What is a Hotel Tariff?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A hotel tariff is a full schedule of fees for the use of hotel amenities. It includes a disclosure of room rates along with other rate information which may be relevant to guests, including discussions of bed taxes and similar fees which may be collected by the hotel.

Hotels may be obligated to collect a bed tax.
Hotels may be obligated to collect a bed tax.

Hotels are sometimes required by law to make all of their tariff information available, so that guests can see the options which they can choose, and so that guests can challenge rates which may differ from those disclosed by the hotel. For example, a hotel can state that premium rooms are available at a set prices which is higher during peak season, and if a guest visits during the off season and is charged the peak rate, he or she can use the published hotel tariff to dispute the charge. In other cases, a hotel is not required to provide the information, but it does so as a courtesy to guests.

A hotel tariff may include use of the hotel pool.
A hotel tariff may include use of the hotel pool.

The top of the hotel tariff usually lists the prices for the rooms. In a small hotel, each room may be priced individually, while others may group rooms by type and have a generic price for all rooms of the same type. Below the rate disclosures, the hotel must mention any taxes and fees which it is obligated to collect, such as a Bed Tax or Value Added Tax (VAT). The tariff also discusses what is included in the disclosed rates, such as breakfast, bathrobes, use of the hotel pool, and so forth.

In addition to general information about room rates, a hotel tariff must include a breakdown of additional rates and fees which guests can incur while they stay in the hotel. These can include fees for meals not included in the flat rate, room service, phone calls, and so forth. The tariff may also discuss services offered by the hotel such as dry cleaning, the ability to make reservations on behalf of guests, a concierge doctor service, and so forth.

When researching hotels, it pays to look at the hotel tariff sheet very closely, as it can provide useful information. Especially for travelers who are unfamiliar with the norms at foreign hotels, for example, it may help to know that a tax will be collected at checkout, or that a hotel's rates do not include certain services which travelers may have grown to expect in their home nations. Researchers should also confirm that they are looking at the most recent tariff schedule available from the hotel, as rates can and do change.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@Acracadabra - You are so right to mention checking the tariff carefully when comparing hotels.

I just made reservations online for our trip to Europe. I thought I'd lucked out with a cheap hotel in England, only to discover too late that the prices on the tariff were per person, per night.

Being used to paying for a room I just didn't think it could be different.


You'll find this term used in most hotels in India too. It can be quite confusing when you are trying to work out the cost in a totally unfamilar currency which counts in the thousands! Add to this the variety of informational styles used and it can become hard to budget.

If you are booking online I would recommend checking several sites for research purposes. Otherwise you may not spot key things, such as the 'luxury tax' which is commonly applied to tourists in India.

This may not be included in the published tariff, but if you see it elsewhere you will be able to double check.

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