In separate, yet similar, emailed statements, Marriott and Hilton reiterated that resort fees are charged at an overall small percentage of their properties and that they are, in fact, disclosed during the booking process.
A bill pending in Congress (which Ms. Wolfe is advocating for as counsel for Travelers United, an industry nonprofit) could also help things.
“Consumers should not be financially burdened at the last second when planning a business trip or family vacation,” said Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas Democrat and one of the co-sponsors of the Hotel Advertising Transparency Act of 2019. “This bill does not direct hotels and short-term rentals to eliminate mandatory fees; instead, it requires that they be transparent and advertise the full pretax price.”
That would surely be an improvement. But I have other, more philosophical, issues with resort fees on their face. They often favor able-bodied young people — or anyone who can use gear like stand-up paddleboards. They tend to disadvantage parents with children too young for the kids’ club — as a mother of a toddler, I don’t have many extra vacation hours to devote to the ukulele lessons or mixology classes I’m supposedly paying for. I also bristle at dining credits like Edition’s — especially in New York, where there are a million other places to eat.
And c’mon, it’s 2020: Hotel Wi-Fi should be free.
The Dec. 29 edition of Tripped Up, about four ways to travel better in 2020, drew several reader stories about booking directly — or not. Kristin B. wrote, “My friend and I booked a hotel in Belize through an online travel agency. When we arrived, the hotel was nothing like the pictures. Not only was it shabby, but it didn’t feel safe. Bad service is one thing; safety is another. From now on, I’m going directly to the hotel or airline to book.”
Sarah Firshein formerly held staff positions at Travel + Leisure and Vox Media, and has also contributed to Condé Nast Traveler, Bloomberg, Eater and other publications. If you need advice about a best-laid travel plan that went awry, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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