket and there you go. Get up early and get your ass in line because if you want to be near the front, that is what you have to do and that is the way we like it.

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

Yep. We use cookies. Just like everybody else. Cool? Click OK.