1
   

It's time for Congress to put an end to mandatory hotel resort fees.

 
 
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2018 12:19 am
SOME BACKGROUND INFO

Resort fees are a mandatory fee forced upon hotel customers. Hotels hope to gain as much money from guests as they can so they try to trick consumers into paying two room rates. One is the published rate, the other is called a "resort fee." Hotels force the guest to pay this extra rate, in addition to the room rate, before the guest is able to get the key to the room. Resort fees are the most common term used for this tactic. Others include facilities fee or a transaction fee. The rate is usually a set amount (ex: $30 extra dollars + tax per night) but the fee also shows up occasionally as a percentage (say an extra 15%) on top of the total hotel bill. Resort fees are a form of drip pricing that has long been verboten in other forms of travel. Hotel fees brought in 2.47 billion dollars for the hotel industry in 2015 according to Dr. Bjorn Hanson of New York University.

HISTORY

Specific fees have long been charged by hotels to gain access to items not covered by the advertised rate. Many hotels often had a pool and fitness center where guests could be charged $10 a day if they were interested in using the pool or gym. This allowed guests who just wanted to sleep at a hotel to simply pay the advertised rate yet it allowed a guest who wanted to hang out at the pool all day a simple extra cost of $10 a day to use the pool.

About ten years ago some enterprising hotels began to get imaginative about how they could earn more money yet stay competitive. A few hotels in touristy areas started to charge everyone for the pool, even if they had no intention of swimming in it. They called this extra $10 pool fee a "resort fee." It was intentionally left out of the total advertised price of the hotel to make it look like the hotel's price was less than it actually was. This allowed the hotel to get an extra $10 per day per room yet when customers called the hotel to see the price, the hotel would remain competitive as it was advertised for $10 less than it actually cost. Now everyone, resort loungers and business travelers, were forced to pay this fee. The fees started low, often at $10 per night. Then they started to creep up. When some hotels in an area started to take up this "resort fee" tactic, others joined as well as they too wanted to make it look like their hotel cost less than it actually did.

TECHNOLOGY

One of the greatest factors leading to the rise in creative pricing by hotels is the internet. As an ever increasing number of consumers turned to the internet and online booking deal sites to lock down their travel, hotels started to see a certain percentage of their revenues reduced. Prior to the internet, many people would simply call a hotel where they wanted to make a reservation. The hotel would get 100% of the cost of the reservation. A few customers might have gone to a travel agent. Travel agents generally took about 10 percent of a reservation. So hotels would still get 90% of the reservation cost.

Now, with the rise on online bookings hotels are scrambling to catch up. Online booking takes a much bigger commission than a travel agent ever did. Booking agents online (like Expedia, Priceline, Hotels Tonight, etc) typically take about 25% of the total cost of the reservation for a hotel. That means that hotels are scrambling to keep their margins up while online booking soars. Instead of coming up with their own technological solution, they are coming up with convoluted double pricing schemes.

Hotels argue that installing wireless internet has been expensive. Millennial customers report that after a clean bed their number one interest in a hotel is free access to high speed internet. So what is a hotel to do? Ten years ago many hotels charged specifically for internet. No one could access internet in a hotel without breaking out a credit card. Now to lure millennial consumers, many hotels no longer have a paywall blocking internet usage in a hotel. A guest can just open his laptop and log in. What hotels do instead now is advertise online that there is free high speed wifi. What they do not advertise is that the wifi is allegedly covered in a "resort fee" payable to the front desk at check in. So the internet is not free. Essentially resort fees are a conniving new way to charge for wireless internet. The paywall is now the front desk agent who hands you your keys.

WHY DO PEOPLE PUT UP WITH THIS ****?

Hotels make the bread and butter of their income through return customers. There are business travelers that spend hundreds of nights a year in hotels. Hotels need to earn those guests loyalty to continue a solid stream of income for the hotels. They do not need to bend over backwards to please tourists. Tourists are likely to visit a destination once in their lives. They are unlikely to ever come back and so the hotel has no interest in earning their loyalty. So they do not advertise the actual rate of the hotel online and load up the hotel fees in destinations like Orlando, Key West, Miami, Las Vegas, Aspen, Napa Valley and Hawaii. Hotels know they can take advantage of tourists who will visit this area once in their life and will never be back. Most Americans would consider themselves lucky to visit these places once in their life. Hotels know that and so they do not seem to mind double charging customers with a trick resort fee.

