The Westin Houston Medical Center adds a ‘sustainability fee’ onto guest bills. You’re supposed to accept a hidden add-on, that turns out to be a charge for building maintenance, because it’s impolite to question anything framed as ‘for the environment’.
One hotel employee described it as being “equivalent to a ‘resort fee.’”
The hotel’s General Manager, though, says it’s really an extra charge for the hotel’s maintenance.
The hotel’s historic 1954 structure is over 80 years old and was not designed with modern systems and materials.
The Environmental Fee is used for expenses that increase the overall efficiency of the building, including items such as electricity and water usage management systems to limit wasted resources. The fee also applies to costs such as installation and replacement of energy efficient window systems. Separate from the building maintenance, the fee is also used towards utilizing local suppliers.
The hotel adds this fee because it’s an old building. The money they’re charging you is so they can replace the windows and buy systems to limit your use of water and electricity.
- Systems that save them water and electricity are cost-saving devices which mean they spend less money, yet somehow are an excuse to charge you more.
- And old buildings, actively trying to spend less per guest, would usually charge lower rates not impose hidden extra charges on top of the published room rate.
But don’t you care about the planet? Yes, and cynical ploys to charge guests more for a product in the name of the environment worry me because they minimize real risk to the planet and dull us all to the risks that we actually should be paying attention to. Charging bonus sustainability fees is bad for the environment for the “little boy who cried wolf” reasoning we all learned as children.
Read the full article at viewfromthewing.com