Two Marriotts Introduce New Employee Protection Surcharge

Surcharges have exploded at Marriott hotels, as well as other chains. Whether it’s fees to cover the light bulbs in your room, extra charges to cover a hotel’s property tax or gotcha charges for paying a bill by credit card (even Marriott’s own credit card).

Still a fee per night that guests now have to pay to protect housekeepers at the Marriott LAX still surprised me. (HT: One Mile at a Time)

Please note – A daily Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance Costs Surcharge-local fee of USD 10.72 plus tax will be added to the room rate.

Marriott’s Renaissance LAX also charges a similar fee, but $8.70 per night. This is justified by a Los Angeles rule requiring:

  • Hotels to provide employees with panic buttons for their safety at work, mostly in case they’re attacked by a guest. Marriott is charging you to protect workers from you.

  • New overtime rules, including written consent from the worker for shifts over 10 hours.

As Ben Schlappig writes,

At 100% occupancy, this fee would amount to nearly $4 million per year, so if that’s really necessary to pay for these panic buttons, then I need to get into the panic button business!

…how exactly was the pre-tax total of $10.72 per night decided? It’s almost like the hotel is trying to make it sound like something very exact so it comes across as a government fee, rather than the hotel using this to pad its bottom line.

These hotels do not believe the safety of their employees is their responsibility. It’s something you have to pay for, in addition to the price of your room. And it’s something you have to pay the hotel to do, since they appear to be charging more than it costs them. In other words, it’s a junk fee designed for deception, to extract more money from guests. It’s a destination fee by another name, but without any benefit to the guest.

Why does Marriott allow this? I suspect that this fee actually isn’t permitted under Marriott’s rules (whether or not they’re enforced). To charge a resort or destination fee a Marriott hotel must have an above-average intent to recommend score and offer benefits to the customer in exchange “with a retail value that is at least four times greater than the destination or resort fee charged.”

If that restriction has any meaning, a hotel can’t just call an add-on fee something else in order to avoid it, and in order to avoid an application fee (e.g. $1500 plus $550 per year after approval).

Nonetheless, guests are the product not the customer, hotels do as they please, or at least have learned to test boundaries since Marriott has been degrading its brand to keep owners happy. Owners free ride on the Marriott name while not contributing to preserve it, and they’ve more or less gotten away with this since the Starwood acquisition in order to keep them in the fold and paying fees. So they think they can get away with most things at this point, whether Marriott ultimately pushes back on this specific charge or not.

Ultimately this is bad for Marriott, because they’ll only be able to earn these fees as long as the brand has value. And it’s bad for Marriott hotels generally because it reduces their differentiation with Airbnb and makes them less competitive. But in the short run it benefits individual hotel properties that appear to offer cheaper rooms when a customer is searching, and because some consumers may not realize how much they’re going to have to pay.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. Let’s be honest. Is anyone truly surprised?

    In a movie, a priest offers confession to a very reluctant Gene Hackman. “Nothing is that bad, my son.” To which Hackman says, “I’ve done real estate, father.” To which the priest says, “Oooh.”

    Substitute “owned a Marriott hotel.”

  2. As a part of the Marriott New Employee Protection Surcharge, the additional revenue collected can be used to offset the cost of ammunition and gun purchases by employees. Furthermore, for every year of service, Marriott employees will receive 100 bonus bullets (500 bullets for Los Angeles employees) and a complimentary high-capacity magazine.

    Additionally, after two years of Marriott service, employees can choose either a large-caliber grenade launcher or a semi-automatic shotgun to help keep Marriott employees safer. The Marriott Employee Protection program is void where prohibited and employees under 18 years old.

    With most Marriott employees “packing heat,” guests should feel much safer when they stay at Marriott International properties over Hilton, IHG, or Motel 6 hotels.

  3. Gary,

    Agree completely it is a BS fee. However, at least Marriott has the option to select to show the rate with all taxes and fees which should cover any requirements for transparency. Also, interesting that if I book a reward stay at this hotel (I did a dummy booking to see what happened) this fee (and other taxes) are not applied.

  4. The fleecing of the very people, who “pay the bills”, that allows hotels to remain in business. It’s absolutely, appalling!

    As an early Alumni at Marriott, circa 1965 (Marriott had 2 hotels), I continue to be amazed!

    Pretty soon, the entrances, will have a pay booth, and toll fee, to enter the building. Will it ever slow down, much less, stop!

    It begs the question, “why weren’t guests paying these charges before”? Simple answer. It’s a way, albeit “outrageous”, to dun the new guests, for losses during Covid.

    It’s amazing to me, how “creative” and completely asinine ways, they can fabricate, reasons why?

    Do they think , consumers are that stupid? The obvious answer, is yes.

    They don’t want to include these foolish and unreasonable charges, in their room rate. Because, they need to show competitive pricing, with their competition. Soo, they conveniently, add them. Cute.

    What’s are paying guests to do? REBEL! Contact other hotels, and ask them, what surcharges are NOT included in the room rate. Boycott, any and every hotel, that have surcharges.

