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TODAY   |  June 05, 2013

Hotel cuts room service as travel perks dwindle

Airlines have been cutting perks and amenities for years, imposing baggage fees, providing less legroom, and more, and now hotels are starting to follow suit. Mark Orwoll of Travel + Leisure explains what may be missing next time you take a trip.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> if you've traveled lately you know some airlines are taking more of a no frills approach, fewer bags aloud, less leg room, and brace yourself , because hotels are now jumping in on that trend. mark is "travel & leisure's" international editor. welcome.

>> thanks, matt.

>> this no frills to life a runaway train , are companies doing this because customers are telling them they like it or doing it to save on the bottom line ?

>> they're trying to save on the bottom line . this is a cost conscious decision but on the other hand there are people who don't want a lot of the extra services. in fact over the last ten years the number of limited service hotel rooms increased by 16%, the number of full service hotel rooms increased 6%.

>> customers are saying cut back on frills, give me a better rate. the new york hilton recently announced no more room service . how is that going to go over with customers?

>> i think that the leisure traveler is probably not going to care so much about room service as the business traveler. what's interesting is the new york midtown hotel that is cutting room service is very business traveler friendly, one of the biggest hotels in the country, and certainly the biggest in new york , they love business travelers. to not offer that to business travelers is dicey.

>> other hotels are cutting different luxuries, fewer amenities in the rooms and you might not have a valet to carry your bags when you check in.

>> that's right. you might not even have a check-in clerk at the front desk .

>> kind of one of the airline terminal things in.

>> a lot of hotels are starting to have like atm machines where you check in that way, doing away with business centers, doing away with a lot of the frills, front door valets are a thing of the past in many hotels .

>> it worries me because you're losing jobs, people who used to be valets and check-in people are losing their jobs. are we going to see the savings, in other words, as these hotels do away with some of these amenities, are they going to pass on the savings to the consumer?

>> you're probably not going to see so much reduction in rates as getting other amenities for free. what people really want when they go to hotels most people would be free wifi, free parking , free breakfast. you'll see those things incorporated into your rate while we see things like room service go away.

>> let's go to the airlines for a second, they seem to be the pioneers in this no frills type of difference, you pay for leg room, extra bags, sometimes a first bag you pay for, a meal on the flight you pay for. i saw a recent survey where some airline customers punished one of the low fare airlines for all these add-on costs.

>> these days with the internet it is so easy to get your voice heard as an individual consumer. so people are making their opinions well-known. airlines are kind of taking a beating on all of these extra fees. people do not like them.

>> united airlines is doing what they call bundling the market, okay, basically they've become the first carrier to offer one year subscriptions. what does this mean?

>> they're offering a one year subscription on baggage fees. you pay $349, you don't have to pay any additional fee, $25, to check your bag.

>> you make sure you fly on that airline a lot during the year.

>> at least eight times to break even . if you fly eight times you're probably an elite member in which case you get a free checked bag anyway. that's a tough sell.