Photo Credit: Pretty young African-American woman texting on her phone while checking in at the hotel
What Is Drip Pricing And How Can We Avoid These 3 Pesky Hidden Fees When Booking Travel?
Inflation has us all looking for the best travel deal possible. Oftentimes there will be options that seem cheaper, but when it’s time to check out, the price increases significantly. According to experts, these increased prices at checkout are called “drip pricing.”
Companies have been adding these hidden add-ons before inflation. It takes strategy to avoid them.
Why is it called drip pricing?
Vicki Morwitz, a professor of business and marketing at the Columbia Business School says, “It’s called ‘drip’ because surcharges and fees drip out throughout the shopping process.”
Morwitz and her colleagues conducted a study that found that customers overpay when prices are dripped.
“Customers are more likely to select an option that looks cheaper upfront. Even when they later realize it’s more expensive than they anticipated, they’re more likely to stick with it,” says Morwitz.
So what are the hidden fees you should be looking out for?
Seat selection fees on flights
If an airline ticket price seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Airlines lower the base price of a ticket but have add-ons that drive up the cost.
During the checkout process, airlines usually add in seat selection fees. Most of the time it seems like it’s mandatory before completing your purchase. However, these fees are avoidable most of the time. The trick is to skip the seat selection option and be assigned a seat by the airline at a later date.
Not choosing a seat will not deter you from boarding your flight.
Hotel resort fees
These fees are also known as destination fees or facility fees and are used to cover amenities. Resort fees are usually added at the end of checkout and are added to every night booked.
Hotel resort fees are unavoidable, but there are ways to minimize the fees.
When searching for hotels, choose the option to show your rate with taxes and fees. This allows you to find a hotel and know which ones will match your budget without being surprised at checkout.
If you stay at hotels like Hilton and Hyatt, you can pay with points, which means resort fees will be waived. Closed mouths don’t get fed, so be sure to also ask the front desk to waive the fee. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s worth a try.
House rental cleaning fees
Most vacation rental properties like Airbnb have cleaning fees that are unavoidable. When searching for properties, look at the total price, which includes cleaning fees.
House rental fees are only added once instead of to every night booked. If you’re looking for accommodations for a short stay, it’s better to book a hotel.
At the end of the day, it’s best to look at the final price of a booking that includes all fees. If a price seems too good, look out for those hidden fees.