SO WHAT IS HAPPENING ABOUT THIS?

The Federal Trade Commission (the FTC) regulates deceptive and unfair pricing in the hotel industry. In 2012, the FTC warned 22 hotel operators that their online reservation sites "may be in violate the law by showing deceptively low estimate of what consumers can expect to pay for their hotel rooms." They specifically warned against drip pricing where, as the FTC says, "firms advertise only part of a product's price and reveal other charges as the customer goes through the buying process." Today most major hotels in tourist areas continue to use drip pricing to lure customers to book at their hotel. Today the advertised initial searchable hotel rate on Expedia or Hotels Tonight will does not include any forced resort fees. Those fees are only shown later on in the booking process, a form of drip pricing. The FTC can only act on the laws that Congress passes. The FTC might listen but they are not acting to conclusively eliminate drip pricing and deceptive fees across the country. For more info on that, watch this FTC panel on resort fees from June 12, 2015 (Morning Session, fun starts at 2:07). No enforcement action has been taken by the FTC regarding resort fees. No rules have been passed by the FTC protecting consumers from resort fees. The FTC advocates that people make sure they know about fees by calling their hotel before booking. Under their FTC travel tips section online, they say "If you're not sure whether a website is showing you the total price, call the hotel and ask about a 'resort fee' or any other mandatory charge." That would have been a great idea in 1957. According to research company Criteo's Travel Flash Report, 40% of American travel bookings were on mobile devices in 2014. Today people use their phone to find an app so that they can immediately book a room without talking to anyone. With resort fee pricing running rampant, people are unable to use these online booking agents (Expedia, Booking, Hotels Tonight, etc) to quickly and accurately find a hotel in their budget. It is time that America step up and offer fair hotel pricing online and on the phone. The White House's National Economic Council released a report on resort fees in December 2017 that said "such fees can be fraudulent or deceptive; at a minimum, they make prices unclear, hinder effective consumer decision making, and dull the competitive process." Since then, we have a new President. He and his administration are yet to issue a public statement on hotel resort fees. The current President charges hotel resort fees at three of his hotels totaling in $66,168 per day. Due to the fact that the President is currently profiting from resort fees, it is unlikely for his FTC to act on the issue.

Congress (save us!) has gotten involved to end this nonsense. Senator Claire McCaskill introduced a bill to end resort fees on February 25, 2016. This was a noble attempt but Congress would have to reintroduce this bill. We have faith but sure are not going to rely on the US Congress for action. In good news, 46 state Attorney Generals along with the AG of Washington, DC have joined suit to investigate resort fees. This is long multi-state litigation that could take years for results. Local and state governments have a unique new role to play in this matter. With little federal action likely in the next few years, they have the ability to ban hotel resort fees and empower themselves to collect all of the tax revenue they deserve.

WHAT DO CONSUMERS WANT?

Consumers want to be able to use mobile booking sites to quickly search for a book a hotel within their set budget. When opening the Booking.com app on a potential customer's phone, the traveler should be able to quickly search for all hotels in Las Vegas under $150 a night and book it. That initial rate of $150 should screen for all hotels under $150 including taxes and fees. Anything else is an inaccurate, unfair and deceptive search. Drip pricing and hotel fees do not allow Americans to use their true technological potential when booking hotels online. According to the Criteo Travel Flash Report, "mobile bookings are increasing at astonishing rates in every travel sector, with the exception of hotel reservations. That’s still the domain, for now, of desktops." When fine print is needed to figure out the price, guests are forced to use a totally separate form of technology to book hotels. American travelers deserve better.

http://killresortfees.com/thestory
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2018 12:41 am
@Real Music,
Well, I'll go so far as to agree they should be required to disclose any such fees when reservations are made, and in such a way as the charges are neither easily overlooked nor deceptive.
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2018 12:44 am
@roger,
Did you know that hotel resort fees use to be optional for the consumers?

