Good News: Marriott Will Begin Displaying Pricing With Resort Fees

by Anthony Losanno
St. Regis Bal Harbour

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Resort fees might be one of the worst ideas of the 20th century. They can be traced back to around 1997 and have been the bane of travelers ever since. At best, they’re a money grab in that they charge guests to use amenities (like the pool, gym, etc.) that they would have been able to use for free in the past. At worst, they’re a deceptive practice that is confusing to consumers and at times completely ridiculous (hotels have listed use of TV as part of the fee).

St Regis Resort Fee

This is the $99 plus tax (per night) resort fee from the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort.

Marriott was one of the biggest offenders with resort fees and destination fees popping up at vacation spots and city hotels alike. These fees were not disclosed until after you reached checkout. A hotel that cost $250 a night might end up closer to $400 after resort fees and taxes are added.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Michelle Henry, scored a victory for consumers recently when Marriott failed to be fully transparent about these fees. Marriott violated the original settlement, which required that all fees be disclosed upfront, and was ordered to pay a $225,000 fine. It will now begin displaying these fees up front beginning on May 15th.

Henry released this statement:

“What we asked of Marriott, and what the settlement demands, is simple: be up front with consumers and do not hide fees for hotel stays. I am thankful that Marriott has agreed to comply with the terms of settlement agreement without the need for litigation.”

Anthony’s Take: It’s about time that hotels are held accountable to disclose these hidden fees. I wish Marriott would take a page from Hyatt and waive them for all guests on award stays (and top-tier elite members on all stays). I don’t see this happening as they generate too much incremental revenue for hotels. It’s a start, but the fees need to go. I’d feel better if room rates were just a bit higher and these went away completely.

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