Five hotels in Paris have started allowing customers to pay however much they think their stay was worth.
The experimental "pay-what-you-want" scheme began on Tuesday and will last until August 11.
For a city with a reputation for surly waiters and bad service, it is a risky venture. "What we're trying to do is see what our guests think of us, and how much they're prepared to pay," said Aldric Duval, the manager of the four-star Tour d'Auvergne hotel. "They'll fill out a questionnaire at the end of their stay giving the reasons for the value they've placed on our service. The risk for us is that someone may not be happy ... and offer a low price, but we're confident in the quality of our hotel and our staff."
Si Yad Si Hocine, the manager of another hotel in the scheme, the Grand Hotel Francais, said: "I trust people. They'll know what it's worth and they'll recognise good service when they get it."
Marketing studies show that the sales figures of businesses that introduce such schemes generally go up, not down.
That was the experience of a restaurant in southwestern France that tried it five years ago. The owner, Dominique Pucheu, said: "We were surprised to see that customers actually paid more. They gave us an average of €31 ($48) for a meal we would normally have priced at €25."
The Villa Boheme, the Plaza-Opera and the Villa Lamartine Opera hotels are also trying the scheme.