Over the last decade or so, hotel resort fees have become mandatory.
Consumers are now being forced to pay hotel resort fees against their will.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2018 12:57 am
@Real Music,
I said that if the guests knew about the mandatory fee before making the reservation, in a clear and obvious way, I would have no problem. If you're looking for an argument, look elsewhere.

G'night
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2018 08:00 am
More regulations? No thanks. Use the free market to not use those hotels. If consumers stop going, they will fix their prices.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2018 08:13 am
@McGentrix,
McGentrix wrote:

More regulations? No thanks. Use the free market to not use those hotels. If consumers stop going, they will fix their prices.


The free market means you pay an agreed upon price for a service. The hotels are cheating the market. They get away with it because once you arrive it is too late to look for a competitive rate since you were deceived into thinking you already had one.

The consumer should pay the price that was agreed upon. If one side can change the agreement after the fact... the market isn't functioning as a free market.

Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2018 09:52 am
The Hotel Resort Fee

Quote:
Some places calculate it on gym or pool charges (whether or not the guest uses the facilities), forced gratuities, towel-cleaning expenses, or other items most people assume are included in the advertised rate. Other hotels don’t explain the basis for the charge at all.

https://www.consumer-action.org/alerts/articles/the_resort_fee
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2018 10:16 am
@maxdancona,
This falls into "there ought to be a law!" Lots of businesses charge hidden and disguised fees, airlines, banks, hotels, etc. They disclose them in the small print or in the terms of service. We don't need the government to run in every time someone is unhappy with a business. It would be great if everyone advertised all in fees, but businesses are not going to be interested in doing that.
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2018 10:18 am
Las Vegas Sands Resort Fees Jump to $45 a Day at Venetian and Palazzo, Joining Surcharge Bump Trend.

Published March 12, 2018
By Kevin Horridge
Quote:
Resort fees in Las Vegas keep going up and up, and Las Vegas Sands is the latest operator to jump on the raised surcharge bandwagon. At a $6 hike, from $39 to $45 a day at the company’s two chichi properties the Venetian and the Palazzo on the Strip, are operators just resorting to what seems like highway robbery of tourists these days?

On March 1, certain MGM Resorts and Station Casinos properties implemented higher resort fees, and last month, Caesars Entertainment announced fee hikes, which the company claims is to cover common amenities such as internet, local phone calls, and business and fitness center use.

When you consider that using a fitness center used to incur a per-diem charge, and that only a small fraction of guests actually set foot in one, you realize that the “resort fee” system is an ingenious way for hotels to simply make more money, without incurring any more costs.

At $45, the Venetian and Palazzo resort fee now has the dubious honor of being the highest on the Strip. However, the two properties have not followed the recent Las Vegas trend of charging for parking. Yet.

$39 seems to be the average resort fee for marquee properties. That’s the rate these days at both the Wynn and the Encore, Caesars Palace, the Bellagio, and MGM City Center nongaming resorts the Mandarin Oriental and Vdara.

Money for Nothing

Resort fees are about as popular as taxes, and in Las Vegas, guests are often stunned to see them added to their bills, particularly as the “amenities” included are basically cost-free to the casino.

The $45 at the Las Vegas Sands properties provides in-room Wi-Fi, boarding pass printing, unlimited local and toll-free calls, and access “to thousands of top newspapers and magazines” while using an app on the resort’s internet.

If you consider that probably 99 percent of guests have no need for a resort app when all the same information is on their own computers and mobile phones, and the other “costs” mentioned range from negligible to nonextistent for hotel operators, you can see who the winners are in the resort fee wars.

For a one-night stay in early April, The Venetian and Palazzo both quoted us the same room charge of $149.00. With taxes, that comes to $168.94. But the fine print under “total” reads, “Does not include resort fee of $45/night.” Meaning the true cost of that overnight stay is actually nearly 27 percent higher than quoted, at $213.94.

And Las Vegas regulars may be miffed to learn that resort fees don’t count towards most loyalty rewards programs. The only potentially excluded guests are, in fact, those who can afford it the most easily: rewards program members in the highest tiers. These high rollers typically see their resort fees waived, in a parallel move to parking fee structures these days.

