EXCLUSIVE: Marriott Will Bundle Resort Fees Into Price Display Starting This Month

Marriott is going to make a major shift this month in how it displays prices on its website, and to its English language mobile app. The first and most prominent price for a hotel that Marriott displays will be the price inclusive of resort or destination fees so when you search the Marriott website you won’t be duped into thinking a hotel is cheaper than it is, only to see disclosure of a higher price at check-out. The change will occur starting in mid-May, expected between May 15 and 23.

This is required by a settlement over resort fees as a deceptive practice that they entered into with Pennsylvania in 2021 and that they are late in implementing.

What Marriott’s Resort Fee Settlement Requires

All rate displays have to include the total price of a reservation – and it has to be the most prominently displayed price. Call center agents have to quote prices inclusive of fees, too.

When you search for hotels, search results sorted by price have to be sorted by total price inclusive of all costs.

Resort and destination fees cannot be lumped in with taxes in any display. They have to be shown separately, and prior to completing a booking Marriott has to display what’s provided by the property in exchange for the mandatory fee. This isn’t only something you’ll find out at check-in anymore, once implemented.

What’s Changing – And What Isn’t

The change to Marriott’s pricing display is a big deal because it could signal an industry shift away from resort fees. If resort fees are included in the price, they don’t matter to the consumer traveling on paid rates. Only jurisdictions where there’s differential tax treatment between resort fees and room rates, and discount deals where a percentage off applies to a room rate but not resort fee, will care when it comes to paid travel.

To be clear: resort and destination fees aren’t going away at Marriott. While Hyatt and Hilton do not add resort fees onto redemption stays, Marriott hotels can charge Bonvoy free night guests a resort fee. And there’s no display change, even, when searching for Bonvoy free night awards – you’ll still see the price displayed in points and not inclusive of resort fees.

And for now this change only applies to Marriott channels. So if you’re comparing the price of hotels across different chains, such as at Expedia or Priceline, you will still be shown incomplete rates. You have to click through each one to figure out the resort fee and then do the math to compare hotel prices.

Will Other Chains – And Online Travel Agency Sites – Follow Marriott?

Several states are continuing to pursue claims against hotel chains for deceptive practices. Resort fees make it difficult for consumers to compare prices, since the price they see on initial search isn’t the actual price. Hotels that don’t have resort fees look more expensive and are effectively punished.

Marriott settled with Pennsylvania because the state was willing to accept a change in business practices – without big fines. California and Washington D.C. want money. Texas is threatening to sue those who don’t enter into agreements similar to what Marriott did with Pennsylvania. So what’s going to happen?

  • Hilton has the technology ready to go to match this. Whether they implement depends on whether other industry players follow.

  • No one seems poised to follow on right away and that includes other hotel chains (like IHG and Accor) as well as online travel agencies (like Expedia and Booking.com).

  • Expedia will continue to show Marriott rates excluding resort fees – they can show inclusive rates, but don’t make those the most prominent. That makes it appear to the consumer as though it’s cheaper to book through Expedia.

President Biden has made resort fees a political issue but has chosen not to actually do anything about them. Eventually though pressure from state lawsuits could bring other chains to the table. If Hilton and another big chain follow Marriott it’ll be hard for the industry as a whole not to switch.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is a boon for other chains and booking platforms. No way they’ll change now unless forced to as part of a court settlement.

  2. It will be interesting to see how they handle the disclosure of what’s included in resort or destination fees. Will properties really have to list every inclusion?

    For the life of me I don’t understand why Marriott doesn’t waive resort or destination fees for elites since the franchise and license agreements that owners sign explicitly envisions these kind of fees being waived.

    That aside, I think the real winner here are Marriott’s all-inclusive properties since Bonvoy elites staying at all-inclusive properties within the Marriott brand family do NOT pay resort fees on points or cash rates. Why stay at a regular resort charging a nightly fee when an all-inclusive doesn’t? Sure, the good at all-inclusive properties generally isn’t great but I’ll easily take the price savings if all I want is a beach hotel somewhere warm.

  3. I wonder if the timing means another lawsuit is reaching settlement and they want the good guy PR in advance

  4. First thoughts –

    Seems odd that Marriott will do this but not other hotels or even 3rd party channels. That seems to put Marriott at a disadvantage with respect to price.

    That being said, the vast majority of Marriott properties don’t charge a resort fee so only those stays will be impacted.

    The ones that would get hit by reducing overall price (to reflect inclusion of resort fees and be competitive with similar such local properties) would almost always be the hotel owner and not Marriott since they are essentially run as franchises. Wonder how much input the owners had in this settlement or how it was implemented.

    I assume taxes still won’t show on the first page unless you click the button to show all taxes and fees. I’ve not seen anything in the settlement that would require this since it only focuses on resort fees.

  5. If the existing junk fees will now be hidden, currently properties that don’t charge them can now start doing so, and instantly hide them.

  6. Resort fees are not eligible for Bonvoy Points – so that is one remaining difference. Similar to parking fees, which are increasingly common even at lower-tier chains – Courtyard, Fairfield, SHS, TPS – even when not anywhere near paid parking locales.

  7. To help enable Marriott’s long-standing hospitality tradition of duping customers, engaging in deceptive practices, and pissing off their visitors into thinking their hotel reservations were a good value, after bundling their resort fees into online price displays, what manufactured and disgracefully obscure charges like parking, charging for light bulbs in a room and destination fees should guests expect to see?

  8. It’s high time the US in general started showing everything including all taxes and fees like the majority of other countries. Car rentals are the worst. A “base” fee of $50/day will quickly turn in to $100 even before you add any optional insurance just from all the random fees added. Airlines were at least forced to go this way.

    As for a resort fee, they are total con, especially if you have elite status, I’ve seen properties advertise “premium WiFi, 2 bottles of water, $10 resort credit etc” in their $25/day resort fee when these are standard things if you’re a high or even mid-tier member of one of their programs

  9. Question…Am I the only one who is concerned about including Resort/Destination Fees in total price?? Anyone who travels, even moderately, knows to expect Resort/Destination Fees. It’s there if you look for it. Most people traveling for work have Daily Rate Limits or guidelines to follow. By including the Resort/Destination Fee in the total May trip a compliance alert or audit. This is especially the case now that room rates are already higher than before. Luckily as a Globalist with Hyatt I don’t have to worry about this as it is waved. I am also top tier with Marriott and Hilton and know what to expect…if the Resort/Destination Fee brings the price too high, I might just pay that separately on a personal card. I don’t really like this new requirement Marriott is having to implement!! Please tell me I am not the only one with this thinking.

  10. @TomR. Good points. Hotels have tried to make ways to charge extra for WIFI when stating we give free WIFI, or as you state with those resort fee scams to justify the resort fee. Car rentals are outrageous. THere are cases where taxes and fees (not talking about insurance) are more than the daily so called rental price. Airport fees, taxes, Fee for a convention center etc.

    I wonder what happens on other websites that broker rooms for Marriott? I assume they wont show the resort fee in the total price, but Marriott.com will? I also assume that Marriott will charge resort fees to Plat members as they have in the past, but I wonder if there are any conflicts over this. Probably check in documents will show the resort fee on points nights.

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