Can you make the resort fees a little more resort-y?
 
Can you make the resort fees a little more resort-y?
11 OCTOBER 2019 7:24 AM

Love them or hate them, resort fees exist, but at least include more resort-like services and amenities as part of the fees.

I’m not going to tell you not to charge a resort fee at your property. If you want to charge it and your guests are willing to pay it, then there’s not much to say about it.

I will, however, ask you to try a little harder to justify the resort fee.

We’ve seen a lot of news coverage lately about the resort fees hotels charge. There are lawsuits in the works. Congress, if it ever takes up any legislative action, might consider making resort fees more transparent during the booking process.

The latest headlines are about Caesars Entertainment raising resort fees at some of its Las Vegas properties to bring them more in line with the competition. The increases are a few dollars more, bringing the totals up to nearly $40 a night at one property and more than $50 at another. Those resort fees, of course, are taxed, so the total cost to guests is more.

Again, if the resort fees are clearly shared during the booking process and guests are willing to pay it, that’s fine, I guess. My problem with them, at least at the moment, is that the resort fees don’t seem to cover all that much. In Caesars Entertainment’s case, the resort fees don’t seem to include anything all that … resort-y.

“There is a per night resort fee package which includes access for two each day to the Fitness Center at the property, in-room daily internet access for two devices, and all local phone calls,” the company’s website explains about resort fees. “The resort fee is incurred by all guests visiting our property whether the amenities are used or not. Additionally, if your room reservation has been comped, you will still be required to pay the resort fee. Reward Credits can be redeemed upon check-out for these charges.”

(This is a complete aside, but if you’re going to comp a guest’s stay, you’re still going to charge them a resort fee? I don’t know how I feel about that, even if you do give them some loyalty program points for it.)

Back to my main point. A resort fee that covers fitness center access, in-room daily internet for two devices and all local phone calls—those are all things non-resort hotels offer, most of the time without a resort fee. Also, how many calls are guests making with their in-room phones to require part of a fee to help cover their cost?

I don’t want to pick on Caesars too much here. It’s not the only hotel company out there who does this. There are hotels that are definitely not resorts that charge resort fees for all sorts of things that many guests would argue are normally covered by the regular rate at other hotels.

If you’re going to charge a resort fee, at least make the fee cover something that feels like an extra they wouldn’t get elsewhere so the guests at least better understand the value of what they’re paying for. They definitely don’t see that value when it covers all local calls.

What do you think about the services and amenities covered by resort fees? Do you think guests really see the value in those? Let me know in the comments below or reach out to me at bwroten@hotelnewsnow.com or @HNN_Bryan.

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