Travel

Americans want mandatory fees included in hotel rates, survey finds

A national survey found that 80 percent of Americans believe that a hotel’s mandatory resort fees should be included in the advertised daily room rate.
A national survey found that 80 percent of Americans believe that a hotel’s mandatory resort fees should be included in the advertised daily room rate. AP

If you hate finding an unexpected resort fee added to your hotel bill at checkout, you are not alone.

A national survey found that 80 percent of Americans believe that mandatory resort fees should be included in the daily room rate that is advertised to potential guests.

The survey findings should be no surprise. Resort fees have become one of the biggest frustration for hotel guests, after expensive or unreliable Wi-Fi.

Undisclosed resort fees have become so prevalent that the Federal Trade Commission sent a letter to 22 hotel companies in 2012, warning that their online reservation sites “may violate the law by providing a deceptively low estimate of what consumers can expect to pay for their hotel rooms.”

But the agency has yet to take any action on the fees.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association defended the industry, saying hotels and resorts are “transparent” about mandatory fees. Besides, such fees are charged by only about 7 percent of hotels in the country, spokeswoman Rosanna Maietta said.

“Making sure guests have all the necessary information prior to booking their room is paramount,” she said.

Ranging from about $20 to more than $100 a night, resort fees are meant to cover hotel extras such as swimming pools, saunas or fitness centers. But guests are often charged the fees even if they don’t use those facilities.

“If the fee is required, it must be included in the nightly rate,” said Charlie Leocha, co-founder and chairman of Travelers United, the nonprofit group that commissioned the survey of 1,100 registered voters.

U.S. hotels are expected to collect a record $2.47 billion in resort fees and other surcharges this year, a 5 percent increase over the record $2.35 billion collected last year, according to an estimate by New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.

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