During slow periods in Las Vegas, resort fees at lower-tier properties can be as much as the advertised room rate. For April 3-4 at the Tropicana, a room can be booked for $39. But the resort fee is $35, ballooning that seemingly good deal, with tax, to $83.90.

“In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an advisory on resort fees that concluded, “Separating mandatory resort fees from posted room rates without first disclosing the total price is likely to harm consumers.”

But advisories carry no legal weight, and the FTC adviso clearly has had no impact on the industry. All but four US states have the fees under legal scrutiny now, but Nevada has remained out of that fray.

Bad Timing

Free parking was a Las Vegas amenity afforded to guests for decades, but that began vanishing when MGM Resorts debuted rates for many of its garages in 2016. Paired with climbing resort fees, it now means that Strip casinos aren’t doing much to lure in bread-and-butter gamblers these days.

The parking and resort fee increases come just as the Las Vegas Strip is in the midst of financial drops that have followed the October 1 shooting that left 58 dead outside of Mandalay Bay. Compared to the same months in 2016, visitor volume was down 4.2 percent in October, 3.7 percent in November, and 2.5 percent in December. Even January began 2018 with a 3.3 percent loss.

https://www.casino.org/news/las-vegas-sands-resort-fees-jump-to-45-a-day-at-venetian-and-palazzo
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2018 10:25 am
@engineer,
The problem with hotels is that they have a semi-captive audience.

It is not a fair business practice if I plan a vacation and book a hotel with an expectation of the price I am going to pay, and then they raise the price when I arrive. If they do this when I buy a TV, I can then walk out (although it would waste my time).

Changing a hotel reservation is much more difficult. It likely makes economic sense for me to just pay the extra because the cost to change hotels at the last minute is high. It is a form of extortion (and yes, there ought to be a law against extortion).

I don't have a problem if the fees are listed up front.

I recently booked a room with Airbnb. They have a bunch of additional fees, cleaning fee, listing fee... it doesn't matter because they give me the final price which is the final price. I don't even pay any attention to what the fees are for.

Quote me a total price... and then stick to it. Regulating unfair business practices is a legitimate use of government power, and it is necessary for a functioning free market.
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2020 02:29 am
The end of ‘resort fees’ could be at hand


Published October 14, 2019


Quote:
Some federal lawmakers want to send hotel resort fees packing.

Democratic Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas and Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska recently introduced a bipartisan bill that would try to abolish resort fees as add-ons, and force hotels to include the full pretax cost of the room in their advertised rates.

“A record number of travelers were subjected to hidden fees charged by hotels, motels, and other places of accommodation,” Rep. Johnson said, citing people’s experiences this past summer, while introducing the bill. “Consumers deserve full transparency when making their travel plans. They should be able to enjoy their vacations without being ripped off and financially burdened with almost twice as much as the room that had been advertised,” she added.

Some economists and consumer advocates note that resort fees allow the hotels to grab your attention by offering deceptively low or “teaser” nightly rates. Secondly, they make it harder and more time consuming to shop around for deals: You may have to click through several web pages to find the true cost of each room. Thirdly, the inattentive traveler often misses them.

Resort fees are typically not optional. Mandatory hotel fees increased 11% over the 12 months to July 2018 and the number of hotels including such fees increased by 14% over the same period, according to data from ResortFeeChecker.com, a website that tracks these fees.

The industry’s trade group defended the fees. “When resort fees are applied, they are clearly and prominently displayed by hotel websites prior to the end of the booking process, in accordance with guidance issued by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission,” Brian Crawford, the association’s executive vice president of government affairs, commented in a printed statement.

“Hotels strive to create memorable experiences for all guests,” he said. “All online lodging advertisers, including third-party online travel agencies and short-term rental platforms, should be held to the same standards of transparency,” he added.

The American Gaming Association, which represents casinos, said the industry adheres to federal guidelines. “The Federal Trade Commission closely examined pricing disclosure practices in 2012 and issued thoughtful guidance that has benefited travelers, brought additional transparency to the marketplace, and has the full backing of the casino-resort industry,” said Chris Cylke, the senior vice president of government relations, in another written statement.

