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Hotel resort fees are the bane of my (travel) existence, right up there with airline “fuel” surcharges on award tickets.  There are few things more irritating than thinking that you have a free or cheap room, only to find that you’re getting charged anywhere from $5 to $30 extra (or more!) per night (or sometimes per person!).  This is right up with hotel “city taxes” that sometimes get charged (very sporadically)

(SEE ALSO: Hotel city tax: legitimate expense or extortion attempt?)

Trying to answer why do hotels charge resort fees

I read an interesting article over on Quora trying to answer this same question.  The answer was penned by Lauren Wolfe, who markets herself as the Founder and CEO of Kill Resort Fees, a website whose intent is to (wait for it) kill resort fees.

Lauren lists a few reasons why hotels charge resort fees, which mostly have to do with making sure they make more money (of course!).  Much of it has to do with the relationship that hotels have with OTAs like Orbitz or Expedia – by charging the resort fee the hotel can get a higher percentage of the daily rate.

Some of the excuses why hotels charge resort fees

I loved Lauren’s examples of some of the excuses that hotels give as to why hotels charge resort fees, like the increasing cost of some of the hotel facilities, with the money quote of  “…one has to wonder what the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Hotel in Hawaii, is doing charging $1,530 per night as their advertised room rate yet what on earth is not covered that the hotel still has an additional mandatory resort fee of $31.41 per night.”


If hotel resort fees were really about the facilities like the swimming pool or fitness center, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that you should get a refund if you didn’t use those?  Of course that never flies, because it’s basically just a hotel money grab (like airline fuel surcharges)

The entire article about why do hotels charge resort fees is a great (and very in-depth!) read.  I think most people would agree that hotel resort fees are annoying, very anti-consumer, borderline deceptive (very hard to find them disclosed on most hotel sites), and I’m sure the only reason Congress hasn’t made them illegal is that there are very powerful hotel lobbying groups.

What’s your take on why hotels charge resort fees and whether or not they should?

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