The Motif Hotel in downtown Seattle, part of Hyatt’s Destination Hotels brand, was called out on social media this week for soliciting guests for donations. These aren’t tax-deductible charitable donations, or extra tips for laid off workers. This was just extra money for the hotel owners, an investment group in Hong Kong, to be added to a guest’s bill.
Things are… Not good here at @Hyatt. Got this when turning on my TV. pic.twitter.com/tYz7EpSCBz
— Alex Kremer (@axk) August 5, 2020
Hyatt said it is not their “practice to encourage contributions from guests to support hotel properties in this manner. As soon as we were made aware of the situation, we immediately investigated with the hotel and its IT provider, and the message was removed from guestroom TVs immediately.”
However it turns out not to be driven by Hyatt, or the individual property. Instead tech provider Sonifi, which handles hotel room video and wifi for thousands of hotels, was doing this through in-room TV at this property and others across their system since April. They had long ago removed the message from in-room televisions, but not at the Motif Seattle hotel.
Credit: Motif Seattle
Like many hotels, there’s no daily housekeeping and the property’s restaurant was closed but they were still charging him a resort fee (or, because it’s a city hotel and not a resort, a ‘destination fee’). According to the hotel’s website, despite charging an amenity fee, there’s no room service or fitness center access either.
After being called out, the hotel is no longer asking guests to donate extra money to its owners, but it’s still charging a resort fee without delivering any amenities so that is kind of the same really.
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[…] Treating hotels – full service hotels – as a purely functional tool to facilitate being somewhere contributes to making travel just not fun. While I understand the desire to cut costs in a low revenue environment, these are relatively small costs that alter the value proposition of the stay for the guest. And that doesn’t begin to get into how offensive it is to charge resort fees when no amenities are available. […]