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Courtyard Marriott's $20 plug fee.

Discussion in 'North America' started by Chrisizzle, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. Chrisizzle

    Chrisizzle Member

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    I recently completed a 3,000km (1,800 mile) business road trip from Toronto, through Chicago to northern Wisconsin in consistently -25C (-10F) temps. I plan to do a full write up of the adventure but for now…

    I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Wausau Wisconsin with a final appointment 100km further north the following day. Having read the reviews on Plugshare, I was prepared for a $15 fee to use their Tesla charger. They upped that to $20 because I asked to plug in on my way back later the same day.

    On one hand, it’s not unreasonable to charge for any service. On the other, most establishments are happy to let you plug free whether you stay or not. I liken this to the early days of Wifi when hotels billed internet while the coffee shop offered it free. I was mostly annoyed they didn't mention the cost upon reservation or check-in. They prefer to keep it a check-out surprise.

    Anyways, I tweeted Courtyard Marriott asking if this was policy from head office. They quickly replied: “Thanks for contacting us. The fee for various services can differ from one location to another depending on their own policies. All charges hotels have in place are first approved by Marriott Intl.”


    I left a negative review on Expedia for this and other reasons. The manager replied with the following:
    “Dear Guest. When Tesla reached out to us for help connecting the charging dots for drivers hoping to venture further north in Wisconsin, we were happy to support the company's vision and make the investment into the charger station. There is a cost associated with installing the charger and the energy required to recharge your EV. With Telsa’s support, we treat this as a very special amenity that the guest using it should support in the cost and the guests not using it do not support the cost. We are glad we could make it possible with this charging station to extend your trip to another 100km north. General Manager”

    I assumed Tesla subsidized the installations and this timely article would confirm that.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-03/tesla-roadtrippers-juice-up-from-yosemite-to-jackson-hole-cars

    I was going to reply to the Marriott manager but was curious to see if Tesla should be aware too. It seems odd that Tesla insists Superchargers remain free but would allow billing on their proprietary ‘slow’ chargers… especially if the equipment and installation were subsidized.

    Comments?
     
  2. iadbound

    iadbound Member

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    It's subsidized to a point, but as I understand it, Tesla only provides discounted equipment. Thus, the installation is not free to the business. Also, Tesla isn't setting policy for destination charging costs.

    That said, I would think the hotels would be thrilled to welcome as many patrons as possible, and if Tesla charging helps, so be it. Still, picking and choosing amenity costs is always dicey from the hotel's perspective. For example, the hotel doesn't charge you separately for using the AC or charging your smartphone in your room. If the hotel has a pool, it's unlikely they would charge extra. On the other hand, if you want to use a spa or drink at the bar, you'll be charged. Exactly where Tesla charging falls on the spectrum is a tough call, and I can understand that some hotels may feel the need to recoup the costs -- not sure if $20 is really a fair figure.

    By the way -- plenty of the swanky hotels still charge for wifi.
     
  3. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    In fact it is the expensive hotels that charge for WiFi, because they assume that either the customer's employer is picking up the tab, or the people who stay there don't care about the extra charge. You'll find that less expensive hotels use free wifi as a competitive edge against other nearby hotels, so they all end up having it (and often a big "free wiwi" sign visible from the highway).

    i've noticed a similar pattern with charging.
     
  4. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    IMHO people should not have a problem paying for destination charging. Considering the installation cost of chargers even if Tesla supplies the units, and the paucity of people who will change their plans to stay at a hotel with charging, the payback period is probably between decades and never without a significant fee.

    If destination charging installations are going to actually have significant penetration there has to be a financial reward for the companies to install them, they aren't charities.
     
  5. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    I think complaining about a hotel fee for charging just reinforces the perception some have that EV owners feel "entitled". Be glad they installed the charging station which made your trip convenient. When more hotels do so, competition for business will probably result in them dropping the fee, just as with Wi-Fi. Until then, this type of complaining doesn't do anything to encourage more hotels to accept Tesla's offer of HPWCs (which does not cover the entire cost of installation, and certainly doesn't pay for electricity).
     
  6. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    The cost of electricity is, roughly, .10 * 85 = $8.50. I guess he did plug in twice, which makes $20 not absurdly high.

    However, nickel-and-diming customers who are already paying for hotel rooms is a dumbass move.
     
  7. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    #7 andrewket, Mar 7, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
    I will be doing this trip the opposite way- Hayward, WI through Chicago, to Toronto and then onward to New Hampshire. I think $20 is reasonable. Their only mistake was not being upfront with you on the charges. There should never be a surprise at checkout.

    As a community I hope we praise these early establishments for putting in charging facilities. Negative posts on Expedia etc will just discourage other establishments from installing charging facilities.

    You asked for our thoughts, so that's my .02. I think you may have been overly harsh.
     
  8. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Disparaging hotels that have a fee for charging is not going to advance the cause.
     
