The price of a room in hotels around the world, at least in four- and five-star properties, is based on the type of room, breakfast and free (or significantly discounted) use of amenities.
Amenities include the gym, spa, swimming pool and even WiFi connection, as well as any other facilities the hotel management sees fit to offer along with the room.
Surprisingly, this is not the case in Iran, despite the fact that the country is lagging in its attempt to meet its ambitious target of 20 million tourists a year by 2025.
Hoteliers say they are forced to charge extra for amenities that would normally be offered free of charge elsewhere, blaming Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization’s regulations.
Room rates in Iran are set by ICHHTO and they only include the price of the room and breakfast, leaving hotel owners to set their own fees for other services.
“This problem is rooted in the fact that room rates in Iran aren’t liberalized,” Jamshid Hamzehzadeh, president of Iran Hoteliers Association, was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Hamzehzadeh has been a vocal critic of the government’s disinclination to deregulate hotel fees and he says this has forced hoteliers’ hands.
“In no other country do you see the government setting hotel prices,” he added.
The organization argues that hotels may abuse a liberalized market, because their service quality is too inferior to merit the rates that they would likely impose.
Vali Teymouri, director of the Monitoring of Tourism Services Office at ICHHTO, said the problem can be overcome if hoteliers are honest with their guests.
“Hotels sign contracts with travel agencies and guests, in which they are supposed to clearly state the prices they charge for services not included in the room rate,” he was quoted by travel news website Donyaye Safar as saying.
The official said problems arise when transparency takes a backseat.
“Hotel guests will not be surprised if they know exactly how much everything costs before hand,” Teymouri said.
Nevertheless, Hamzehzadeh said the association is “seriously pursuing” deregulation of hotel rates.
“We haven’t been able to take this up with the organization because there’s no stability in upper management,” he said, referring to frequent staff changes at the highest levels of ICHHTO.
“So we’ve taken our request to the parliament and hope to get the desired result.”