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Marriott deal: Resort fees up front

 

In what may herald a big change in hotel industry pricing, Marriott has signed off on a deal with the Pennsylvania Attorney General to disclose its resort fees upfront, as part of the total price, on the first page of all documents.

The 'resort' and 'destination' fees, which hotels have taken to adding on after the sale and which can sometimes double the room price, have come under fire from consumer groups and Congressmembers, with so far little effect.

The Marriott agreement, which settles a lawsuit by the Attorney General, is to be phased in over the next three months. The AG, Josh Shapiro, said in a statement that “Hotels shouldn’t be able to slap hidden fees on top of your bill at the last minute, and thanks to this settlement we’re putting the hotel industry on notice to put an end to this deceptive practice.

A similar lawsuit is pending in Nebraska, where Attorney General Doug Peterson sued Hilton in 2019, and there is also a case filed by Travelers United involving MGM Resorts International.

With the Marriott settlement as a precedent, it is likely that 'hidden' resort fees will disappear from other chains as well, either by further legal actions or industry changes.

A remaining question: Since the purpose of the fees was to collect additional revenue without making hotel rates seem high, listing them upfront as part of the total defeats their purpose. Will they now disappear and be replaced by higher room rates?

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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