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Introducing city taxes

Andrea Stubbe July 27, 2018

With our end-of-July release, we introduced city taxes to apaleo. If your application allows guests to make reservations, or check-in, this guide explains what you have to do, in order to support city taxes. But first, some general notes to help you understand the design.

The general idea

City taxes, are fees a guest has to pay. The hotel collects the money, and then passes it on to the city, marketing organization, or whoever initiated the tax.

The rules who has to pay city tax, and how they are calculated are not unified accross countries, and not even within on country. Some examples:

  • Vienna wants 3.2% on the net price without breakfast, minus 11% "als Äquivalent für allfällige Internationalisierungsmaßnahmen"
  • Paris charges between 0.20 € and4 € per person and night
  • In Münster in Germany, handicapped people, students, and politicians are exempt
  • Some towns in Switzerland do not charge people visiting close family members or tour guides
  • And many cities and countries just do not collect city tax at all.

It doesn't even have a standard name. It's called Kurtaxe, city tax, tourist tax, and more.
To support all those creative ideas, we allow hotels to model their own city tax, and require the check-in person or robot to decide whether city tax needs to be added or not.

What you have to do

When you allow people to make reservations, you should display the rules and calculation for city tax before the booking is done. The tax is not included in the offer price, but will only be added on check-in. You can find the localized text to disaply in the description of 

GET /settings/v1/city-tax/{id}

When your application checks in guests, you either need to make it interactively, having the person checking in decide whether tax has to be added or not (here too, display the description). Sometimes cities require some sort of proof, like a business-email-address, or papers of sorts.
The implementation change you will need to do, is adding flag to 

/booking/v1/reservation-actions/{id}/checkin?withCityTax=false

The default is true, and for hotels not having city tax defined, it will simply be ignored.

Andrea Stubbe

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Andrea Stubbe
Andrea started coding as a kid, paused that for some years trying to find more interesting things, but then ended up doing that for a living. After working as a freelancer, researcher, teacher, and a normal employee in small and giant corporations, she fulfilled her childhood dream and co-founded a company a year ago. Being a fan of microservices since before she knew that term, she’s still contemplating how and if to use them in micro-sized companies.
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