SwissHotels are starting to charge an energy supplement
One chain, for which electricity prices have increased eightfold, now passes on part of the costs to its customers.
Our reader R.* has just received an unusual message from the hotel where he is to go next week, on the shores of Lake Sempach (LU): he is being asked for a 5% supplement. It is also explained to him that any expenditure of more than 999 francs leads to a reduction in the percentage. Something to annoy him: “I concluded a contract by booking in this establishment two months ago.”
He would understand that the hotel saves energy and that it is for example a little colder in the room: “I would take an extra sweater. But a supplement just so that the hotel can continue to heat, I do not find that good.
When asked, the hotel is understanding, but mentions the increase in costs: “When we received the electricity bill for July, eight times higher than last year, we had to take an emergency measure “, explains Felix Suhner, owner of the company which manages five hotels. They would have already made a lot of effort to save electricity, for example with heat pumps and solar installations.
The company buys electricity at the daily market price and is therefore at the mercy of changes in its price. “Until now, the costs represented 1.5% of our turnover, but they now represent 12%, which is more than the profit,” explains Felix Suhner. If energy prices fall in the future, the surcharge will fall. He understands that short-term informed people can be angry. From now on, any new reservation includes the supplement.
“We will find a solution”
Christian Laesser, professor of tourism at the University of St. Gallen, understands the approach. “The hotel blames an external factor that it has no control over. This makes it easier for customers to accept the supplement,” he says, explaining that he would, however, have found it preferable to ask for a flat rate rather than a percentage, so that everyone pays the same price.
*Name known to the editorial staff
Can hotels change the price after booking?
Normally, not in the event of reservation via a portal like Booking, as explained to “20 Minuten” the lawyer Andreas Röösli of the law firm Schwegler & Partner. “The prices there are usually fixed.” However, the reader booked directly with the hotel. In this case, if no fixed price has been agreed, a subsequent change is in principle permitted if this is stated in the contract or in the general terms and conditions of the hotel and if the customer had to confirm the reading of the general terms and conditions, explains Andreas Röösli. Otherwise, the supplement would be optional. According to its own information, the hotel included the supplement in the T&Cs in August, i.e. one month after the reader’s reservation.
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Switzerland: Hotels are starting to charge an energy supplement