Travel Fairness Now, a consumer advocacy organization representing 70,000 travelers, today urged governments to take action to halt the growing practice in the hotel industry of charging what are known as a “resort fee,” “facility fee” or “resort charge” among other misleading labels.
“Travelers want to quickly and easily know the total, bottom line cost of staying in a hotel, buying a plane ticket or renting a car,” said Kurt Ebenhoch, executive director of Travel Fairness Now. “The growing practice of mandatory hotel add-on fees, often justified by services a traveler may not even use or want, are nothing more than profit through consumer deception.”
Resort fees can be more than the actual advertised room price
While the average resort fee is approximately $25 per day, some are as high as $100 per day. In some cases, the resort fee can be more than the actual advertised price of a hotel room.
Resort fees allow a hotel to appear more affordable to a consumer than it actually is. Once a traveler selects a property based on a misleading room price, the resort fee – sometimes charged by hotels that are not even resorts – is added to the price later in the transaction, if at all. The consumer is then required to either accept the actual higher cost of the room that initially seemed affordable or invest more of their time in restarting their entire search, a reality that is not lost on the hotel industry that created this deceptive practice.
Fees are for services consumers often don’t use
The hotel industry says that resort fees cover the cost of services that travelers expect to be included in the actual price of the hotel room, such as use of a pool, fitness center, towels, Wi-Fi access or newspapers. If a traveler does not use any of these services, they are still required to pay the resort fee. The hotel industry’s logic is similar to charging a hotel guest for a meal they didn’t order or eat, but because the hotel operates a restaurant, it is trying to recoup the costs of operating it in addition to the room rate.
Tax collection reveals what resort fees really are
Taxes charged by hotels on resort fees are usually at the same, higher tax rate charged on the actual room price, demonstrating that a resort fee is not about services provided (which are taxed at a lower rate), but are really part of the hotel room price itself.
Resort fees illegal in many countries
Hotel resort fees are so deceptive that some countries have made them illegal, including Australia and the European Union.
“Consumers want fairness when they travel,” Ebenhoch added. “Travelers respect the right of businesses to set their prices, but they expect pricing that is transparent and free of surprises and deception.”
“Resort fees are a cynical form of pricing chicanery to boost profits by confusing, deceiving and exhausting travelers into paying them,” Ebenhoch said. “The public simply wants a fair system that quickly tells them the true, total cost of what they are buying.”