What Are Resort Fees and What Do They Mean?


It may be so exciting and fulfilling at the beginning. That thrilling feeling of finding a great hotel, at a perfect location, with wonderful rooms, marvelous amenities, and tremendous reviews. What enthuses you the most is that the price is so pocket-friendly and affordable. You book it instantly without second thoughts. However, your travel excitement is killed after getting to the payment page and realizing that an extra charge of $50 per night is required – Resort fee.

What Are Resort Fees and What Do They Mean

Resort Fee Definition

A resort fee is a superfluous charge to the room rate at resorts. This fee is mandatory and can be as per diem fee, base fee, or percentage depending on the price of an overall stay. It may cover all services or choose amenities whether they are used by the guest or not.

Resort Fee Package Components

The services and amenities comprised in the resort fees vary with the resorts. A common package includes in-room internet, access to a fitness center, local and costless phone calls, and free of charge printing of boarding permits.

Other possible perquisites may include pool access, valet car parks, daily newspaper, access to a tennis court, and a certain amount of water daily. In-room percolators, incoming/outgoing faxes, room safe, internet in the public areas, discounts for onsite restaurant shows, and notary public facilities may also be offered.

Costs Associated with Resort Fees

In most cases, resort fees are between $6 and $32 per diem plus tax to spend a night at one of the many luxurious hotels in Las Vegas will cost $429 as per their website. However, one must pay a resort fee of $51.02. This means that the actual cost for one night is $536. 

Reactions to the Increasing Trends of Resort Fees

According to the Reno Gazette Journal, the resort fees have been increasing, with some resorts charging up to $45 extra per night. Advocates of consumers and economists oppose these additional charges claiming that offering low rates acts to grab the attention of consumers deceptively. Also, travelers have to spend a lot of time shopping and searching to determine the true cost of a room.

Proponents of resort fees are organizations in the hotel industry. The increase in resort fees generates quite a fortune to resorts and hotels.

Hotels have no obligation to advertise the extra charges and thus can appear cheaper than they are. Also, the extra charges are said to help hotels offset the costs of fulfilling the visitor’s expectations and needs.

Moreover, resort fees are not part of the commission charges when online booking through certain agencies occurs. For instance, resort corporates pay a commission to companies such as Travelocity and Expedia for booking but no expenses are incurred on the resort charges billed later. 

However, according to Ann Holmes, at OnlineCasinoGems, this trend may provoke a seemingly sudden reaction from stakeholders. Here, Tony Rodio – the CEO of Caesars Entertainment – terms the increasing trend of resort fees as the last “straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

Probably, the beginning of the detrimental effects of these hidden fees can be depicted in the lawsuits against some companies. For instance, Marriott and Hilton have been sued based on violating consumer protection laws.

The good news is that the issue of resort fees has attracted wide attraction even from policymakers. This means that travelers will not be exploited anymore by deceptively low charges.

According to marketwatch.com, the bipartisan bill has been introduced in an attempt to abolish resort fees. Moreover, some online booking agencies are starting to charge a commission on the resort fees.

How to Recognize Resort Fees

Most resorts are fond of hiding the resort fees from advertised rates as they try to lure visitors in with the reduced rates of room. For instance, you may spot an enticing deal on a third party website advertising a resort that offers its services at approximately $70. However, after being redirected to the booking page, you realize that an extra $30 is bundled together with the taxes.

Other resorts keep the resort fees a secret and isolated from their publicized room rate until you are prepared to book. What is more surprising is that this additional charge is not even included in the reservation total. Instead, a strip of fine print runs informing the visitor that a certain amount of daily extra fee is applicable.

As a tip, always read through the fine print carefully before starting the booking process. This will help you not to land into extra charges or fees.

Moreover, although most visitor agreements are subject to the unfair conditions in visitor regulations, it does not mean that one can challenge a clause simply because one thinks it is unfair or was not aware of it. If you are still not sure, call the resort before booking to confirm exactly what is required and make sure you know what you are agreeing to.

Resort Fees in a Nutshell

Resort fees are mandatory additional charges to the room rate. Although they vary with every concrete resort, there has been an increasing trend in these charges by most organizations in this industry. This trend has attracted attention, with some entities justifying its existence and others opposing it claiming that it is a deceptive strategy of attracting visitors.

Resort fees are a thorn in the flesh of visitors. The hotel industry should ensure that they cover their costs and satisfy their customers without making them feel they were lied to. They can do this by unveiling their actual fee upfront before the booking process begins. They should always remember that transparency is a virtue valued by consumers.

Have you had your encounter with hidden resort fees? What kind of experience did you have? If you would like to contribute to this discussion, leave your comment below.

Photo Credit: Asad Photo Maldives

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