Members, he added, offer “prominent, clear, and repeated disclosure of resort fees throughout the booking process with all fees included in the total price.”

Don’t miss: Marriott facing lawsuit over ‘deceptive’ resort fees that allegedly harm consumers

Consumer advocates say resort fees are still unclear to many travelers. If, for example, a hotel room is advertised on a website for “$299 a night,” but there is a mandatory $50 “resort fee” in addition, they say the advertised rate should be $349.

A Saturday night at the famous Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas next month will cost $429, the hotel’s website says. That does not include a $51.02 resort fee, which would bring the actual cost to $536 a night. (MGM Resorts MGM, -3.45% , which owns the hotel, declined to comment.)

The InterContinential New York Barclay in Manhattan charges a $34.43 resort fee on top of its nightly rate, which recently was $288. (IHG Hotels did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)

The hotel industry employs 221 lobbyists in Washington, according to the independent Center for Responsive Politics. In 2016, the last presidential election year, campaign donations from the hotel and casino industries ($26 million and $38 million, respectively) were about as much as the donations from defense contractors ($31 million). The lobbyists employed (221 and 299) compare with 625 lobbyists employed by defense contractors, and 205 employed by the airlines.

Last year, travel writer Christopher Elliott cited a report by ResortFeeChecker.com noting that resort fees appear to be more popular in some states.

“Florida is the unofficial home of the hotel resort fee, with the Sunshine State having the top two cities and four in the top 10. Las Vegas, Honolulu, and New York also have high resort fees,” he wrote. “The most dramatic growth of resort fees took place in the Big Apple, where the number of hotels doubled from last year.

“That kind of consumer deception, referred to as ’drip’ pricing, was nearly outlawed by the Federal Trade Commission a few years ago,” Elliott wrote. “Instead, the government backed down after the presidential election. Meanwhile, the Australian government took the lead in consumer-friendly pricing regulations, requiring that the price you’re quoted is the price you pay.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-end-of-resort-fees-could-be-at-hand-2019-10-08
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2020 02:50 am
Hotel Resort Fees are a scam

It's damn near exclusive to Las Vegas, but it's silly and pointless.
Resort fees require you to spend a lot more time price shopping
for your vacation room without adding anything of any actual value.

Published September 17, 2015

0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2020 11:36 pm
What is a Resort Fee and Do You Have to Pay It?


Quote:
What the heck is a resort fee, and is there any way to avoid paying it? I often get this question on my Las Vegas videos and wanted to make a video to explain what the heck this fee is. This fee comes in many different names, Resort fee, Destination fee, Urban Fee, Facility fee, Amenity Fee, Resort Charge, but it’s virtually the same thing.

It is a fee that is added by the hotel on top of the room rate and taxes. IT IS NOT A TAX.

Range from $20-$50, but can be up to $100/night. They can sometimes be more than the room cost, particularly in Las Vegas, where resort fees apply to all 62,000 hotel rooms on the Las Vegas Strip.

The hotels say these fees are typically to cover a bunch of things that used to be included for all guests… but somehow are now covered by this fee, like pool access, pool towels, your in room coffee pot, coffee to use in the pot, a bottle of water so you can make the coffee, wifi, gym access, massages, movie rentals, etc, etc.

These fees are particularly irritating because they are often not advertised clearly. During booking you typically see the room rate first, then later see it with the resort fee tacked on.

Consumer rights advocates call it drip pricing, one price is lured out to bring you in, then more fees are tacked on at the end. And it’s actually illegal in many countries including Australia, and countries in the EU. But the USA doesn’t have any laws against it.

It’s generally believed these fees originated in North America around 1997 when some resorts started adding mandatory fees regardless of which facilities were actually used by the guest.

It seems like every day there’s another hotel charging a resort fee… and now tons of places that aren’t even resorts… lots of hotels in New York, LA, that’s why they call it something else, like a destination fee.” There were 15 hotels in New York City with resort fees in 2016. In 2018 there are 84. Even The Days Inn in Miami Beach, and the Super 8 in Las Vegas charge resort fees.

