You Must Have Been Really Bad To Hotel Workers Because Marriott LAX Raised Their ‘Worker Protection Surcharge’ 29%

In the fall two Marriott hotels near Los Angeles International Airport started charging an add-on fee for protecting employees.

The LA City Council started requiring hotels to provide employees with panic buttons for their safety at work, mostly in case they’re attacked by a guest. So these hotels are literally charging you a fee to protect workers from you.

  • The Marriott LAX and Renaissance LAX 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.

When the Marriott LAX rolled out this extra charge it was $10.72 per night. Two months later they’ve already increased the fee to $13.87 per night – a 29% increase. (HT: Howard F)

Please note – A daily Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance Costs Surcharge-local fee of USD 13.87 plus taxes will be added to the room rate.

At 1004 rooms, this hotel has the potential to generate $5,082,800 per year with their new Worker Protection charge. They aren’t required to spend the money on worker protection (indeed they won’t). Even at 80% occupancy that’s $4 million a year, most of which goes to the hotel’s bottom-line.

Why does Marriott allow this? I suspect that this fee isn’t actually permitted under Marriott’s rules (whether or not they’re enforced). To charge a resort or destination fee a Marriott hotel must:

  1. 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.”

  2. Pay an an application fee to Marriott (e.g. $1500 plus $550 per year after approval).

If Marriott’s restrictions has any meaning, a hotel can’t just call an add-on fee something else.

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 »

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Comments

  1. Gary – curious if you know who owns these 2 hotels (which as you know are very close to each other). My guess is same owner and doesn’t own any of the other Marriott hotels near LAX since they don’t have a similar fee. I mean if really needed you would think the Westin nearby would also charge it.

    However, as you noted, it is simply a money grab. I always liked the LAX airport Marriott due to the lounge (which may not even be open) but will look for other options next trip to So Cal

  2. This strikes me as false and deceptive. If a fee is for workers but doesn’t actually go to workers, there could conceivably be a cause of action. It’s really no different, at least in my mind, than wage theft when a hotel collects a “mandatory service fee” but doesn’t turnover the service fee to workers.

  3. betcha this is a byproduct of LA hotels having to house the homeless which do not have the same levels of behavior as traditional paying customers.
    The city, of course, doesn’t pay the charge.

  4. It appears as if both the Renaissance and Marriott are, in fact, managed by Marriott International.

  5. I had heard the LAX-area hotels were prime assets for temporary homeless housing. City of LA may be forcing some of this on them – and presumably below market compensation for rooms plud impact to paying customers. So this a presumably a way to get compensation.

    Marriott probably assumes all.other local hotels will follow suit. Like cable companies, they will then depict this as a mandatory city fee.

  6. I just looked up LAX Renaissance for 2 dates – one $155 base rate, the other $254. Both had the same $8.70 unspecified ‘local fee’.

    1/30:
    155.00 rate AAA Hot Deal
    8.70 local fee
    26.57 est taxes and fees

    1/26:
    254.00 standard rate
    8.70 local fee
    42.41 es taxes and fees

    But for the Courtyard LAX:
    1/26
    206.00 AAA rate
    11.72 local fee
    35.27 est taxes and fees

    So perhaps this local fee is not this new ‘safety’ fee? I have had stays where the app does not have the latest fees – generally local taxes and fees.

  7. Marriott knows people will keep staying at their properties, keep paying ridiculous annual credit card fees for the chance at a free bottle of water, keep collecting their constantly devaluing points, and bloggers will write nice stories about them for a few bucks. They laugh about it all the time. Their shareholders do too. There are no repercussions for their bad behavior, so they will keep doing it. Period.

    So pay the fee and gnash your teeth. You know you’ll be back.

  8. “A daily Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance Costs Surcharge-local fee of USD 13.87 plus taxes will be added to the room rate.”

    and there are taxes on the fee?

  9. The Marriott LAX sucks and doesn’t even care about customer safety, let alone worker safety. Last year, a co-worker was followed to her room from the bar and assaulted in the hallway outside of her room by someone else staying at the hotel, and all the hotel was willing to do was relocate the co-worker. They wouldn’t even cooperate with police on reviewing surveillance footage despite the person being identified as an executive at another concurrent conference at the facility. They knew who the person was and refused to take any action at all. Didn’t even ask the person to leave.

