Why do hotels feel the need to charge more for a single room?

I suppose it frustrates me a bit now because I often travel out places now then on my own and there often seems to be a single supplement which seems strange if it is for “single occupancy” as you could say, it doesn’t matter how, many people are staying in a room if they have to clean the room anyway. Can someone tell me why they do this now then?

I’ve not run into this myself and the only way it makes sense to me is in the context of package pricing. If the room runs for $500 and package inclusions are $200 per person then hotels advertise the rate as $450 per person based on double occupancy. This includes 1/2 the room rate plus each person’s package inclusions.

A person travelling alone paying $450 would only be covering half the room rental and so would be charged a premium to make up the difference(in this case $250).

The room costs the same in each case but in one the cost is split and in the other it is not.

Are you booking your rooms through a tour operator? This is standard practice for them, especially cruise tours, because they set their pricing assuming double occupancy. I’ve heard you could negotiate with some operators to match with you another single traveler so that the single supplement could be waived but I do not have any personal experience with this.

You question why they’re doing this now, but I’ve heard of this practice since the early 2000’s when a neighbour’s mother did a senior’s tour to Europe.

I’ve never encountered a hotel in the US that charged more the $10 for the second occupant.

Of course the hotel expect guests to buy stuff as well as use the room - dinner and breakfast, drinks in the bar etc. Only having one occupant means less profit. It is becoming more common in the UK to charge on a per room basis - this may be up to three people (two adults and a child), but one would pay the same. Some people interpret this as a single person paying double.

I might be confused here. Are you saying that a single is going to pay more than the room generates at double occupancy? That is to say, if the double occupancy rate is $300 then a single occupancy pays more than $600? I’ve never seen this to be the case. A single pays more than double occupancy rate per person but less than twice the double occupancy rate.

A quick search on local motel rates just now showed motels nearby actually charging the same for a room irrespective of the number of adults renting the room. This surprised me.

Right. At most, I’ve seen a nominal fee for every additional adult. Where are these hotels that the OP is discussing?

I’ve never, ever encountered this. I only book through hotel websites. Extra charges for the second person seem to be going a way, I assume that it was difficult to enforce and confronting a guest created more ill-will than the extra $10 was worth. A bigger problem for me and my sister is that hotels like to reserve a single room for us even when I specify double; I got a water view room at Sydney, NS that was for the price of a regular because I wouldn’t accept the single.

It’s even further back than 2000 - I remember this from the 80s. But only at resorts, cruises or package tours in the US. Never at an ordinary hotel like a Best Western or Holiday Inn where all you get is the room. Sometimes those places will charge $10 or $20 if you need a cot , but it’s not per person - if you have four people sharing a room with two queen beds who don’t need a cot ( a family of four,say) it costs the same as if only one person were in the room.

As Cyros said, it’s because of the extras at the places that do this. Some of them have reduced per person rates for the third or fourth in a room for the same reason.

Just as an example, my husband organizes a couple of trips to bowling tournaments each year. If the hotel room is $100 per night for three nights and the entry fees are $200, a person rooming alone will pay $500 ($100 a night for the room and $200 for entry fees) and two sharing a room will pay $350 each ( $50 each per night for the room and $200 for entry fees). It’s the same thing- it’s just that resorts, cruises and package tours don’t break down the price for you.

Most US hotels charge by the room, no matter the number of people in it (though they’ll charge extra for rollaway beds).

The reason was that it was impossible to police the number of people in a room. People would say they were alone and manage to sneak up a second person. It was hard for the hotel to stop this, especially without the possibility of looking bad. So they charge by the room.

OP, we need an idea of the places you are travelling to and the places you are booking from, because otherwise many of us are lost. Put me in as another one who has seen this phenomenon of the single supplement only in packages, cruises and all-incs, while some hotels may charge per-person rather than per-room, but then that’s just that, it’s not an “add-on” penalty it’s just the per-person rate. As mentioned, the US norm is a rate per room per night up to the maximum determined number the room can take (most commonly two or four adults).

This sentence is really hard to understand. Can you rephrase it more carefully to tell us what, exactly, you are talking about?

And because most US hotels don’t include meals in the price, except possibly a breakfast buffet.

Yes that may be their written policy.
But if they trust you and they are short of single bed rooms, they give you a larger room at single bed room prices… the free upgrade.
Hah yeah at one hotel they didn’t actually have single rooms, they just advertised the single rate to get customers. This guy turned up and asked for a single room and some girl was standing with him … the desk clerk was saying “but … like you need to pay for the larger room !”… He says “No she is going home later tonight… she lives near by …”…Clerk says " I don’t believe you.".

Lol… maybe clerk was wanting to check on this story for himself ?