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Paying the Piper

Resort fees provide needed transparency

Paying the Piper

World-class hotels and resorts provide more than just luxurious rooms. They provide the amenities and services that make travel comfortable and memorable, with an attention to detail valued by busy and discerning guests.

Part of the guest service is providing a seamless experience, from the booking process through to checkout at the end of a stay. That’s why the casino industry fully embraced the Federal Trade Commission’s 2012 expert guidance on resort fees, which has benefited travelers and brought additional transparency to the marketplace.

The American Gaming Association’s (AGA) constant focus on customer service includes prominent, clear and repeated disclosure of resort fees throughout the booking process with all fees included in the total price at checkout. It’s in our best interest that customers know what they’re paying for upfront. And by bundling amenities like Wi-Fi, pool usage and gym access into one cost, resorts can provide the best value for guests.

In fact, consumers understand the value of resort fees to their experience. According to research from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), four out of five consumers, or 80 percent, say they’re willing to pay resort fees if the amenities are worth it. Further, guest satisfaction for resorts that charge resort fees is very high, with an average customer satisfaction rate of approximately 90 percent.

The Hotel Advertising Transparency Act, filed by United States Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska), would require any fees, aside from taxes, to be shown in the price of a hotel room advertised to consumers. While that may sound reasonable in theory, the proposed legislation is not only unwarranted, but would actually promote less transparency about the types and cost of amenities included in the cost of a customer’s stay.

According to AHLA, a strong majority (70 percent) of consumers have a positive perception of breaking out resort fees from the cost of the room, describing it as transparent, easier and direct. Moreover, current laws and regulations available to federal and state enforcement agencies already empower them to pursue any entities engaged in truly deceptive advertising practices.

Consumers have lodging choices. By choosing to stay at a property with a resort fee, they have signaled that the first-rate service and amenities made possible by such fees are an important differentiator. It’s a priority of the AGA to set the story straight on resort fees. That means standing behind our members’ track record of good-faith transparency and providing unparalleled guest experiences.

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