Marriott will display resort fee upfront in online searches


It’s getting easier to quickly determine the true cost of a stay at hotels in the Marriott portfolio.

Earlier this month, the hotel giant is rolling out changes to its online booking platform, which will fold resort fees And the same add-on charges to the cost displayed when you first search for a property on the site. it’s a trick can help customers Sift through the often expensive (and sometimes confusing) web of fees that go into the final price.

The changes are expected to take effect by May 15. This means that the first price you see will be closer to the price you pay (excluding taxes). If your nightly rent is $200 and there is a $50 per night resort fee, Marriott will display $250 as the direct price.

The changes will apply to all properties across hotel brands with resort or destination fees, and will be visible across all of Marriott’s U.S. booking channels, including its website and mobile app, a spokesperson said via email.

Why is Marriott changing the way it displays prices?

Confirming the news, the company described the move as a step towards additional transparency.

“We expect to be the first hospitality company to transform our performance, leading the industry on this important issue,” Marriott said in an email.

In reality, however, Marriott was mandated to make the changes following a 2021 settlement agreement on the company’s “drip pricing” practices, as part of a court order involving the company and Pennsylvania.

“What we asked of Marriott, and what the settlement seeks, is simple: Be up front with consumers and don’t hide fees for hotel stays,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Michele Henry said in an April 2023 statement.

Marriott resort fees aren’t panning out

To be clear, Marriott’s changes will affect what you see when you first search for a hotel’s price—not what you end up paying.

Speaking to investors this month, Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano downplayed the scope of the changes, noting that the company has always disclosed all charges during the booking process.

“We’re just further clarifying and increasing that transparency,” Capuano said as part of the company’s first quarter.income call Noting, “It’s not that they’re [fees] Somehow they were hidden.

What Marriott’s new value display looks like

A quick check reveals that Marriott is already rolling out the change on its website.

A search for hotels in the US Virgin Islands turned up a cost of $484 per night at The Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef in St. Thomas. that price Includes $75-per-night resort fee, shown at the beginning of the search.

At around 15% of the base room rate, this is far from a modest add-on charge – a major reason guests, politicians and industry analysts have denounced these types of fees over the years, especially as they became more prevalent. Are.

“I absolutely oppose these fees,” says Arun Upneja, dean of the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration, whose work focuses on the hotel industry. “I think fees are great for hotels to increase revenue, but they are not good for consumers.”

Will other hotel brands follow suit?

While these changes by Marriott should make it easier to figure out the actual costs of a hotel stay, customers may need to dig beyond the room rate to avoid apples-and-oranges comparisons with other companies. Can those who do not choose. To disclose fees early in the process.

For example, a search for Hilton hotels in Mexico turns up, at first glance, the Waldorf Astoria Cancun at a rate of $480 per night.

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But when you click on “see rates” looking for more details, you’ll see that the hotel also plans to charge a 15% fee.

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Marriott’s sheer size could inspire change in other companies, Upneja says.

“Whatever they do, everyone else in the industry should be taking it seriously,” he says. “I sincerely hope that everyone will follow this model.”

A Hyatt spokesperson said in an email that the company is “watching the industry closely and actively seeking ways to provide even more transparency for our guests on rates, fees and inclusions.”

crusade against fees

Hotel fees have drawn anger from the Biden administration in large part campaign against junk fees in various industries.

“We will ban surprise resort fees that hotels add to your bill. These fees can cost you up to $90 per night at hotels that aren’t even resorts,” Biden said on February 9 as part of his 2023 State of the Union address.

For now, though, with any such restrictions, do a little research about the nightly rate and any other fees you may encounter — no matter the hotel brand — before wondering when your bill is due. can go a long way towards eliminating

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