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Marriott shoots self in foot re: resort fee disclosure

Marriott shoots self in foot re: resort fee disclosure

Old Aug 12, 19, 11:44 pm
  #91  
 
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
This thread was started because it's yet more ammo for the state ADs out there as they start to bring cases against the hotel companies. And Marriott is idiotically helping the ADs make their argument with all the obfuscation they put through with these bogus fees.
Some of the pushback you're getting is because your example doesn't prove your thesis.

Your example was a tweet that pointed guests down a multi-step process to find out what the resort fee inclusions are at a particular hotel. As I understand it, the Attorneys General are suing over the lack of disclosure of the cost of the resort fee during booking. What's included in the fee is irrelevant to the lawsuit. Therefore, a tweet about how to find those inclusions is also irrelevant to the case.

Additionally, even if the tweet were about the actual cost, it would be irrelevant because Twitter isn't a component of the actual process of booking a hotel room online. The Attorneys General will only care about the process of booking a hotel room on the website.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 12:42 am
  #92  
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As I understand it, the OP's point was not about what the fees include. Rather, it was about the fact that the "multi-step" discovery process is akin to giving prospective customers the middle finger.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 2:14 am
  #93  
 
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Originally Posted by seat38a View Post
Whats the difference between that and finding out what your sales tax is at the register at Nordstroms or whatever? When you look at the menu at a restaurant, does it have the tax and tip included price? Unless the laws are changed and or the courts say otherwise, its not illegal! Airlines did the exact same thing until the law was changed, but before that it wasn't illegal for them.
It has to do with price transparency and price discovery, and no I am not a big fan of the ambiguous US system with hidden cost associated with purchase of good and services manifested itself as: resort fees, tip etc.
In other words because the actual price is not clearly communicated (or published), this practice creates asymmetric information which violates one of assumption, in the classical micro economic sense, for a functioning free market.
This violation creates market imperfections and less competition.

To change this practice via legislation should be viewed in the same manner as that the US have laws against cartels etc, i.e. sometimes you need to legislate to minimize the effect of market imperfections ....
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Old Aug 13, 19, 4:25 am
  #94  
 
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I mean, I think there are two issues. One is obfuscation on overall price. That's what the AGs are going after. The other is benefit obfuscation, which might well end up being grounds for a separate fraud case. The two are wrapped up with one another but they're not exactly the same problem.

I think a third, related, complaint is that I can't easily check (for example) parking fees. I've had to pull out a scratch pad more than once to sort out which hotel was cheaper among a set of hotels after accounting for parking and for resort fees (since about half the time when I'm in Orlando I don't have a car, but half the time I do, and it can significantly alter my calculus about getting a rental car and parking vs just using Uber/Lyft). At least with an explicit parking fee you can dodge or mitigate that (sometimes to the confusion and apparent consternation of the staff).

Conceptually I have no problem with "unbundling", but it would be nice to be able to "build your own bundle" when price shopping. To be fair, I've got the same complaint pretty much across the board with the travel industry...but that doesn't mean the complaint doesn't exist.
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Last edited by GrayAnderson; Aug 13, 19 at 4:33 am
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Old Aug 13, 19, 6:26 am
  #95  
 
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
As I understand it, the OP's point was not about what the fees include. Rather, it was about the fact that the "multi-step" discovery process is akin to giving prospective customers the middle finger.
Let's say I agree. I still don't see how this tweet is some sort of smoking gun. What's important is how the fee is disclosed during the booking process. Everything else is irrelevant. As I noted earlier, no one books hotel rooms via tweets.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 7:33 am
  #96  
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Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
Let's say I agree. I still don't see how this tweet is some sort of smoking gun. What's important is how the fee is disclosed during the booking process. Everything else is irrelevant. As I noted earlier, no one books hotel rooms via tweets.
You keep saying this, but youíre still wrong. The issue at hand is the price discovery process, not booking. Nobody is claiming this is a massive ďa haĒ by itself, but itís not hard to understand that if the AG is reviewing whether hotels can be compared fairly in the price discovery process, then not having a comparable price with other hotels but then also not easily being able to see what the extra fees cover even once they are discovered on click-through is clearly relevant.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 7:42 am
  #97  
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Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
What's important is how the fee is disclosed during the booking process.
Sorry, but that's the single least important thing. Disclosure after you've already selected a property is almost irrelevant.

Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
Everything else is irrelevant.
The fact that they intentionally hide the true room rate during the search process is the point. It's basically false advertising.

Last edited by mahasamatman; Aug 13, 19 at 7:50 am
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Old Aug 13, 19, 7:49 am
  #98  
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Originally Posted by seat38a View Post
Whats the difference between that and finding out what your sales tax is at the register at Nordstroms or whatever? When you look at the menu at a restaurant, does it have the tax and tip included price?
Tips are optional, so that's completely irrelevant. Taxes are required by the government, so while it's not ideal that they're not included, at least they're known and expected (true for hotels as well). (Not to mention that if you're shopping at Nordstrom, you already show you don't care about your money.) Greed fees are more like the "health benefit surcharge" added by many restaurants in S.F. that are not included in the food price. Those are a money grab and a way to hide the true cost just like the hotel greed fees.

