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Hotel taxes in Munich

I got the shock of my life today. Tried booking a hotel in Munich for two nights, and the taxes alone were almost half the total cost of two night's accommodations. I hadn't noticed it being that high in Luzern.

Is this just a booking.com inflated price, or this is really a fact?

Posted by
18022 posts

Give us the name of the hotel and the dates so we can tell for ourselves.

We stayed in a hotel in Munich last October, and I don't think we paid that much in taxes, but we booked directly with the hotel.

Posted by
328 posts

We've stayed in Munich hotels several times over the past few years and I don't remember any extraordinary taxes added to our bill, the taxes have usually been quoted in the price. The taxes are quite high, though ... as much as 19% ... if they aren't quoted in the rate.

Having worked in hotels for 20 years, I always encourage people to use sites like booking.com to research hotels they might be interested in and to get an idea of price but to make the actual booking directly with the hotel. There are several reasons I recommend this, from the possibility of getting a better price (you should always ask the hotel, just in case) to less hassle if you have to cancel or make changes to your reservation, among others. In this case they could have explained the inflated price or give you some other option/explanation.

Posted by
18022 posts

After studying accommodation booking in Germany for many years, I have become convinced that, in most cases, you are far better off finding places using the town website, www.[town name].de than you are using a commercial website, like Booking.com. However, some towns, like Munich have become captives of a booking website. In Munich's case, it's HRS.com. You can still get better deals finding the hotels websites on your own, but it is harder to find those individual websites, because the town website only list those accommodations which pay them a commission.

Posted by
7205 posts

Hotel taxes are a part of every city. Booking.com is just quoting you an unreasonably low price by not including the hotel tax. You have to pay it no matter where you stay. And no, Munich hotel tax is not extraordinarily high. Also, book directly with the hotel where your taxes will be included in the quoted price.

Posted by
1307 posts

I have used Hrs.com for most reservations on 9 trips in as many years. The price that I have been quoted has been the price that I have been charged, including any tax, except once when the owner gave me an extra discount for leasing 2 rooms for 2 nights. Gary

Posted by
449 posts

Actually, I checked again at Hotels.com, and the room is $231.41 x 2 but tax is $309? Isn't that way over?

It's Residence Inn by Marriott.

I'll write the hotel directly.

Posted by
7946 posts

The web consolidators include the tax on their room price quote. I don't know where Tim got that info, but it is wrong. Taxes are always included as part of the room price. They aren't added in at the end of your stay like they are in the US. The taxes also have nothing to do with booking.com, those are plain and simple city and country taxes. VAT in Germany is always 19%, but they show this in your bill listed separately as many people need to claim the tax on their own taxes. It is NOT added in at check out, and it certainly is not a tax added by a company. A tax is a tax and a room price is a room price.

I asked a couple of hotels in Frankfurt about prices, which was better, using HRS or booking with the hotel and 2 of them said HRS offered the better price. Others said it was exactly the same, no difference in price at all.

The small percentage fee that HRS charges is nothing when it comes to keeping a hotel booked and full. Occupancy is the name of the game in the hotel business, and frankly, a hotel that is NOT listed with multiple consolidators is probably losing business. The more online links your hotel has, the more business you have. The fees are not outrageous and yes, I looked them up, and a hotel will of course claim those as advertising expenses on their taxes. The fee is similar to what a city charges to be listed on the "town website". Towns don't do this for free out of the goodness of their heart. Win-win situation. Many cities are also using the consolidators as it is easier for them. I like using HRS, as I can cancel at any time, with no fees.

Posted by
18022 posts

I've talked to owners at small hotels, etc in Germany about this subject and it seems that to be listed by someone like Booking.com costs them a commission, usually 15%. I talked to another place that is only listed (URL and email address) on the town website. They say they pay 50€ a year plus work in the town's tourist office 2 days a year.

I have stayed at places that are also bookable through commercial websites and paid a lot less than what I could have gotten through those websites. In most cases it was either because I got a package deal that was not offered through the commercial website or because on those websites they only offer their more expensive rooms.

Plus I've checked a number of small town websites, and some have ½ to 1½ more places than those listed on the commercial booking websites, and those extra places tend to be the small, less expensive properties.

