Hotels frequent charge ‘resort fees’. This is a deceptive marketing practice. It’s a non-optional charge, in other words it is part of the room rate. The hotel quotes you one price but actually charges you another. But it’s common practice in the industry and despite occasional noises from the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general little is done about it.
Even honest hoteliers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they add the fee they’re being underhanded. If they don’t add the fee they are at a disadvantage relative to competitors who hide part of the rate (since their hotel would look more expensive when customers compare). Most say they wish that resort fees didn’t exist, but since they do they have no choice.
What’s truly deserving of derision is a hotel that introduces a new kind of resort fee into a market where they didn’t previously exist. So the title for either the dumbest fee, or the most underhanded management, goes to the Hilton New York (formally now ‘New York Hilton Midtown’, renamed in 2013 on its 50th anniversary).
They can’t really call the Hilton New York a resort. So they have an “Urban Destination Charge.”
Urban Destination Charge with premium guest internet access (3 devices); $15 beverage credit in Lobby Lounge or Bridges Bar; $10 food credit in Herb N’ Kitchen (grab and go only); local and toll-free calls.
You get premium internet, of course elites get this anyway (and elites don’t get the charge waived). Plus free and local calls for people who don’t travel with their cell phone.
The $15 beverage credit in the lobby lounge is more or less a come on to get you to drink in the lounge, I check into plenty of hotels that offer a free appetizer or dessert with dinner or a free cocktail to get you spending money. I love that the $10 food credit in the place that replaced the hotel’s room service specifies that it can only be used for grab and go, heaven forbid you should eat there when spending your credit as a guest of the hotel.
And by the way the food and beverage credit is reportedly once per stay and not a daily credit.
Here’s the thing. The New York Hilton Midtown is the largest hotel in New York with over 2000 rooms. This isn’t a rogue franchise sticking it to guests. This is Hilton itself. Hilton says that the lyrics to John Lennon’s Imagine were composed here. This hotel was a leader in the elimination of room service. Apparently Hilton uses the property to imagine ways to squeeze the guest.
Resorts have resort charges. Now urban destinations have urban destination charges. Soon La Quinta’s will have Dennys surcharges. They might as well just call it “YQ” when fuel prices went down and it no longer made sense for airlines to have fuel surcharges they started calling the fees “carrier-imposed surcharges,” they stopped pretending the fees were for anything and describe simply who insists on being paid.
Your rate is no longer your rate, since it doesn’t capture the hotel-imposed surcharges.
(HT: Neil E.)