The Life Hotel in New York City lists their fee as an "NYC mandatory City Hotel Fee." A resort fee is not a tax nor is it a mandatory city hotel fee.

I’m pretty sure all consumers hate these fees, including myself. So why do hotels do it?


1. So the hotel can get more revenue without increasing the room rate that gets ranked on search engines
2. So that they don’t have to pay as much commission to travel agents since travel agent commission is based on the room rate.
3. So that guests pay less taxes because the hotel occupancy tax often applies on the room rate

So that’s what I think.. But what do the hotels themselves why? An article in Fortune magazine quotes a few hotels on why they have resort fees:
The Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix says “Studies have proven that travelers prefer to book a lower room rate and pay the resort fee on top than to pay one bundled higher price”

The WaterColor Inn & Resort in Florida says: “By not including the resort fee, we’re able to break out all of the amenities the guest will receive with this fee – an explanation that may be missed if this fee was included within the total rate”

So why don’t search engines display the resort fee more prominently? If they do then their prices will seem higher than everybody elses.

But you know what? It’s backfiring… a recent article in Los Angeles Times suggests that Las Vegas’ recent decline in visitation has been due to resort fees and parking fees.

Some hotel rating systems, including AAA, have taken a policy of deducting points from a hotel being reviewed if they charge resort fees. AAA has said resort fees are a major annoyance of travelers


Published July 12, 2019


0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Mar, 2020 11:05 am
MGM Raises Mandatory Resort Fees to $45 per day!


Mandatory Resort fees are on the rise again in Las Vegas!
MGM has just announced that their resort fee is now $45 per night
at Bellagio, Aria and Vdara.


Published August 4, 2019


0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 May, 2020 08:01 pm
MGM Resorts unveils (free parking)
as it prepares for return of guests amid coronavirus



Published May 19, 2020


Quote:
LAS VEGAS – The pandemic may have forced a shutdown of the Strip – but it's also resurrected a relic of old Las Vegas: free parking.

MGM Resorts, operator of a dozen properties in this gambling and entertainment capital, announced Monday the return of the treasured amenity, reports the Reno Gazette Journal, which is a part of the USA TODAY Network.

“MGM Resorts is updating many of our offerings as we prepare to welcome guests back, and that includes implementing free parking," the company said in a statement.

A start date has not been disclosed. In the wake of COVID-19, MGM won't open all hotels at once, but rather start with two or three targeted at different traveler budgets.

The first two resorts that will reopen with free parking when shutdown orders are lifted? New York-New York Hotel & Casino, a midprice hotel on the south end of the Strip with a roller coaster, arcade and Irish pub, and Bellagio, the luxury mid-Strip resort that's home to the famous fountain show, high-end shops and restaurants, a conservatory and a museum.


Parking strategy swing


In 2016, a majority of casino companies started charging tourists to keep their cars in the parking garages of Strip properties, a move that raised concerns that free parking would soon fade away.

In 2019, after experimenting with a paid parking model, Wynn Resorts broke ranks with the bulk of hotel-casinos on the Strip and announced free self-parking would resume at its Wynn and Encore resorts.

MGM Resorts will soon join a small group of resort neighbors — Treasure Island, SLS Las Vegas, Wynn, Encore, Venetian and Palazzo — that offer free self-parking.

In an email, Caesars Entertainment declined to comment on whether the company would join the unfolding free parking trend.


Paid parking woes


Paid parking has been a center of frustration of tourists remembering the old days.

“The parking fees are a gigantic deal for everybody. They gripe all the time about things they don't like. They hate resort fees. They hate paid parking worse," Anthony Curtis, founder of LasVegasAdvisor.com, told the USA TODAY Network.

One solution to paid parking woes has been avoiding casino-resorts that charge for parking, according to a 2018 Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance survey.

