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Do Hotels Charge for Incoming Phone Calls?

Most travelers spend a lot of time comparing expenses from one hotel to another. Once you start your trip and your budget is locked, you usually don’t expect much to change.

However, you could end up staying in a hotel that seemed affordable only to be slapped with a hefty bill when checking out

This brings us to the question, “do hotels charge for incoming phone calls?” The short answer to this is a resounding no. Hotels rarely- if ever- charge for incoming calls. 

However, the case is different if you’re the one making a call from your hotel room. Read on to learn more about phone charges when staying in hotels. 

Do Hotels Charge You to Use the Phone?

Yes and no. Truthfully speaking, it depends on whether you’re using the phone to make a local or long-distance call.

If you’re calling anywhere within the premises of the hotel, then you won’t incur any charges. For instance, if you’re trying to call the front desk or restaurant, it’s very unlikely for the hotel to charge you. 

But, if you’d like to call your friends or family using the hotel’s phone, inquire about the charges ahead of the time. The vast majority of hotels don’t charge for making local calls. However, they certainly charge for long-distance calls. 

So what’s the difference between the two? A local call is one that you make within your local exchange area, which refers to a city or town and its surroundings. Conversely, a long-distance call is one that you make to an individual who is not within your local exchange area. 

Different Hotels Have Varying Regulations

Never assume that hotels have similar policies, especially when it comes to phone charges. While one hotel may allow you to call locally for free, another one could charge you for the same. 

And the worst thing is that some of these hotels aren’t transparent. They keep the charges under wraps and only inform you when you’re checking out. 

To avoid this, keep an eye out for what hotels refer to as a “resort fee”. It may be called using different names, such as amenity fee, destination fee, facility fee among others. 

This is an additional cost charged to guests for utilizing specific amenities at the hotel. Oftentimes, phone services fall under these amenities. 

The MGM Grand is one of the few hotels that’s transparent about including phone services in their resort fee. As they highlight on their website:

A $39 Daily Resort Fee plus applicable tax on the resort fee is applied to each hotel reservation and includes amenities that are sure to enhance your experience at MGM Grand Las Vegas. The resort fee includes: Property-wide high speed internet access (public spaces and in-room), unlimited local and toll-free calls, airline boarding pass printing, and fitness center access.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village, another popular hotel, also doesn’t shy away from the fact it charges a resort fee that includes local, toll-free and credit calls. It states that

A Daily Resort Charge of $50 (plus tax) is assessed per room, per night (valued at $169.80). Please note that our Daily Resort Charge is assessed at check-in. This $50 daily charge may not always be added to your final online transaction.”

Do Hotels Still Charge for Long-Distance?

Yes, they do. While most hotels don’t charge for local calls, the majority almost always charge for long-distance calls. So, the next time you’re making your travel plans, call your hotel in advance and inquire whether they charge for their phone services. 

How Do You Call Someone in a Hotel Room?

It’s not possible to call a hotel room directly if you’re outside the premises. All incoming phone calls always go through the receptionist or hotel manager. 

So if you’re interested in calling someone staying in a particular hotel, simply call the hotel and make inquiries. The receptionist may ask for the last name of the guest, after which they’ll route the call to them. Alternatively, you can contact them directly using their cellphone number.

If you’re calling the hotel room from within the premises, then all you need to do is ask for directions on how to go about this. Most hotels use an automatic telephone switchboard making it easier for guests to contact each other.

You May Also Like: What Does Hearing Accessible Mean for a Hotel Room?

Why Do Hotels Still Have Phones?

Considering how far mobile technology has come, you might be wondering why so many hotels still maintain landline telephones. 

Well, this traditional phone serves three main functions:

  1. Allows guests to call the reception area and request for a service, such as housekeeping or room service. It’s also a way for the hotel to communicate with you.
  2. Enables you to call a different room within the hotel – perhaps you want to check in on your friends or family who booked into different rooms at the same hotel.
  3. Lets you make calls outside the hotel 

If you find yourself in any of these situations, the hotel’s landline will come in handy. But from hotel owners’ perspective, the greatest benefit of using traditional telephones is for security purposes. Allow me to break it down.

A landline relies on automatic number identification/automatic location identification, popularly shortened to ANI/ALI. In the event of an emergency, this system pinpoints your exact location. This then means that a responder can provide the emergency services you need promptly. 

Meanwhile, cellphones work by transmitting signals via radio waves present in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, this makes things a little difficult in pinpointing your precise location. 

The emergency call center has to first identify the nearest cell towers then triangulate an estimated location of where you are. This can be time-consuming and catastrophic if you are in dire need of help. 

John Grubb, the SVP of Cetis Inc. marketing department emphasizes that, “The traditional phone identifies the exact location of the guest for emergency responders, rather than just an estimate of location available with mobile network and Wi-Fi devices.”

Final Thoughts

If you were wondering whether hotels charge for incoming calls, the answer is no. That said, they charge for outgoing calls, especially if you’re making long-distance calls. 

It’s contentious whether hotels ought to be allowed to charge for phone services and other amenities. In fact, several efforts have been made over the years to prohibit resort fees. But unless any amendments are made, these add-on fees remain an unpleasant reality for many guests. 

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Hayden Wall

Hayden is the founder of Travel Gear Discounts and tries to vacation as much as possible. He loves finding the latest travel accessories that will make getting out easier and planning the perfect weekend getaway.