If you have taken an airline flight lately, you'll quickly note that the price you paid for the airline ticket is really more than it should have been; several charges were added that were not explained upfront. “Passenger Facility Charges”, “Fuel Surcharges”, three or four other “Taxes”, service charges all add up to your final payment. The problem is that the airlines keep looking for other ways to implement additional charges without the consumer knowing about it.
The hotels are doing the same thing with what they have termed “resort charges”. These are daily charges that are added to your room and payment is required upon check-out. When you were shopping for the “best” hotel, which translates to, the “least expensive” hotel, these “resort charges” were not revealed. They really started cropping up about 2-3 years ago, especially in Las Vegas and Hawaii, and now really all over the United States. Interestingly enough, these fees are what the cruise lines call “non-commissionable” fees, so they don't have to account for commissions to the travel agents who recommended and booked the reservation.
When asked what benefits were received as a result of having to pay a resort fee, the explanation is usually that it pays for the use of the phone in the room (who nowadays uses the phone in a room?), it covers free internet, daily newspaper, parking (even if you didn't have a car), free in-room coffee, or a pool umbrella (which they never used). If one has to pay a daily resort fee, all those services are not “free”, as they like to proclaim!!
The Travel Trouble Shooter who has a weekly column in the Dallas Morning News, Christopher Elliott, indicated recently that the average resort fee in the United States is $17.30 per night. Note that is average. I've recently booked a resort hotel in Hawaii where the resort fee was $40 a night, that's the high end, but Mr. Elliott also said that properties adding fees to their billing in 2015 increased 25% when compared to the year before.
The secret when shopping is to remember that the rate you are finding might be too good to be true. You have to dig a little deeper nowadays to make sure the overall charge for a night's stay is what you expect it to be when you booked it.
Most travel agents are aware of the additional fees and inquire about them when booking a hotel for our clients. We often have to read the very small print in the hotel description, but it is important that we reveal all that we know about the charges to our clients. The problem is that sometimes that important information is not disclosed until check-out time.
Our encouragement is that if you are shopping for hotels on the internet or on the phone, be wary of the rate that sounds too good to be true. Ask questions before you commit.
Another good way to be confident is to consult your experienced travel agents at The Travel Factory. We have your interests at heart, so give us a call anytime at 698-1421 or 800-760-4040. A face-to-face visit is preferable, and we are at 4150 Southwest Drive, Ste. 120, Abilene, TX, in the Plaza at Park Central between Rosa's and Chick-Fil-A.