    Have you realized, smaller hotels, typically don’t have surcharges! Ask yourself, how is that possible? Because, they don’t have Revenue Managers, and Board of Directors. Exclamation point!

    If John Q Public, don’t rebel, the “trend” will continue.

    Remember the old commercial, “you can pay us now, or later”? Well, the new slogan for these surcharging hotels, is, “pay us NOW, AND later”!

  5. Gary,

    Do you know if the Chinese Communist Party linked real estate company, The Sichuan Xinglida Group Enterprises Co, still owns the LAX Marriott? Acquired in 2014.

    In 2013, they acquired the Sheraton Gateway in LAX, and the Torrance Marriott South Bay.

  6. As a LT titanium, it’s just another way to keep me at AirBnB which I’m already frequenting quite a bit

  7. @rufuswith9:

    AirBnB’s added on charges are far more onerous that anything Marriott and its hotels have dreamed up.

  8. In my mind, the question is whether the fee is disclosed at or prior to the time the booking can be cancelled without penalty. If it is not disclosed, it could violate Cal. B&P Code Sec 17200.

  9. If Marriott moves forward with this fee they will lose my business. I’ve favored Marriott for years but I draw the line here. It’s absolutely the hotels responsibility to protect their employees, not the customer.

  10. Why are all these hotel scam charges geographically-concentrated? It’s not like I see as much of this stuff in the EU as in the US.

  11. Gary

    can I refuse to pay this fee upon check out and request the front desk remove from my bill?

  12. I’m protecting Marriott’s housekeepers by not staying at Marriotts anymore. I’ll be billing you soon for that service, Marriott.

  13. In view of all the “b s” charges added to a guest bill, does anyone know when there will be a separate charge for toilet paper used in the room?

    Things have become rather foolish with all the add ons.

    Why not just be honest and state the rates when showing room prices?

  14. The Renaissance Walnut Creek, CA bar adds a small alcohol fee in addition to the taxes.
    I asked the following what the fee is/was for: bartender; front desk; back office accounting; assistant GM. None of them could tell me what it is and where it goes.

    (Gary- I’ll be there this weekend. I’ll send you a .pdf a receipt.)

  15. I recently had a 1-night award stay at Courtyard San Francisco Airport. My bill was $0.00 as I used nothing at the place. I received a charge to my card a few days later for $0.98. When I called to inquire I found this was a tourism fee. This was not shown when I made the booking. This pisses me off as a nuisance fee. Should I bother to dispute it?

  16. When Marriott bills one million guests an extra bogus 98 cents fee, Marriott intentionally overbilled $980,000.00 of revenue. Consumers billed for undisclosed charges should file a chargeback through their credit card company. When ample consumers file undisclosed chargebacks, the merchant should get the message.

  17. @Retired Lawyer – if you click on the option to show rate with all taxes and fees these are included prior to booking. Also most confirmations show the detailed charges and rooms, with exception of advance purchase discounts, can be cancelled with a full refund a few days before the stay. Basically you can find out about them if you try. Doesn’t mean I like or agree with them but do feel Marriott meets disclosure requirements

  18. I just did a check on the LAX hotel, it is now callled a local fee, it is a flat rate for the $169 per night room or the $289 room. What a load, it is like the SFO fees that were tacked on after CA adopted Obamacare and forced employers to provide healthcare. Instead of raising the price of a burger $.xx they tacked on a percentage. That if you think about it is less offensive vs the fix B.S. $10.72 “LOCAL FEE” ha ha.

    Making my Lifetime Hilton Diamond more worthwhile everday vs LT Platinum

  19. It’s hard to believe that my Sheraton Vistana perks could.go lower, but apparently it has. Glad it’s shown in rates because I refuse to give any more than I have to Marriott. Since thing over Vistana I now have one of 8 timeshares to choose from, unless I “upgrade” to Marriott product. And hotels. We’ll they are not worth the brands they have placquered everywhere. Took 3 tries to get a clean room last night. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised…

  20. Marriott is pretty bad, but as hard as they try, they are no match for the DNC.

    Well boys and girls, outlandish charges started many moons ago.

    Let me take you back to the early 1970s. I was working at the Washington Hilton Hotel, in our nations capital. Room rates, averaged $18 single, $24 double.

    Hilton was 50/50 partners with the Uris company, and they also owned the New York Hilton. 1,200 rooms in DC, and 2,400 in NYC.

    Every guest since the Washington hotel was open, in 1965, as well as the NYC hotel, charged every room, $.50 per day. For all those years, it went basically unnoticed.

    Well, about 1971, the Washington hotel, had a young Attorney conference. Upon check out, one of these, soon-to-be Robert Shapiro or Johnnie Cochran, asked the individual checking him out of the hotel, what the $ .50 for? The check out individual, told the young Attorney, “it’s for the telephone”!

    The still wet behind the ears Attorney, said that, he or his wife, never used the phone. To which the hotel person said, (this is good) but it was there for you to use.

    The clever attorney, told the clerk, “I am charging you, $100 a night, for their sexual pleasure. The flustered attendant, said, “But we never had sexual pleasures with your wife”.

    The young Attorney, started a class action suit, which they won.

