Expedia Drops Hammer: Hotels Punished in Search Listings for Resort Fees

Expedia and its Hotels.com site are now displaying hotels that add resort fees lower in search results than those properties which do not. This is win-win for Expedia and customers.

  • They want hotels to display full prices, because that makes it easier for them to take commission on the full price.
  • At the same time it means transparency, customers can compare prices of hotels up front without having to select a property and dig through details to learn whether or not the price displayed is the full price.

And this strategy also protects Expedia’s business – so far hotel sites have been reluctant to display full cost including resort fees because it makes them look like the more expensive place to book a given property. Sites displaying price without resort fees included look cheaper, even though they aren’t.

Punishing hotels in their search order means hotels adding resort fees are less likely to be booked, though customers searching for hotels on other metasearch engines will still see Expedia’s pricing as competitive with prices at other hotel sites.


Expedia is Slam Dancing on Hotels That Charge Resort Fees Flickr: Juggernautco

Including a resort fee won’t necessarily mean a low listing every time, however, because Expedia (like Priceline) also charges hotels extra to be displayed higher in results. So some hotels with fees may also be paying for better placement. Search results on Expedia aren’t actually about what’s best for the customer, although Expedia is careful not to take this too far because they don’t want to give useless results that causes a customer to book elsewhere.

Expedia is about the last travel company to do anything pro-consumer and yet with its muscle it could come late into the game and make a real difference.

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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Comments

  1. This is good news, although not as good as Booking.com was doing by banning hotels with resort fees altogether. Maybe this is a baby step towards that.

  2. Good news. But I suspect that nothing major will happen until one of the pro-consumer states like California or New York institute a regulation prohibiting altogether the (false) tactics of advertising properties with resort fees in teeny tiny print.

  3. @Daniel Booking.com was not banning hotels with resort fees, they were saying that they were going to start collecting commissions on resort fees. They even backed down on that and ‘delayed’ the new policy until after January 1, 2020.

  4. This isnt doing much. What they should do is highlight the fees in giant font.

    In a city like vegas, where pretty much everyone has a fee.

  5. “In a city like vegas, where pretty much everyone has a fee.”

    It bothers me and I live in Vegas. Of course, you do have to pay a big portion of what would otherwise be my income tax , as well as financing the new stadium.
    Thanks for playing!

  6. We all need to fight back on social media channels and review sites by giving any property engaging in this nefarious practice the lowest possible rating, and adding BOGUS RESORT FEE to the title. I always give the hotel the opportunity to waive the fee, but it never happens in practice these days. Hopefully these rip-off fees will be banned in the future, but until then use what power we have as consumer/reviewers to fight back.

  7. @KimmieA: Agreed. No OTA site can do much on their own because the day they bundle resort fees in their price is the same day traffic from hotel site aggregators like Google or TripAdvisor will plummet.

    The only way to truly rein in resort fees is to get states (or maybe the Feds when a Dem is in again) to start requiring all mandatory fees get bundled into the advertised price.

  8. @Terry, I wholeheartedly concur. I would check that “no resort fees” box every time. I don’t want to see listings at all from properties that lie about their prices. It is a nuisance to click several times to find out if I am being scammed or not when going through listings.

  9. Great news. In any case, I speculate that nothing significant will occur until one of the master purchaser states like California or New York establishment a guideline disallowing inside and out the (Fake) strategies of publicizing properties with resort charges in minuscule print.
    Thanks
    AnalogDigitalCafe.Com

  10. Expedia and Booking both have the ability to reprogram their software to show the total cost whether or not the hotel wants it to be displayed. Why don’t they just do that? Do they really think that the hotels will withdraw from the two most popular online travel sites?

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