Posted by
278 posts

Hi Ginger- We (2 folks) stayed at that hotel during the Oktoberfest last year. And I just checked Marriott on line- the rate for a "superior" studio is 199 € per night on Aug 17 and 18 for 2 people including all taxes and continental breakfast (which was far more than your standard "continental" breakfast last fall). The "comfort" studio ( which was what we were in last fall) was only 179 € per night including all taxes. (Of course the rates are higher during the 'Fest and you didn't specify your dates...) Then I checked Hotels.com for the same 2 nights, 17 and 18 August, and got 223 € per night for 2 persons without a description of the room. So I would recommend checking on-line with Marriott if you want that hotel. I liked it...
Have a great trip!!!

Posted by
449 posts

Kenneth, 7-9 June.

The base price is low until you click book and it takes you to checkout and then comes the taxes.

I will try them direct. Thanks.

Posted by
18022 posts

George,

were both of those prices(358€ and 318€) with breakfast? A common way that booking websites make the price look better is to delete the normally included breakfast, then make it a very expensive add-on.

Posted by
18022 posts

I just did a trial booking for 2 adults in a double room for the Marriott Residence (East) on Booking.com, HRS.com, Hotels.com, and the Marriott's website for the same two nights for two different dates this summer and got the same price on all of them (breakfast and Internet included). Hotels.com looked like it was going to be 8€/night less until I got farther into the booking and they added tax recovery and fees.


Just pushing the spam down.

Posted by
328 posts

Lee is right. To be included (and bookable) on 3rd Party websites (Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, etc) the hotel pays a portion of the rate to the 3rd party website, 15% is actually quite low, some fees can be as much as 30-40%. Most of the 3rd party websites also require you to have rate parity with their site (ie. Hotel A needs to charge the same amount for the same room on their website). This means that when you book a room through a 3rd party website as opposed to the hotel's website you will likely pay the same rate but the hotel has to pay a significant portion of that rate to the 3rd party. If the rate differs between the hotel website and the 3rd party website it is usually an oversight by the hotel, not someone taking advantage of you or offering you a better deal.

When you contact the hotel directly (preferably by phone), you are very likely to get an even better price than what is listed on the hotel's website ... because of that rate parity deal (they can't advertise anything less than what you see on the 3rd party website) and because the hotel would love to not have to pay the percentage to the 3rd party website. For example, when I managed a local Best Western, we usually had a 'Manager's Special' listed in the rates that our staff could sell that was $10-$20 less than any advertised price. A guest would only get quoted this rate if you called the hotel directly and pressed the agent for your rate options, we couldn't list it on our websites or we would be violating the rate parity agreement with the 3rd party websites.

For the same reason, a hotel might not list ALL of their rooms on the 3rd party website. If they only list 20 double rooms but actually have 40 rooms to sell, for example, then they don't have to worry about the rate parity after that initial 20 room allotment is sold and they can sell the remaining rooms for as much or as little as they want on a given day.

As others have stated, these days you really HAVE to be on the 3rd party websites if you want to be visible at all. It's how most of us find our hotel rooms. Unfortunately, smaller family-run properties are really in a bind. They can't really afford those high fees to the 3rd party websites but they really can't afford to not be listed on their sites either. This is why a lot of smaller properties aren't listed on 3rd party sites. It is also why I always encourage people to search for their hotels on the 3rd party websites but actually make their bookings with the hotel directly, particularly if it is a smaller property.

For the sake of transparency, you should know that I've never dealt with booking.com as a hotel manager, so I can't speak to how their specific agreements with hotels work.

Posted by
7205 posts

To Ms.Jo: When you see this on the booking.com website "Not included: 8 % TAX, 8 % city tax." you know that taxes are NOT being included. Booking.com includes taxes sometimes and other times they do not. BTW, I copied that tax message directly from booking.com website after an arbitrary hotel search.