Originally Posted by seat38a View Post
Unless the laws are changed and or the courts say otherwise, its not illegal!
I look forward to the day that this happens. All posted prices everywhere should include all required taxes and fees. Full stop.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 8:09 am
  #99  
 
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Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
Let's say I agree. I still don't see how this tweet is some sort of smoking gun. What's important is how the fee is disclosed during the booking process. Everything else is irrelevant. As I noted earlier, no one books hotel rooms via tweets.
yup... the tweet is not the smoking gun, which is what appears to be the original intent of the thread based on the title. It then blossomed into resort fee disclosure and what not, while relevant to general resort fees (which there are plenty of other threads on the topic), but the tweet seems irrelevant to the AGs case. SMH
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Last edited by myperks; Aug 13, 19 at 8:18 am
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Old Aug 13, 19, 8:22 am
  #100  
 
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Originally Posted by EuropeanPete View Post


You keep saying this, but youíre still wrong. The issue at hand is the price discovery process, not booking. Nobody is claiming this is a massive ďa haĒ by itself, but itís not hard to understand that if the AG is reviewing whether hotels can be compared fairly in the price discovery process, then not having a comparable price with other hotels but then also not easily being able to see what the extra fees cover even once they are discovered on click-through is clearly relevant.
where in the tweet does it talk about price discovery? While price discovery is important for the AGs case, the tweet in itself does not provide that. If anything, the tweet talks about price inclusion which is not the tweeters original question. We should have a thread on how Marriottís social media account doesnít even respond to the original inquiry based on this tweet.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 8:38 am
  #101  
 
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Originally Posted by myperks View Post
We should have a thread on how Marriottís social media account doesnít even respond to the original inquiry based on this tweet.
Actually, I think we should have a thread on why people would expect reliable information from Twitter, whether it's Marriott or otherwise. But I realize I'm probably in the minority opinion on that one.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 8:41 am
  #102  
 
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I think the tweet does go to a poor disclosure process even if the discussion has ranged afar by a bit.

I am wondering what would be involved, practically speaking, in designing a "scraper" that takes available hotel rates a la what Google does and then slaps on known resort-esque fees (and allows you to add the cost of parking a car)? At the very least, I'd sure like to see the dust-up that would happen if a batch of hotels tried to sue such a site to stop them.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 9:07 am
  #103  
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Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
Some of the pushback you're getting is because your example doesn't prove your thesis.

Your example was a tweet that pointed guests down a multi-step process to find out what the resort fee inclusions are at a particular hotel. As I understand it, the Attorneys General are suing over the lack of disclosure of the cost of the resort fee during booking. What's included in the fee is irrelevant to the lawsuit. Therefore, a tweet about how to find those inclusions is also irrelevant to the case.

Additionally, even if the tweet were about the actual cost, it would be irrelevant because Twitter isn't a component of the actual process of booking a hotel room online. The Attorneys General will only care about the process of booking a hotel room on the website.
Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
Let's say I agree. I still don't see how this tweet is some sort of smoking gun. What's important is how the fee is disclosed during the booking process. Everything else is irrelevant. As I noted earlier, no one books hotel rooms via tweets.
Originally Posted by myperks View Post


yup... the tweet is not the smoking gun, which is what appears to be the original intent of the thread based on the title. It then blossomed into resort fee disclosure and what not, while relevant to general resort fees (which there are plenty of other threads on the topic), but the tweet seems irrelevant to the AGs case. SMH
Everyone is up in arms about the resort fee and then everyone just blows off the taxes as "Government Required" yet no one seems to know or care that many of those taxes are rebated back to the hotel or they are allowed to keep it. Disney Resorts and Anaheim being a prime example and many more of these sleazy "government mandated" profit margins that don't make the news or are easy to dig up. I wish I can find the articles on LA Times, but those "taxes" that everyone seems to look the other way on is more nefarious than the resort fee thats blasted in neon on the rate page. Those "taxes" you'r paying could be for paying back the cost of building the hotel building or other "development cost."

Hotels are not the only ones to benefit from what I call government sponsored scam. Counties do this with their sales tax as well. But its ok because its a tax right?
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Old Aug 13, 19, 10:21 am
  #104  
 
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At least in theory, though, those fees/taxes will be about the same within a jurisdiction (either in percentage or in amount). Thus in many cases, when comparing hotels those are mostly (if not entirely) irrelevant to the relative prices.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 10:21 am
  #105  
 
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
Actually, I think we should have a thread on why people would expect reliable information from Twitter, whether it's Marriott or otherwise. But I realize I'm probably in the minority opinion on that one.
Twitter is how many people interact with customer service nowadays. Itís just a medium - the info isnít coming from Twitter; itís coming from the company. If itís reasonable to expect reliable information from an agent on the phone, doesnít that extend to the agents on Twitter as well?
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