- Colombia’s attorney general sued Marriott in 2019 for its use of the resort fee.
- Recently unsealed documents show Marriott makes millions from resort fees each year.
- According to the lawsuit, Marriott’s self-managed resorts make millions from resort fees.
Recently unsealed documents from District of Columbia Attorney General’s 2019 lawsuit against Marriott It is alleged that the company and its self-managed resorts earn tens of millions each year from resort fees.
Marriott itself – which operates and franchises Over 7,000 properties and 30 brands worldwide– Earned approximately $17 million from resort fees in 2019, according to a motion for summary judgment. The lawsuit says its self-managed resorts made $66 million in 2012, $82 million in 2013, and $58 million from half of 2014.
Resort fee, also known as “destination fee” or “convenience fee”,has become a common thing Among hotel operators since its inception in the late 1990s. Additional costs are said to cover additional services such as Wi-Fi, parking or pool and gym access – standard resort amenities that previously did not charge extra.
Fees can top $40 per night in major vacation destinations, including Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Florida, and the top fee hotel guests love to hate.
‘We wanted to make a profit’
court case, Initially filed in the summer of 2019 After an investigation conducted by all 50 state attorneys general, Marriott was accused of taking advantage of consumers by misleading them about room prices.
Marriott declined to comment.
Marriott and other hotel chains do not include mandatory resort fees in their advertised room rates; Additional charges only appear when customers go through the purchase process.
The lawsuit accuses Marriott of hiding fees “only to increase its profits.” Marriott’s longtime vice president for guest experience and room operations, Jeffrey Wolfe, said in his statement that Including resort fees in advance pricing will “put (Marriott) at a competitive disadvantage.”
“We wanted to make a profit,” Wolff said in a document. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is retired.
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The lawsuit’s filing highlights how lucrative resort fees can be, as they are not typically divided in companies’ filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Our complaint alleges bait-and-switch advertising and deceptive pricing practices, which are illegal,” Marisa Geller, press secretary for DC Attorney General Carl Racine’s office, said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re working to catch Marriott.” accountable and forces the company to change its practices so that consumers know the price they are paying.”
Guest disappointed by ‘lack of transparency’
Other hotel chains have come under fire in recent years for their use of resort fees.
federal trade commission Warned 22 hotels – including Marriott – in 2012 That resort fees may violate the law by misrepresenting hotel room costs and encouraged hotels to review price lists on their websites.
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson Case filed against Hilton For use of resort fee in 2019. MGM Resorts International, which operates hotel-casinos along the Las Vegas Strip, The lawsuit was filed by Travelers United, a non-profit travel advocacy group, earlier this year for the use of resort fees.
Marriott obtained market research in December 2015 that showed guests’ number one complaint with resort fees was a “lack of transparency,” according to the lawsuit it filed. An audit of the company’s hotels that year found that resort fees were not disclosed at the time of reservation 33% of the time.
The attorney general’s lawsuit reads, “The price that Marriott previously advertises on its website and (online travel agencies) websites is misleading, as no consumer can actually reserve a room for that price.”
The research also found that 80% of customers wanted hotels to be as transparent as airlines with fee disclosure. Airlines must disclose revenue from baggage fees and cancellation or change fees to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and carriers publish those figures quarterly.
Contribution: Don Gilbertson, USA Today. Follow USA Today reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @baley_schulz.