Tags: Travelers | Hotels | Steal | Home Owners

How Travelers, Hotels and Home Owners Rip Each Other Off

How Travelers, Hotels and Home Owners Rip Each Other Off

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Tuesday, 10 May 2016 06:43 AM Current | Bio | Archive


Stealing sundries from a favorite hotel is commonplace but the theft of hair dryers, TV sets and the actual mini-bar fridge is costing hotels roughly $100 million a year, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

“The smaller hotels and those which typically are independently owned and operated suffer the most from guest theft,” said William Frye, associate professor with Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Regardless of the type accommodations, luxury or otherwise, the items that guests are permitted or expected to take from their rented rooms are typically disposable.

These amenity items include soap, shampoo, conditioner, coffee or tea bags, shoe shine wipes, shoe horns, pens, stationary and postcards.

“Any items sitting on a room attendant cart in the hall are not intended for a guest to help themselves or take away from the lodging property yet often guests do help themselves to large quantities of these items as they walk by and this drives up the supply cost to the hotel which eventually is passed on to consumers through higher room rates,” Frye told Newsmax Finance.

Although the cost of individual sample size shampoo, coffee bags, soap and the like is often built into the cost of the hotel room, the cost of replacing missing towels can add up quickly.

“There are typically fewer staff on the premises of smaller independent hotels and the bath linens are usually of cheaper grade, which is why there is the perception that towels are of lesser value and will not be missed if they are stolen,” Frye said.

Hotel properties that still have exterior corridors are more susceptible to theft on a grander scale.

“Guests who are more unscrupulous may tend to frequent these less expensive hotels,” said Frye.

When it comes to vacation rentals in private homes, owners are often more generous in the hopes of deterring theft of appliances.

“Some vacation rental owners may leave a special gift for renters, such as a welcome basket or bottle of wine, which is fine for the guests to enjoy and take home but for the most part travelers can assume that nothing else should be taken from the home,” said Jon Gray, senior vice president with HomeAway.

Unlike a hotel room, shampoo or laundry detergent may not come with the price of renting a home away from home while traveling abroad.

“This is one reason why we always recommend travelers review the rental agreement closely and call the owners or property managers in advance of their stay to make sure they fully understand what they may need to bring and ask other questions pertaining to their stay,” Gray told Newsmax Finance.

Although not theft, not paying lodging tax is a violation of the law and it’s the hotel and vacation rental owners who are largely responsible for this oversight.

“If an operator fails to collect tax from the traveler they are violating state statutes and city codes and the tax collector can typically hold the operator liable for the tax that was not collected,” said Rob Stephens, co-founder and general manager of HotSpot Tax, an Avalara company.

That’s because sales and lodging taxes are the city and state’s money.

“If you collect tax from a consumer but do not pay it to the tax collector, you have committed a very serious violation and could be exposed to criminal consequences,” Stephens told Newsmax Finance. “This is a more severe violation than not collecting the tax at all.”

Because of the competition created by home sharing sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway, state and city governments are becoming aware that there are many people not paying these fees. “The hotel industry is increasingly in competition with this market, which is drawing attention to people renting their home but not paying the required taxes,” Stephens said.

Juliette Fairley is an author, lecturer and TV host based in New York. To read more of her work, Click Here Now.


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Stealing sundries from a favorite hotel is commonplace but the theft of hair dryers, TV sets and the actual mini-bar fridge is costing hotels roughly $100 million a year, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Travelers, Hotels, Steal, Home Owners
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2016-43-10
Tuesday, 10 May 2016 06:43 AM
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