There are few things that can make your vacation miserable than checking out of your hotel, and then being charged a resort fee.
The resort fees range from $20 to $50 and are usually per night. These fees can be used to cover things like snorkeling, yoga classes, and cucumber-infused water at some properties. Other properties have few resort-style amenities. It can be frustrating and wasteful to pay fees for menial amenities like a room phone.
The topic of resort fees has become a major issue in travel. They have become a hot topic in travel. President Joe Biden even referred to them in his 2023 State of the Union speech. He also highlighted his Junk Fee Prevention Act (proposed legislation) which would limit hidden fees across a few industries, including travel.
These fees include surprise surcharges that families pay to fly together, or fees to purchase tickets to concerts and sporting events. The proposed legislation also aims to eliminate hidden resort charges.
The worst thing about resort fees? Hotel guests can’t refuse to pay them. You cannot, for example, refuse to use the gym or pool if you don’t have to pay the fee.
Biden stated that surprise “resort fees” will be banned by hotels during his February 7 speech. These fees can run up to $90 per night in hotels that are not resorts span>
Although a $90 resort fee may seem extreme, it can still be a significant portion of your lodging budget. NerdWallet examined more than 100 U.S. hotels for January 2023 check in dates. The average resort fee was $42.41 per day. This represents 10.76% of total room cost at hotels that charge such fees.
What do Americans want to see when they pay lodging fees?
The Harris Poll conducted an online survey by NerdWallet to find out how Americans would prefer to see hotel fees when booking.
Of the Americans who intend to travel in 2023 and have ever looked for hotels/motels/resorts, 64% say they’d prefer to see one total combined price that includes all charges rolled into one, rather than a room rate plus separate fees.
According to a Federal Trade Commission 2017 report, resort fees are included in room rates. This would allow consumers to compare rooms at different hotels simply by viewing the page at the hotel websites. Consumers would need to add the resort fee to the room rate and keep track of the total for each hotel being considered .”
Meanwhile, 30% of 2023 travelers who’ve looked at hotels/motels/resorts prefer resort fees broken out from the room rate (7% say they weren’t sure how they prefer to see costs), according to the NerdWallet survey.
One generation is less opposed to lodging fees being separate line items. This is Generation Z, which refers to those between 18 and 26. Of 2023 travelers who have looked at hotels/motels/resorts, 39% of Gen Zers prefer to see fees separated out from the nightly rate, compared to just 29% of Generation Xers (ages 43-58) and 25% of baby boomers (ages 59-77).
So while the majority of Gen Z travelers still don’t like separate fees when looking for hotels/motels/resorts, they’re less likely to be bothered by it than some of their older counterparts.
Why are hotels charging resort fees?
Why do resort fees exist if most people don’t like them? There is no one reason for it, and different people will give you different reasons. Some resort operators believe that the fees encourage guests use their facilities, which can lead to a better vacation experience.
There is also drip pricing where companies only advertise a portion of a product’s cost and then reveal additional charges as the customer moves through the purchasing process. A lower base rate might allow a traveler to discover a hotel that they hadn’t considered. The price of a hotel could go up if the resort fee is included.
Hotels may be able to increase their profits by charging resort fees, but not necessarily charge more. Because resorts often pay travel agents commissions based on the nightly rate and not the total cost, this is why it’s possible for hotels to maximize profits without charging more.
“Hotels claim resort fees allow them to reduce the commissions paid online travel agents,” the FTC stated. This refers to how a lower nightly fee and resort fee reduces the amount the resort would pay to the travel agency.
For example, a $250 per night room without resort fees could be listed at $200/night with $50 resort fee. This would result in the same price to the buyer but allows the hotel to cut its commission to the travel agent.
How do travelers avoid resort fees?
You can let your money speak if you don’t have any points or status and are paying with cash. Surprisingly, there are many properties that don’t charge resort fees, even in areas like Las Vegas. Spend your money elsewhere instead.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet from Feb. 7-9, 2023 among 2,080 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,709 plan to vacation in 2023 and have looked at hotels/motels/resorts. A Bayesian credible interval is used to measure the sampling precision of Harris online surveys. The sample data for this study is within +/-2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence limit. Lauren Nash, [email protected] can provide more information about the survey methodology including subgroup sample sizes and weighting variables.