Data revealed almost 37 percent of respondents avoid parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. About 7 percent said they visit the same hotel-casinos regardless of parking fee policies.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/hotels/2020/05/19/coronavirus-mgm-resorts-las-vegas-strip-free-parking-returns-reopening/5219025002/
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2021 09:24 am
H.R.4489 - Hotel Advertising Transparency Act of 2019

Introduced in House (09/25/2019)


116th CONGRESS
1st Session


Quote:
H. R. 4489

To prohibit unfair and deceptive advertising of rates for hotel rooms and other places of short-term lodging.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
September 25, 2019
Ms. Johnson of Texas (for herself, Mr. Fortenberry, and Ms. Bass) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

A BILL
To prohibit unfair and deceptive advertising of rates for hotel rooms and other places of short-term lodging.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Hotel Advertising Transparency Act of 2019”.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) As of the day before the date of the enactment of this Act, hotel rooms and other places of lodging are often advertised at a rate and later in the buying process mandatory fees are disclosed that were not included in the advertised room rate.

(2) The mandatory fees described in paragraph (1) are sometimes called by names such as “resort fees”, “cleaning fees”, or “facility fees” and they are all mandatory and charged by a place of short-term lodging in addition to advertised room rates.

(3) The number of short-term lodging facilities that charged mandatory resort fees is growing.

(4) Advertising that does not reflect the true mandatory cost of a stay at a place of short-term lodging is deceptive.

(5) The Federal Trade Commission has authority under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45) to regulate and prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.

(6) In 2012 and 2013, the Federal Trade Commission exercised its authority under that section 5 to issue warning letters to 35 hotel operators and 11 online travel agents. In those letters, the Commission cautioned hotel operators and online travel agents that mandatory resort fees could confuse consumers in violation of section 5(a)(2) of such Act (15 U.S.C. 45(a)(2)).

(7) In 2017, an economist at the Federal Trade Commission published an issue paper that found that forcing consumers to click through additional webpages to see a hotel’s resort fee increases the time spent searching and learning the hotel’s price, and went on to state the following: “Separating the room rate from the resort fee increases the cognitive costs of remembering the hotel’s price. When it becomes more costly to search and evaluate an additional hotel, a consumer’s choice is either to incur higher total search and cognitive costs or to make an incomplete, less informed decision that may result in a more costly room, or both.”

SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING OF HOTEL ROOM RATES.

(a) Prohibition.—No person with respect to whom the Federal Trade Commission is empowered under section 5(a)(2) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45(a)(2)) may advertise in interstate commerce a rate for a place of short-term lodging that does not include all required fees, excluding taxes and fees imposed by a government.

(b) Enforcement By Federal Trade Commission.—

(1) UNFAIR OR DECEPTIVE ACTS OR PRACTICES.—A violation of subsection (a) by a person subject to such subsection shall be treated as a violation of a rule defining an unfair or deceptive act or practice prescribed under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(a)(1)(B)).

(2) POWERS OF COMMISSION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The Federal Trade Commission shall enforce this section in the same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, powers, and duties as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) were incorporated into and made a part of this Act. Any person who violates this section shall be subject to the penalties and entitled to the privileges and immunities provided in the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.).

(B) RULEMAKING.—

(i) IN GENERAL.—The Commission may promulgate such rules as the Commission considers appropriate to enforce this section.

(ii) PROCEDURES.—The Commission shall carry out any rulemaking under clause (i) in accordance with section 553 of title 5, United States Code.

(c) Enforcement By States.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—In any case in which the attorney general of a State has reason to believe that an interest of the residents of the State has been or is threatened or adversely affected by the engagement of any person subject to subsection (a) in a practice that violates such subsection, the attorney general of the State may, as parens patriae, bring a civil action on behalf of the residents of the State in an appropriate district court of the United States to obtain appropriate relief.

(2) RIGHTS OF FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION.—

(A) NOTICE TO FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION.—

(i) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in clause (iii), the attorney general of a State shall notify the Commission in writing that the attorney general intends to bring a civil action under paragraph (1) before initiating the civil action against a person subject to subsection (a).

(ii) CONTENTS.—The notification required by clause (i) with respect to a civil action shall include a copy of the complaint to be filed to initiate the civil action.

(iii) EXCEPTION.—If it is not feasible for the attorney general of a State to provide the notification required by clause (i) before initiating a civil action under paragraph (1), the attorney general shall notify the Commission immediately upon instituting the civil action.

