Resort fees, also sometimes called “facility” or “service” charges, are spreading like a cancer to properties that are no resorts, and are becoming more difficult to avoid.
Here are eight reasons why hotels love “scamming” using resort charges:
1. Able to advertise a lower headline price and bury the extra charge to tax section.
2. Preferential display when searched using the price on hotel search engines.
3. Save on some taxes on municipalities that don’t collect taxes on “resort” charges.
4. Collect resort charge on award stays.
5. Collect resort charge on third party bookings i.e. Expedia, Hotwire, Booking.com, Priceline etc.
6. No need to pay for travel agent commission for amount of the resort fee.
7. No need to award points for the frequent guest program for the resort fee portion.
8. No need to pay franchise fees for the resort charge portion.
Here are three examples how these charges are displayed:
Westin Las Vegas the old Maxim hotel that was closed for couple of years. The property charges a “service” fee of $11.50 that is buried to the itemized rate display.
St Regis Puerto Rico. The resort charge is displayed on the search and the wording that the base rate excluded the resort fee of $60 per night that is included in the full price.
Hyatt has hidden the resort charge to rate details. The price breakdown that is shown only includes the taxes but shows the total with the resort charge included.
What do you might get for these resort charges?
Water bottle, free internet, usage of wellness facilities, free local and 800-phone calls, use of pool or then none of these might be included. If you happen to be an elite member with the hotel, most of these would be covered by your elite benefits regardless.
Resort charges are nothing else than a clever way for hotels to advertise a lower headline price and hide the accommodation charge that is not a tax to the tax breakdown. I absolutely hate hotels that do this. Then there are hotels like Westin Las Vegas or Hyatt Palm Springs that are not resorts and have started to charge service/resort fees.
You can always request for the resort charges to be waived or discounted on the basis that you didn’t use the services or that they are part of the elite level benefit package. Quite often the hotels are willing to waive these fees rather than argue with the customer.