Resort Fee Run Amok

Resort fees are one of my pet peeves, they are part of the room rate that hotels don’t disclose in advance.

This is especially annoying on Priceline where resort fees that may apply aren’t included because you don’t know what hotel you’re getting in advance and thus can’t choose to pick a hotel without a fee. Once you’re prepaid you learn about the fee and your booking is nonrefundable, so you’re stuck paying hte resort fee or forfeiting your prepaid reservation. The only solution is to be savvy, know where a resort fee could apply, and choose to avoid Priceline if the resort fee makes a difference.

Some hotels at least try to keep up the pretense that the fee ‘buys you something’ such as parking or free internet or ‘use of the pool’. But of course some hotels throw those things into the room rate anyway. Since when was use of a hotel’s pool not paid for simply by being a registered guest at the hotel?

I think I’ve now seen the most egregiously silly example, though, of a resort fee. This Flyertalk thread reports on a $5.50 a night resort fee at a $36/night Rodeway Inn.  Truly the end of the world is nigh?

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, 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. I’m a bit surprised that Priceline has tolerated the resort fee thing for all these years. Seems pretty obvious that the rate should get baked into your total bid price — or at least you should be given an option to decline the purchase before it is finalized.

    I guess they feel they make more money if you don’t know about the fee. It’s a real liability to those hotels that don’t play the game. One resort can get easily underbid by another that then tacks on a $20 fee.

    Surprised we haven’t heard of any legal challenges.

  2. One of my favorites is the $6.95/day “resort fee” at the Country Inn & Suites In Natchez, MS. Even the (non management) employees are red-faced about this one. I complained to the Carlson Group management and they e-mailed me back that because they are a “franchise”, they can set their own pricing policies and there is nothing that they can do about it. Well, there is something I can do about it, which is refuse to stay there (and I did just that).

  3. How can Priceline legally do this? Looks like some lawyer will have a field day with it.

  4. Uh, that’s thread is 6 years old. It may or may not be current (probably not, as it appears that it was a TAX mislabeled as a fee).

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