    It’s a garbage hotel run by garbage people and I hope it burns down

  10. I am trying to figure what employees i am lifetime with Marriott, and even with a three night stay even if I request maid service nothing had an issue with a TV in another location and said you will have to move if you want to watch tv because we do not have any maintance folks right now!! The franchises are just making as much as they can now because with the rates and the continued increase in travel they will once again be poor me!! no wants to stay in hotels
    of course the employees they do have are not trained on customer service
    Certainly can understand why we are so frustrated when traveling.

  11. Are these “worker protection surcharges” a LA or California phenomena? Or are they elsewhere? It would be interesting to “out” the jurisdictions who allow this thievery and the hotels that engage in such deception. Customers can then decide where to NOT spend their money.

  12. Another reason why i do not stay at Marriott properties..the arrogance of their CEO to allow their property members to screw their guest is simply pathetic. As you mentioned it all started with the disgeaceful was in which Starwood Members were treated. As a Lifetime Gold member i am not appreciated for my loyalty much less respected

  13. boycott them so they can go bankrupt & get gov subsidies. what a country for illegal aliens, homeless and businesses

  14. Just stayed at the Renaissance LAX on points a week ago…even with reward redemption they charge you this fee.

  15. I just stayed at a Courtyard in Monterey Park on Saturday (same city) and was charged $161 for the room, $19.32 for CA occupancy sales tax and $0.31 for CA/Local Tourism Fee. Not a bad deal.

  16. When can we have law to require hotel show all fees on booking. It make no sense to tell you the price after you purchased the merchandise or service. Last month, in a restaurant I was charged 4% employee wellness fee or some crap like that. This should also be listed on the menu. Nowadays people just charge you whatever they want in all sorts of names. This has to stop.

  17. Could this fee possibly be to cover the housekeeper max sq footage one can clean with-out paying double time wage? The part of the worker protection ordinance pasted last august which this article has ignored to mention. Hmmmm

  18. It’s not just Marriott hotels that are doing this. Reality is that the local government is at fault on this one. It’s a BS tax and AKM above notes it correctly.

    Sad to say, it’s the municipality taking a buck, not the hotels.

    Same as when you rent cars in NJ, oppressive taxes in place that hurt the customers.

    I doubt people traveling to/Fr LA will change plans because of the taxes – but in reality, the city is overstepping here. Tourism brings in external dollars to the community – simple as that. Municipalities should be consumer (business) friendly while looking out for the employees.

  19. This article is borderline click-bait. The $13.87 is listed under the summary of charges when making a reservation, at least online; the article reads like it is a surprise charge that’s added to the final bill. I only look at the quoted total when making reservations, but perhaps that’s just me.

  20. 2 more Marriotts I won’t be visiting. This is also why I rarely dine in SF anymore. I won’t pay 5% garbage fees for “local mandates” on top of 20% tips.

  21. If I’ve said it once on here then I’ve said it two dozen times easy. I imagine at least 50% of you have a VPN.

    Login/ male your booking as if from the UK. No matter where in the world the hotel is we have laws that state the FULL price must be shown before you book. We don’t get charged these fees because they’re also deemed illegal charges in the UK.

    The only exception is Gov imposed taxes that are recorded as such ( including the full break down of said charge) and even they have to be shown, in full, before you book.

    The few bucks in conversion, if you don’t own a foreign transaction fee free card of course, is nothing compared to the ludicrous BS charges y’all seem to have swindled out of you.

  22. So they do nothing for guest security? If they can’t protect their employees what makes you think it’s a safe hotel to stay at?

    I will just not stay there and look for a better hotel to stay at. This is the best way to send a message to management!

  23. It is like the 2.5 %or higher that restaurants charge for employee healthcare ! Then they expect a tip of 20%. In hotels they want u to tip housekeeping also

  24. I believe this was an ordnance that was passed by the local gov that requires this. It’s not just CA… this is coming to Chicago, and other areas. It’s been talked about FOR YEARS as a way to protect housekeepers from assaults or worse. I can assure you this isn’t a Marriott thing. Marriott just might have implemented it first. – former hotelier and hotel owner.

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