Published on February 7th, 2018 | by William Charles83
Are We Going To Make A Stand Regarding ‘Destination Fees’?
If there is one thing that is almost universally hated, it’s resort fees. If you’ve ever stayed at a hotel in Las Vegas, chances are you’ve had to pay one of these fees. Despite these fees being mandatory, they are not listed in the original room rate when searching for hotels. Hotel chains have long claimed that they have to charge these resort fees to remain competitive (e.g if they don’t charge them their base rate will be higher then their competitors and they will lose out on bookings). The real reason chains charge these fees is that online travel agencies such as Hotels.com or Booking.com don’t receive a commission on resort fees. These commissions can often be significant, with anything from 15-25% being considered standard (although major chains are always in a constant battle to lower the commission they pay).
In recent times we’ve started to see these fees spread to non-resorts, we’ve linked to other sites coverage on this here and here. Because these properties aren’t resorts, hotels are instead calling them ‘urban destination fees’. I was shocked to see Lucky over at OMaaT suggest that he ‘sort of likes‘ one of these new charges because of the benefits it provides. Hotel chains aren’t stupid, of course they will do things such as provide outsized value when implementing these charges and then scale them back over time (among other tactics). Hotels already have the ability to offer packages such as the St. Regis is doing in New York, but this should never be a mandatory charge. I’m of the strong opinion that if a charge is mandatory, it should be included in the original price.
The biggest thing you can do as a consumer is to simply not stay at properties that charge these mandatory fees. If it’s unavoidable then you have a few options:
- Include the fact that there was a mandatory ‘destination’ or ‘resort’ fee in your online reviews and clearly list it as being a negative to your stay
- Directly contact the management of the hotel and hotel chain expressing your concern and displeasure at these fees being charged