NYT: “Paying a ‘Resort Fee’ When You’re Not at a Resort”

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New York Times yesterday run a piece of those nasty fees that we first only saw at resorts but that now are expanding to cities as “Urban Destination Charges”

Sheraton New York Times Square

It appears that these are expanding because travelers are used to “fees” that are added to the headline price later in the process. They are 80% to 90% pure profit for the hotels.

You can access the New York Times piece here of which below is an excerpt:

Robert Mandelbaum, director of research information services for CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research, said: “Resort fees are a very profitable way for hotels to raise revenue and not advertise they’re raising room rates. By a strict definition, they’re not raising room rates but adding a mandatory fee.”

Last year, Mr. Hanson said, 42 percent of resort hotels charged resort fees, a figure he predicted would remain flat this year. But he estimated that the percentage of urban hotels charging such fees would climb to 8 percent this year from 2 percent last year.

Mr. Hanson said urban hotels’ fees are determined and imposed by their local general managers and typically range from $20 to $40 per night, plus local sales tax.

In 2017 the attorney general for the District of Columbia sued to enforce an investigative subpoena it served on Marriott International in connection with a national investigation involving its office and those of attorneys general in 46 states concerning “deceptive price advertising techniques used by the Marriott.” All legal cases are pending.

Here’s Marriott’s price display for tonight in New York:

Marriott Price Display

All the prices are fees and taxes EXCLUDED.

Sheraton New York

Marriott Price Display Sheraton New York

Conclusion

These “Urban Destination Charges” are nothing but hidden price hike without raising the headline one as these “fees/taxes” are usually not properly disclosed on the booking page (without clicking through).

Hotels should show all inclusive prices on their front page with all the taxes and fees included.

These are like fuel surcharges for the airlines. Hotels don’t need to pay travel agent commission for their value, some hotels collect them even on awards (Marriott) and you don’t usually earn points for their amount (loyalty program members).

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