There’s no doubt resort fees are quite annoying. Uninitiated Vegas visitors may be surprised by some of the fees tacked on to their room rates. Most of us educated consumers know to look for these fees in the small print when doing our comparison shopping. No one likes to pay the charges. Some have even taken to suing over the alleged “unfairness”. I reached out to the Nevada Attorney General and their response confirms what we already know:
“There are no deceptive trade laws that prohibit the charging of a resort fee “per se”. Technically, if they fail to disclose that there will be a resort fee at the time of purchase, then that could be a deceptive trade law violation.”
Obviously, it’s not just the Attorney General who is concerned. Us consumers and the FTC are hoping for a resolution, if not, an outright end to the resort fee mania. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez has recently reached out to congress to enact legislation to wrangle the fees and induce more transparency. Good luck with that, Edith.
But that’s not the point of this article. Resort fees are here to stay. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that resort fees are wiped away. Congress magically, through all odds, gets off their keisters and enacts consumer protection legislation ostensibly making the charging of “resort fees” illegal and punishable by death. Would we really no longer be paying that fee?
No. It’s important to know that this fee, let’s use $30 as our arbitrary number, didn’t really come out of nowhere. The resort fee mania started as a way for hotels to be more competitive with online booking agents. By charging a $30 fee, they can lower the base rate of their nightly per room cost online. If the average nightly room rate hovered around $100 normally, the hotel now appears to be 30% cheaper. This makes it tough for non-resort fee charging hotels to remain competitive in the online space. Thus, most companies chose to hop on board.
So, if resort fees were suddenly deemed illegal, our $70 base rate + $30 resort fee hotel would now have a choice to make. Do we really think they’ll simply continue charging only $70 per room per night? Not a chance. No Vegas resort will simply acquiesce and accept a 30% revenue drop per room simply because of legislation. The choice is not a solitary one. Every other company will be disallowed from charging extra fees. All the base rates will go up accordingly. In our case, the hotel will, of course, drop the resort fee and make the base rate $100. All the resort fee represents is a transfer of when and how the money is charged, not if.
In reality, if resort fees are abolished, likely nothing will change. Us low rollers will still pay the same amount per room. I know people who regularly earn comps complain that, at times, they now have to pay the resort fee for their room. Abolishing the fee won’t likely change much for those players either. Casinos will then limit the amount or frequency of the offers to accommodate the change. I know it feels like Vegas has been nickel and diming us recently. There are certain instances in which that may very well be the case. But you and I know that the casinos are going to get their money from us, what a lot of us tend to get upset by are the labels.