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Pet hate: Hotels that charge in dollars

Posted by somtam2000 on 2/11/2010 at 07:00 admin

What is it with hotels and guesthouses that, just because they're in Indonesia (or anywhere else for that matter) they don't feel to be under any obligation to list their rates in rupiah? Same goes for other countries. The old justification they tend to wheel out is that most of their expenses are in EU or USD, but I'm sure the local staff aren't paid in greenbacks! It's annoying, and just gives the properties another way to milk money out of travellers by using some exchange rate pegged to the Plutonian Zac rather than an exchange rate from planet earth.

It's one thing to bundle prices in Dollars (as we do for Cambodia and Laos) but quite another to hand someone a bill in USD when they're in, oh I don't know ... Luang Prabang for example.

What gives?

#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,021
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Posted by somsai on 2/11/2010 at 08:12

I'm with you there. Who in the heck runs around with a bunch of small money in dollars.

The upside is when I apologize for only having kip, they often round the exchange rate down in my favor.

I think the reason they ask for $ is that a lot of people are only on short whistle stop holidays and don't have time to get their heads around the local currency. Others live their lives on plastic and never even think about cost.

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Posted by eastwest on 2/11/2010 at 15:11

First of all, I don't really mind the whole thing.

The only thing I really hate is different exchange rates depending on how you pay in 1 place (hotel or so): 1 USD - 1050X (if you want to pay in local curreny) but 1 USD - 950X if you want to simply exchange or give your change according to that.

In defence of the hotels wanting/quoting dollars:
- I think many tourists (both backpackers & package) haven't got a clue about the local prices/currencies and ask how much that is in dollars. Internet bookings/enquiries also have a big influence on this. Trying to sell a room on Agoda for 1 million Dong will scare a lot of people away or result in endless questions "How much is that in dollars?". You can not blame them for accommodating that and then adjust the rest (in-house prices) accordingly.

- In instable periods many businesses prefer to have dollars. Not because of their salaries but because of fluctuations. If a local currency dips, dollar gets stronger, fuel (&transport) gets more expensive and in the end goods, electricity, salaries etc. also get more expensive. Many prices in developing countries are (un)officially pegged to the dollar. To offset those differences it's easier to quote and get paid in dollars. Otherwise they need to adjust the menu/pricelist all the time.

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Posted by MADMAC on 2/11/2010 at 20:35

The other issue is whether or not a currency (such as the Kip) is exchanged internationally. If it's not a traded currency, then a lot of people (even people in that country) don't want them. They are fiat currencies in which confidence is very low and the ability to exchange for goods and services is diminished.

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