What Exactly Is A “Porterage” Fee? It’s a Great Example of What You Shouldn’t Be Charging Your Customers

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Can you guess what a “transportation fee” is? No, don’t search on Google. Just guess. I couldn’t guess. I’ve never heard of it. But I ended up paying $ 25 for a recent stay at a Hawaii resort hotel with my wife.

In addition to the $ 359 daily room rate (and $ 62.53 for the county’s general and specialty tax, and that’s it, a “traffic lodging tax”), they charged a “cleaning fee” of $ 5 a day and a “resort fee” of $ 50, and of course the one-time “toll” fee of $ 25.

When I asked at check-in what the “transport fee” was for, they told me it was the fare to take our luggage to our room. A hotel (not the one I stayed in) defines it as “a rate that can be given to a group or individual guest for the use of a doorman and buttons. This rate is usually offered to large groups in hotels, hotels with unions and tourist hotels where a guest is automatically charged thanks to a concierge fee “. Ahhhh … mystery solved.

It didn’t matter that my wife and I only had one suitcase that we took to our room. Or that we had no use for buttons or intercoms. Oh, and we declined the cleanliness every day except one of us. None of this makes a difference. The hotel still charged us these extra charges and we had no choice.

Related: Internet comes to Airbnb for high prices and hidden rates: “These prices are ridiculous”

Hotels are known for these things. While they reduce services, reduce the number of towels, disrupt small bottles of shampoo, and eliminate free morning coffee service, many still like to charge extra for early check-in, extra people, spare crib , Wi-Fi, parking, use of the gym … and now there is “toll”. I love it.

In fact, I don’t love it. Neither do you. If you have a small business like me, here are some tips: Don’t adopt this practice.

I’m sure you have additional things you’d like to bill your customers for, just like hotels. You may want to pay a general charge. Or a shipping and handling fee. You may want to bill for more administrative time. During the peak of the pandemic, some restaurants and dentists tried to charge more for the protective equipment they used. Some known retailers charge a fee when using a credit card, or offer a cash discount, which is the same. Some companies add additional fees for activating and setting up a service, deletions, service changes, and non-submissions.

Charging additional commissions indiscriminately is a bad model. Because? Because it makes people angry. They tell you that a price is a thing and then it will end up a little higher – in the case of my much higher hotel – and you are the hostage of aging, because what am I going to do, fly back to Philadelphia? My hotel will charge me a “cancellation fee”. And my airline, of course, will be ready to charge me a “change commission” and then for bags, hand luggage, snacks and a seat with a pillow!

Related: How transparency in business leads to growth and customer loyalty

Not sure why the hotel and even some airlines insist on charging a lot of extra charges to the room rate. I don’t understand why some companies do that too. Some people think that listing all their rates shows transparency. What they don’t realize is that customers don’t care about the details. They only care about what they are ultimately paying for. And what they tell you in advance is what they expect to pay. When that number changes because a business is being “transparent,” as they add additional commissions indiscriminately, it only causes confusion and anger. Instead of being open and honest, the practice seems a little unethical.

The conclusion of your business is this: Don’t do what my hotel did. Find out all your costs and charge a one-time price. Period. Do not address additional charges unless a customer has requested additional services or products. And even then, step on it carefully. People don’t like to feel taken advantage of. That’s how I felt at the Hawaii hotel. Frankly, I’m still sorry.

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