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In an agreement with the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Marriott will now include its resort fees in all published pricing of its room rates, a departure from the previous practice where room rates would be displayed without the addition of resort fees.
What Are Resort Fees?
Resort fees, sometimes known as destination fees or amenity fees or similar, are additional charges from hotels, typically in busy city or resort environments, that may include Wi-Fi, beach chair rentals, complimentary classes, food and beverage credits, and more. These fees often include products and services that were previously included under the base room rate, and the practice has been disputed throughout the hotel industry for the past number of years.
Why Are Resort Fees Included Separately?
When hotel brands publish their room rates on major online travel agency websites, such as Kayak or Travelocity, they publish just the price of the room. When they include resort fees separately, they not only make the money from those fees, but they also appear cheaper than other hotels in the search process who may include all fees up front.
Under the new agreement, Marriott’s total pricing will now be disclosed upfront.
Impacts on the Hotel Industry
There are likely several impacts on the hotel industry because of this ruling:
- When Marriott includes its full pricing upfront, if other brands aren’t forced to do so soon, there will be a disparity in pricing, and other brands may be able to capitalize on their lower pricing (or appearance thereof).
- Consumers (and business travelers) know the market for hotel rates, and combined with the resort fees, sometimes a room’s price, when displayed in total, may not truly match the market it is in. We may see hotel rates “settle” because of this.
It’s important to note that Marriott isn’t admitting any wrongdoing by changing the way it displays these fees. While the Attorney General notes the practice as deceptive, Marriott will be adjusting its processes to provide more transparency, not necessarily because of any charges or legal findings.
It’s certainly a win for consumers to have all pricing included upfront, and we’re likely to see more brands do this over the coming years, as there are many groups pushing for similar changes across the industry.
Marriott will need to display its total pricing upfront moving forward, a move that will likely rock hotel booking and marketing practices for years to come.
Featured Image Credit: Marriott
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