Campaign group Kill Resort Fees says that hotel resort fees, used to cover costs such as morning newspapers, pool entry or Wi-Fi, are mainly used in areas popular with foreign tourists. The website highlighted Fisher Island Club and Hotel, in Florida, for having one of the highest rates in the US, at $160.50 (£131.57). In 2015 resort fees earned the American hotel industry $2.5billion (£2.05bn).
“It’s this trend of nickel and diming consumers to death,” said Senator Claire McCaskill who launched a bid to legislate against the fees last year. “I don’t think it’s any of the government’s business what they charge for the rooms but I want the customers to know how much they are getting charged for their rooms.”
The US Federal Trade Commission has also put pressure on hotel operators to be more transparent about the cost of rooms.
But the problem also lies in how UK tour operators display the cost of holidays.
Virgin Holidays warns that resort fees are not included in the headline price, while Thomas Cook notes in the “Your Hotel” section of its website, the cost of the “compulsory resort fee” that must be paid locally. Thomson on its website promises to inform customers of charges paid locally before booking.
ABTA, the UK travel association, says the money is not included in tour operator prices as it is paid to the hotel directly.
“ABTA requires its members to provide their customers with clear information that this is an additional charge that they will have to pay whilst on holiday,” it said in a statement.
Virgin Holidays said it strives to be as open, transparent and honest with its customers as possible and mentions third party resort fees at many points in the booking process.
Campaigners say the fees are not only a burden on consumers but also a way for hotels to avoid paying tax as the money is counted separately to the overal tax made on room revenue