    Both Hilton’s, at judgement, were mandated, to make up to 3 attempts, to contact each previous guests, for 5 years at the Washington hotel, and longer at the NYC hotel.

    It took years. Sooo, maybe this closed case, can be researched, and use for other class action suits, and put a stop to this B.S.

    WATCH THE SURCHARGES, DROP LIKE A 200# ANCHOR ⚓.

    NOTE:. THIS ENTIRE SITUATION, IS REAL. I WAS THERE, WHEN IT HAPPENED. AND GUESS WHAT? WOULD YOU BELIEVE, BEFORE THE TRIAL EVEN STARTED, MIRACULOUSLY, “DISAPPEARED”.

    And that’s the “HOW”, these outrageous surcharges, will fade into the sunset!

  21. P.S.

    ALLOW ME TO CORRECT, THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH.

    The clever attorney, told the clerk, “I am charging you, $100 a night, for their sexual pleasure. The flustered attendant, said, “But we never had sexual pleasures with your wife”.

    IT SHOULD READ: The clever attorney, told the clerk, “I am charging you, $100 a night, for the sexual pleasure with my wife The flustered attendant, said, “But we never had sexual pleasures with your wife”. To which the young legal lad said, “But she was there in the room every night”!

  22. Deregulation is exactly “doing as they please”.

    And if Republicans win the midterms, then this will only become the norm (lawsuits will go to the Supreme Court, where corporates are protected from people/citizens).

    And no, under the Republican it won’t bad for Marriott: extra fees have not hurt car rentals a bit. It will be bad for those chains who don’t add extra fees, since people don’t do math (or don’t see the fee disclosure) and they will be booking more Marriotts because they look cheaper.

  23. One stinging way to get back at them is to always give the hotel a 1 score on yelp. Make sure you add WHY you are giving the rating. If they start getting tons of one’s. It could, potentially, affect a change.

    Chad, you can stop with the anti democratic party rants anytime. It is boring.

  24. The glory days for hotels are coming to an end. Travelers have spent all their COVID piggy banks and stimulus cash and will soon be reducing the number of leisure trips. Many businesses are now permanently meeting over Zoom instead of in person travel. Soon they will be begging people to come back.

  25. I am confused, what this means.

    “If they start getting tons of one’s”! TONS OF ONE’S? . Hmmm.

    Your Comment to Chad, said like a “dyed in the wool”, Demon-crat. Actually, many of us, appreciate his comments. It appears that the ONLY one bored, is YOU!

    You might take the time, you spend criticizing Chad, and work on your English.

  26. Corporate America always claims that mergers will benefit consumers. They always talk a good game. In reality, benefits for customers will be minor and short lived if they materialize at all. Executives and shareholders manage to make out like bandits. This shouldn’t be news to anyone who seen how these things work.

  27. They referred to the charge as an “ordinance”.

    Most would look at that as a government condo ed and demanded fee.

    Sneaky!

  28. They referred to the charge as an “ordinance”.

    Most would look at that as a government condoned and demanded fee.

    Sneaky!

  29. For years I would stay at higher end Marriott’s for business then stay crappy RI, Courtyards, FI, ect on points on weekends for my son’s travel needs. Much more often than not, charges of $13-18 per night would hit my credit card. When I inquired, it was explained that it was the amount they charge the Marriott Corporation for housekeeping services for the “free” room but somehow ended up on my folio instead.

    I’m starting to realize these were probably intentional hoping most people would not notice or care about a small charge given the room was “free”…

  30. I can’t believe some of the contents I’m seeing here. It’s this country really going communist? It’s not the hotels fault when an anti business government mandates a tax or law that effects the cost of doing business. These costs are passed on to the consumer. The liberals know this yet they persist in an effort to promote government dependency. Comments from the general public against the hotel show the level of ignorance in this country.

  31. Do you suppose they waive the charge on days/nights when you don’t get any housekeeping any more? Or when you opt out of housekeeping do you get to opt out of the fee? Not likely.

  32. This is a scam-charge, plain and simple. Oh, and Marriott’s CEO describes stuff like this as “chatter from periphery” on investor calls

    Keep embarrassing them publicly Gary.

    Gotta admit Chad the political commentary is boring. I may agree with you politically but I don’t find a way to insert my sway into every single conversation.

  33. I was always a hard core Starwood fan. But shortly after Marriottt acquired Starwood I switched my loyalty to Hyatt. We all hate resort/ destination fees. But it really irks me big time that Marriottt charges these fees for free nights so I now stay only at Hyatts.

  34. How are these hidden fees not fraud? This is precisely why my employer no longer books Marriott.

  35. Deng Li.

    They are! Further, they won’t stop, until class action suits are initiated.

    All Loyalty members should initiate a global class action lawsuit. It is guaranteed to win. Hotels cannot justify, 75% ++ of the charges. Room attendants, mirrors, lightbulbs, etc.

    Or, “Do Not patronage”them, the first quarter, 2023. Lost income is a strong motivator.

    Several weeks ago, on this site, I wrote about the class action lawsuit, circa 1970-73 for a .50 cent per night ,telephone charge per room, at the New York and Washington Hilton Hotel in D.C.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *