A few months ago, this blog noted the ill advised practice in the industry of tagging on surcharges and “fees” to the room bill. With summer travel upon us, the idea of extracting more from customers in the garb of something other than room rates is again the focus of customers’ ire as noted in USA Today’s travel column of yesterday. In this instance, it was resort fees (ostensibly for miniature golf and fitness center) that teed off a customer who had no intention of using the “amenities”. Adding insult to injury, the guest who had booked the room through Priceline was bounced between them and the resort with each blaming the other for inadequate disclosure.
Ultimately, whether they are for “resort amenities” or in-room safes, efforts to collect such fees will always be viewed by customers as a form of extortion if not outright gouging. Lodging establishments ought to know that having an a la carte pricing policy for “amenities” is different to mandating fees for items that aren’t amenities given the compulsory nature of fees. Even worse is the practice of not highlighting the additional charges and surprising the customer upon arrival. Hotels and resorts would do far better by having a composite rate.