Binding hotels by tariff no easy task

Dasara every year has its share of woes. Fleecing tourists in the name of hospitality is no new thing and the district administration’s plans to rein in such tourist unfriendly activities by asking hotels to announce tariff in advance, seems to be no easy task.

When Deccan Herald spoke to some of the hoteliers and tourist operators, what they had to say in common was, “while higher-end hotels adhere to tariff, Dasara or no Dasara, it’s vice-versa in the case of middle-level and budget hotels”. At the end of the day, it’s always the plebian class, who fall victims to extortion in the name of hospitality.

Peak season

Navaratri is the prime season for the industry to make some fast bucks. Of late, the publicity blitzkrieg about the festival through the dedicated website has been drawing tourists in hordes to the city during the festival. Who will let go the chance of milking as much as possible?, they ask.

The city has close to 100 hotels, making for a total of 5,000 rooms, including star graded to economy class. Of them, Hotel Lalitha Mahal Palace stands distinctly apart for being a five star facility. Star wise, there are two five star hotels, followed by less than 10 three star hotels, five of them located in the heart of the city, and remaining on the outskirts.

The remaining forms of two star hotels and lower than that ensure a decent accommodation with TV and cable facility to keep the guests hooked at least in the name of entertainment.
A hotelier, who preferred anonymity, told Deccan Herald, luxury hotels go by the tariff card and Dasara is no exception. For example, if the minimum tariff is Rs 3,200 and maximum Rs 3,700 inclusive of tax and if the occupancy rate is good, the rate could be slashed to Rs 2,500.

Charging above tariff

The same cannot be guaranteed in the case of middle and economy lodges, who blatantly charge above the tariff card.

A tourist operator said, budget hotels having less than 20 rooms will be much in demand on the eve of Jamboo Savari, thanks to autorickshaw drivers, who work as a conduit to bring in gullible customers. It’s an unwritten rule at hotels to lure transport operators with enticing commission.

The share they (transport and tour operators) claim is close to 30 per cent. If every luxury hotel is occupied in advance, it’s a godsend for smaller hotels again. Rooms available at the rate of Rs 250 on normal days are offered at the rate of Rs 1,000. It’s a never ending story.

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