Every once in a while one of our owners or board members will suggest that we start charging a resort fee as a way to help cure our perennial budget challenges.
They’ll say, “Why not? Everyone else does it. I pay them wherever I go.”
“And how do you feel about that?”
“I hate it.”
“Okay, I think you’ve just answered your own question.”
There may be a million reasons why I’m glad to be working for an independent property, and especially one with a conscience. High among them is being able to tell prospective guests, to boast even, that we have NO RESORT FEES. Beyond that, we think those hidden charges are unfair and deceptive. Inevitably, whoever I’m talking to could not agree more.
When that owner or board member says, “What about the extra money that we could be getting?” I tell them that we’re already getting it. The “resort fee” – if that’s what they want to call it – is already included in our published room rate. If we thought our rooms were worth more and that our guests would pay more … we’d charge more, not tack on a fee that they won’t see until check-out. As it is, we work hard to price our rooms fairly, so guests feel they’re receiving good value.
Lately resort fees have been much in the news, with Christopher Elliott recently reporting in the Washington Post a rise in the first six months of 2016 to an average of nearly $20/night for the fees – with even the FTC reevaluating the practice. But in a business based on service and goodwill, to us it’s always been kind of a no-brainer. It really comes down to a matter of short term versus long term strategy. Yes, people may pay that extra charge once, because they’ve had to pay it elsewhere. But they still hate it. In the long run, we’ll have more business if we’re transparent and above-board. We try to make all our decisions that way.
After all, in a business based on the guest experience, why would you want to have that final experience on checking out be one of feeling cheated?