After trying to book an Airbnb-type room in Phoenix for this Saturday night, I discovered the quoted price was anything but accurate. Shady practices seem to be pretty common tho.
I went to my favorite flight/hotel search website and did a search. One-night stay around downtown Phoenix so we can visit Kate/Jason who happen to be in town on family business. Nothing big. Just drive up on Saturday, do some socializing, then get up on Sunday for a brunch before heading home.
Rooms around downtown are rather pricey. So I was delighted to find a one-bedroom apartment available right next to the Arizona Center for $148. It was offered through Booking.com so I filled out my forms and made the reservation. Easy enough, right?
I immediately got the confirmation. It listed my rate at $148, taxes/fees added for another $20 (which seems fair), then they tacked on a ‘cleaning fee’ for $65. That’s nearly 45 percent of the room-rate and that’s where I called bullshit.
I contacted both Booking.com and the shady rental property -
Stay Alfred Union at Roosevelt - and argued that the cleaning fee should be built into the room rate. Anyway, I made my case that the fee was expected to be part of the rate and I didn’t agree to such a drastic charge as an add-on. Long story short: I won that argument and they canceled my booking without any charges.
But then I started perusing Airbnb and found pretty much the same thing. There are a TON of available bookings in PHX where the room rate is around $100-150 but the ‘total cost’ is double that. Chalk it all up to the ridiculous fee for a service that hotels have been providing free of charge for centuries.
Soon after I got the cancellation sorted, we re-booked at Marriott’s Spring Hill Suites in that same downtown area. Same original price without the added cleaning gouge.