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Congress to Examine 'Most Hated Fee in Travel'

Maybe you've encountered them: resort fees
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2019 10:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – The hotel industry may have to open up about its pricing if a new bill turns into law, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Hotel Advertising Transparency Act of 2019—introduced by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb, and Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas—would make it illegal for hotels and other accommodation providers to advertise room rates without showing all mandatory fees, excluding taxes. The bill is designed to outlaw so-called "resort fees" that hotels and resorts often hide from travelers looking online for a place to stay. If it passes, the bill would allow the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to enforce the law of hotel price advertising.

"It is projected that in 2019, over three billion dollars in revenue alone will be collected from consumers due to these hidden fees," says Rep. Johnson. "Consumers should be able to enjoy their vacation without being ripped off and financially burdened." The bill follows two lawsuits by attorneys general—in Nebraska, against Hilton, and the District of Columbia, against Marriott—over the hidden fees. A rising wave of consumer outrage led the counsel for a consumer advocacy group to call resort fees "the most hated fee in travel." Hotels say the fees are needed to cover services and amenities like bottled water, the daily newspaper, fitness and pool room, Wi-Fi, and so on. The daily fee is typically $20 to $40 and goes as high as $45 at luxury properties on the Las Vegas Strip, per Casino.org. (Read more hotel industry stories.)

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