  9. brkaus

    brkaus Member

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    If more hotels had plugs, even at a small fee. I'd be much more likely to jump in to a Tesla.

    You have to figure they have an installation cost, electricity cost, and maintenance cost.

    Early adopting hotels can recoup their investment. Late comers use it as a competitive advantage.

    It also isn't fair to compare to free wi-fi. Internet cost is roughly the same used or not. $8.50 in electricity is a significant amount.
     
  10. Subhuman

    Subhuman Member

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    So if I am understanding this right you knew about $15 charge fee in addition to staying the night at the hotel and were okay with that. You then asked upon checking out if you could charge on your way back without staying the night and they said sure but it will be an additional 5 bucks. Where is this unreasonable? They could have said no it is only for guest or they could have charged you the $15 fee again. I agree with everyone else sentiment. The Expedia post was a bit much. As requested my $.02.
     
  11. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    I think the biggest error the hotel made was not being upfront about the charge.
    The cost is about equivalent to gas, so it doesn't seem outlandish and to support the first few hotels going this route, I would happily pay it, if they were up front about the costs.
    I'd still pay it if they hid the charge, however I'd be irked about it, just as I would for any other hidden charges.
     
  12. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Member

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    Your negative review is very unhelpful to the effort. If I was that hotel manager I'd question if it was worth it to provide the charger if it produces negative reviews. You should consider revising your review.
     
  13. evme

    evme Member

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    Personally I think leaving a bad review was not a good idea. I understand being nickel and dimed is not fun but at this point we should be encouraging hotels to add chargers. Even if it means the hotels thinking there is financial incentive in it. Leaving bad reviews just puts more risk for the hotel to add a charger because they will be thinking if it will hurt their review ratings.

    So at this point, we should let it go. But as more and more hotels do get chargers, then we can start being picky.
     
  14. Thumper

    Thumper Member

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    I agree with subhuman, $20 for two charge sessions is quite fair. Businesses are in business to make a profit. As long as they don't gouge us, it is in both parties interest that they find offering charging is not a burden and that customers appreciate it. The charge should be reasonable, and this one was.
     
  15. Chrisizzle

    Chrisizzle Member

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    Thanks for the comments all.

    First, fear not. The negative review also touched on the quality of the room and, I do praise hotels that support EVs (I ran into a few who enthusiastically offered to run extension cords across parking lots). And thus, the contrast with Courtyard is even more apparent.

    I'd be more inclined to agree with Doug that expensive hotels charge for services because because they can.

    From my thinking as an entrepreneur, the charger is $750 to purchase and maybe another $1,000 for installation (less if Tesla subsidizes). This isn't a mom-and-pop bed-and-breakfast. In the grand scheme of hotel expenses with pool and other amenities, that is absorbed in 1 days operating expenses but to own a long term differentiating asset.

    If Plugshare is any indicator (or another area hotel who was just happy to see their plug used for the first time in months), a Tesla comes two or three times a year. At that rate, recouping costs just isn't going to happen. So, management is simply left with the option to charge $15 on a $225 room or not. (Heck, a parking lot I was in yesterday had 3 complimentary chargers).

    I'd also suggest that if they intended to charge for use, they should have installed a Chargepoint to accommodate all EVs.

    Ironically, I think pay-per-use is the future. Plugs are currently a novelty that gets certain customers in the door. As EVs become common with three cars in the lot at any given time, pay-per-use will become a necessity.
     
  16. brkaus

    brkaus Member

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    All true. Your correct that the fixed costs are no big deal in terms of overall capital costs for a hotel.

    But clearly as there are more EVs the ~$10 fill-up becomes more significant.

    Hotels don't put gas pumps in their lot to give away free gas with stay.
     
  17. samcarney

    samcarney Sam C

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    It sure beats sleeping in your car at an RV Park. Let's encourage destination chargers.
     
  18. rickgt

    rickgt Enthusiast owner/member

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    Mixed feelings on this one. Expensive hotels provide services to attract customers. Some resorts have a bank of HPWC to attract Tesla owners.

    That said, many hotels charge $30-60 for just parking without chargers. I try to park nearby with chargers included in the parking fee.

    PS, leaving bad reviews for charging is not cool.
     
  19. Subhuman

    Subhuman Member

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    I'm still not sure what your issue is here. The hotel went to the effort to install the charger which enabled you to drive your car to and from your destination and yet you are ridiculing them because they charged you a few dollars to charge. I don't get it. What would you have done if they did not install the equipment? Was there other options? If so why didn't you just use the other options if the fee angered you so much.

    The hotel installed the charger so they would get your business plain and simple. They are not doing for altruistic reason. The question is if they didn't have the charger would you have stayed there?
     
  20. Lump

    Lump Active Member

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    This is how read it as well, at issue is the $5 they charged as your where passing thru but not staying another night, part of your complaint is they didn't tell you when you booked the room or checked in...did you specifically ask if the second charge while not being a guest would be free or did you assume free unlimited charging for 24 hours?
     

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