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As I’ve written about recently, Marriott settled a lawsuit with the states of Pennsylvania and Texas. It’s now showing all fees up front when booking. Hyatt has also caught the attention of the Texas Attorney General and there is a current lawsuit there (more here). Now, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing Hilton over resort fees.
Resort fees, destination fees, and any other name that hotels choose to give them are junk fees that should just be incorporated into rooms rates. By keeping them separate, it makes a hotel look more affordable. In many cases, you don’t see the fees until you check out and even then it’s not always clear what they’re for (and sometimes they are for ridiculous things like using the TV or pool).
Paxton claims Hilton:
“misleadingly charge consumers higher rates than initially advertised [and that] the services purportedly funded by the fees are often complimentary or included in the room rate at other non-resort locations. Many major hotel chains, including Hilton, have been deceiving their customers for far too long. I warned these companies they would face consequences for this behavior, and Texas has delivered aggressive action to protect consumers, promote price transparency in the hotel and travel industries, and ensure that companies violating our laws are held responsible for misleading the public.”
The lawsuit alleges that Hilton doesn’t adequately display the added fees on a nightly rate and effectively charges guests for both the fee itself and for the taxes on the fee. The Hilton Anatole in Dallas is cited as an example with a room rate of $193 per night plus a $27.26 “Daily Mandatory Charge” that includes Wi-Fi, access to the gym, a spa discount, breakfast for children, and bottles of water. Another fee, labeled as a “Texas Recovery Fee” was also added. All in, the bill for a one-night stay jumps to $258.46.
If Marriott serves as a gauge, Hyatt and Hilton will soon disclose these fees more readily as well. We’ll see how these lawsuits and what the Biden Administration is currently working on around junk fees impact the industry.
(Featured Image Photo Credit: Hilton.)
Anthony’s Take: Resort fees are awful. They should have never been added to room rates. I’d rather pay more for a hotel than be told I’m paying for Wi-Fi and access to the gym. I think we’ll see these disclosed much more readily, but they still should go away altogether.
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