(B) INTERVENTION BY FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION.—The Commission may—

(i) intervene in any civil action brought by the attorney general of a State under paragraph (1) against a person described in such paragraph; and

(ii) upon intervening—

(I) be heard on all matters arising in the civil action; and

(II) file petitions for appeal of a decision in the civil action.

(3) INVESTIGATORY POWERS.—Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prevent the attorney general of a State from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general by the laws of the State to conduct investigations, to administer oaths or affirmations, or to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of documentary or other evidence.

(4) EFFECT ON STATE COURT PROCEEDINGS.—Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit an authorized State official from proceeding in State court on the basis of an alleged violation of any general civil or criminal statute of such State.

(5) COORDINATION WITH FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION.—If the Federal Trade Commission institutes a civil action or an administrative action with respect to a violation of subsection (a), the attorney general of a State shall coordinate with the Commission before bringing a civil action under paragraph (1) against any defendant named in the complaint of the Commission for the violation with respect to which the Commission instituted such action.

(6) VENUE; SERVICE OF PROCESS.—

(A) VENUE.—Any action brought under paragraph (1) may be brought in—

(i) the district court of the United States that meets applicable requirements relating to venue under section 1391 of title 28, United States Code; or

(ii) another court of competent jurisdiction.

(B) SERVICE OF PROCESS.—In an action brought under paragraph (1), process may be served in any district in which the defendant—

(i) is an inhabitant; or

(ii) may be found.

(7) ACTIONS BY OTHER STATE OFFICIALS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—In addition to civil actions brought by attorneys general under paragraph (1), any other officer of a State who is authorized by the State to do so may bring a civil action under paragraph (1), subject to the same requirements and limitations that apply under this subsection to civil actions brought by attorneys general.

(B) SAVINGS PROVISION.—Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prohibit an authorized official of a State from initiating or continuing any proceeding in a court of the State for a violation of any civil or criminal law of the State.

(d) Definitions.—As used in this Act—

(1) the term “place of short-term lodging” means a hotel, motel, inn, or other place of lodging that advertises at a rate that is a nightly, hourly, or weekly rate; and

(2) the term “State” includes any territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(e) Effective Date.—Subsection (a) shall take effect on the date that is 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act.


https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/4489/text?r=10&s=1
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2021 09:37 am
H.R. 4489 (116th):

Hotel Advertising Transparency Act of 2019




Quote:
Introduced Sep 25, 2019

116th Congress (2019–2021)

Status

Died in a previous Congress

This bill was introduced on September 25, 2019, in a previous session of Congress,
but it did not receive a vote.



https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr4489
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2021 10:23 am
Some economists and consumer advocates note that resort fees allow the hotels to grab your attention by offering deceptively low or “teaser” nightly rates.


Secondly, they make it harder and more time consuming to shop around for deals:


You may have to click through several web pages to find the true cost of each room.


Resort fees are typically not optional.
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2021 07:28 pm
Virgin Hotel will open with free parking, no resort fees


Published February 26, 2021


The Las Vegas’ newest resort-casino is set to open next month without one of the most contested charges among travelers: resort fees.

The off-Strip Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is set to open March 25 with no resort fees, complimentary self-parking and free Wi-Fi. Parking will be available at two parking garages located off Harmon Avenue and Paradise Road.

According to a Friday news release, this offering falls in line with the Virgin Hotels brand, which does not charge resort fees at any of its properties.

“We are so proud to be one of the first major casino-resorts in Las Vegas without a resort fee,” said Richard “Boz” Bosworth, President & CEO of JC Hospitality, which owns Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, in the release. “Beyond this, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will exceed expectations with valued amenities and added benefits.”

Once open, the property — formerly the Hard Rock Hotel before undergoing a $200 million renovation — will offer three hotel towers with more than 1,500 rooms, a 5-acre pool and entertainment complex and a 60,000-square-foot casino run by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment.



https://www.reviewjournal.com/business/casinos-gaming/virgin-hotel-will-open-with-free-parking-no-resort-fees-2289725/
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2021 07:32 pm
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas to open with no resort fees, free parking.


Feb 26, 2021


0 Replies
 
 

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