FTC Finally Addressing Resort Fees

The FTC is finally addressing the nature of Resort Fee pricing dripping.

The American Federal Trades Commission (FTC) has sent out a letter to 22 different hotel brands, informing them that the FTC is going to carry out exploratory research into the practice of charging Resort Fee’s to guests.

There are numerous articles floating around the web, news agencies, etc. Perhaps the most illuminating is from the FTC itself:

FTC staff has reviewed a number of online hotel reservation sites, and has confirmed that some hotels exclude resort fees from the quoted reservation price. Instead, the “total price” or “estimated price” quoted to consumers includes only the room rate and applicable taxes. At some of these sites, the applicable resort fee is listed nearby, but separate from, the quoted price.

While the initial number of 22 appears to be low, one must keep in mind that 22 is the number of brands. While a list has not been released, it’s safe to assume that a number of the 22 brands have a variety of hotels & sub-chains underneath their corporate umbrella.

Also, one would have to believe that, outside a large lobbying effort, that the letters should at minimum get the ball rolling towards a more transparent fee structure for hotel pricing, similar to that of baggage and the airline industry.

I say this due to the nature of the lobbying effort from the anti-Resort Fee side of the argument. An earlier letter to the FTC from the Consumer Travel Alliance purports that the hotel chains, by charging resort fees in the first place, has in-turn led to mis-informed total pricing from OTA (online travel agencies) such as Expedia, Priceline, Hotwire, etc. This in itself is an important note, as it automatically strips hotel chains from passing the buck to the OTA market.

Since this letter (11/28/12) there has been no public movement from popular resort fee destinations and hotels found in cities such as Las Vegas, Florida, Atlantic City, etc.

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