Posted by
1 posts

We have used Booking.com for many years and they do stand behind their "guaranteed lowest price" - if you can prove it. We always check other sites and the hotel's own website before going ahead with Booking.com. We have had to call them (yes spoke to a person) then emailed a link to the proof and they gave us the same deal. Why do we use them? Great customer service, the guarantee and have never been disappointed in any hotel - believe the description and reviews are fairly accurate. On their booking page, it is always very clear whether there is free cancellation, breakfast included and the amount of taxes which will be charged by the hotel. There is some degree of comfort in not having paid until checkout, others sites have required payment in advance only to be moved to another hotel or finding no reservation at all.
Sarah

Posted by
278 posts

Sarah- I would agree with most of your comments re Booking.com. However, we reserved a double room in a "4 star" hotel in Cochem several years ago using booking.com which tried to give us a single room with an extra cot instead of a double. They refused to let us look at any other room in the hotel. Of course we left and went to the nearest Marriott Courtyard in Wiesbaden. The Cochem hotel was very surprised and refused to allow us to cancel. When the charge showed up on our credit card the next month, Booking.com would not (could not, did not, etc.) help at all. When I appealed to my credit card they contacted the hotel and got the charges removed. I guess the moral to the story is that there are exceptions to every rule... Che sara sara

Posted by
278 posts

Ginger, you are in luck in that the nights of June 7 & 8 are on a slow weekend in Munich this year and the hotel rates have been reduced at some of the higher end hotels. I could provide some detailed information if you could tell me if you will have a car, are interested in museums, don't mind walking a little, or are interested in a day trip from Munich on Sunday the 8th. As you probably know, most of the shops are closed on Sunday but the restaurants and biergartens will be open. If the weather cooperates, you will have a wonderful 2 days...

Posted by
449 posts

Sure Kenneth. We walk a lot so that's not a problem. This is what I find strange about Marriott. They say full breakfast included, but while I don't mind the room rate, the taxes for two nights seem very high, compared to Lucerne.

Saturday, June 7, 2014
$231.45
Sunday, June 8, 2014
$231.45
Subtotal
$462.90
Tax recovery charges and service fees

Tax recovery charges and service fees
$309.12

Posted by
18022 posts

Kenneth,

June 7-9 is Whit (Pentecost) weekend this year, a three-day weekend and a very popular travel time. Monday, the 9th, is a national holiday.

Posted by
278 posts

Hi Ginger-

I don't know what is going on, but I just booked a double room for the nights of June 7 & 8 at the Marriott Residence Inn in Munich. I used the web site www.marriott.com . The rate is 318€ total, for 2 nights, and the reservation specifically states "estimated government taxes and fees included". If you use the Marriott web site to make your reservation and you don't get the same price call the help telephone number listed on the web site. ( I completed the booking because it is completely refundable and cancellable until 6 June...) Parking is 20€ day. If you are driving the RI is an easy hotel to get to. Go to the hotels website to get a map. However, if you are taking the train to Munich I would suggest staying closer to the Hauptbahnhof as it is near the city center. There is a Marriott Munich City Center Courtyard about 3 blocks from the Hauptbahnhof that is less expensive (149 € per night). ( Also, FYI, There is another Marriott Courtyard adjacent to the Residence Inn that is less expensive and includes the same breakfast as the RI). I don't think breakfast is included at the City Center Courtyard but there are cafes close by and the train station has several inexpensive choices. It is easier to get around central Munich if you stay close to the Huaptbahnhof. There are many other hotel choices in this price range ( around 150 € per night) close to the Hauptbahnhof if you want to try a more traditional German hotel...

On Saturday you can visit the Marienplatz and stay in that area for dinner, etc. The Hofbrau house is within 3 blocks. Andechs Monastery has a opened a restaurant 2 blocks northwest of the Marienplatz which has food (and drink) similar to that served at their Monastery southwest of Munich. Sunday you could visit the English Garden or take a day trip to Garmish (Zugspitz if the weather is good) or Herrenchiemsee at Prein , which is halfway to Salzburg on A8 if you have a car.

I hope this helps- ask more questions if need be...Have a great trip!!!

Posted by
278 posts

Lee- Thanks for the info. I have noticed that hotel rates in the larger cities in Europe are sometimes lower on weekends. Conversely, rates are usually higher in smaller towns on weekends. I assume it is because there are no businesses open on weekends and the folks in cities flock to the smaller towns to take a break. Same deal between LA and 'Vegas, San Francisco and Napa Valley, etc.

Posted by
18022 posts

"if you are taking the train to Munich I would suggest staying closer to the Hauptbahnhof"

The RI is on Oleanstrasse, just down the street from Ostbahnhof, on the main S-Bahn trunk line under the city and a stop for many trains. Easy access to Marienplatz, which is the "city center". Trains going east out of Munich to Salzburg and Innsbruck stop at Ostbahnhof.