According to the Pennsylvania Attorney-General’s office, Marriott International has become the first large hotel company to commit to upfront disclosure of resort fees.
The Maryland-based hospitality company has committed to show the sum of its room rates and all mandatory fees – including resort fees – on the first page of its booking website after reaching a settlement with the attorney general’s office on Wednesday. Changes are set to be implemented within the next nine months.
“Hotels shouldn’t be able to slap hidden fees on top of your bill at the last minute, and thanks to this settlement we’re putting the hotel industry on notice to put an end to this deceptive practice,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a Wednesday statement.
How much are resort fees?
Resort fees – also referred to as “destination fees” or “amenity fees” – have become a common practice among hotel operators over the past two decades. They have also been a nuisance fortravelers and received backlash from government officials and consumer advocacy groups.
The fees are often not included in a hotel’s advertised rate, and opponents argue that they mislead guests since they are only revealed as customers go through the buying process.
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The fee, which can be upwards of $40 in major markets, is said to cover additional services such as Wi-Fi, parking or pool and gym access. While many resort amenities were available before the pandemic, they did not come with additional fees.
Marriott’s shift comes after lawsuit filings revealed it made roughly $17 million from resort fees in 2019, the year the District of Columbia Attorney General sued the company for its resort fee practices.
The majority of travelers ‘willFinally, we can see the change.
Marriott said Wednesday that its resort and destination fees have “long been” separately and clearly stated, and its agreement with the state of Pennsylvania “further enhances the way resort/destination fees are fully disclosed on our U.S. channels.”
The company will be working “over the next several months” to update the way it displays room rates.
Travelers United is a non-profit travel advocacy organization that released a statement on Friday applauding the settlement.
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“American consumers will finally see a change in the way hotel prices are displayed after the Pennsylvania Attorney General took a stand on behalf of American consumers,” Lauren Wolfe, Travelers United Counsel, said in the statement.
Travelers United stated that it hopes other hotels would follow their lead.
MGM Resorts International International filed an earlier lawsuit against the group for resort fees use. A lawsuit against Hilton is still pending in Nebraska by Doug Peterson.
Shapiro indicated that mandatory resort fees will soon be combined with room rates as a standard practice.
“Marriott has stepped up to commit itself to fix this practice and we expect more hotel chains to follow suit,” Shapiro said.
Follow Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY’s reporter on Twitter @bailey_schulz.