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Strategy to avoid paying a resort fee

Strategy to avoid paying a resort fee

Old Mar 22, 06, 7:16 am
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Strategy to avoid paying a resort fee

There was a recent thread on what you refuse to pay at a hotel. Most of the items were surprises discovered at check-out that posters refused to pay. I'm interested to hear if people have had success in refusing the resort fee through actions at the beginning of the stay.

Here's the situation: I'm attending a trade show being held at an isolated resort. Staying somewhere else really isn't an option. The four days are extremely busy so I'll have no time for golf, swimming, fitness center, etc. On booking, I've been told of a resort fee that covers local calls, internet, newspapers, fitness center, bottled water and resort transportation. I need the internet access but won't use anything else. The resort fee is $18/night on a $250/night room (which, admittedly, is a highly discounted rate).

What are my chances of success in avoiding the fee by telling them I don't want the newspapers, bottled water and won't use the transportation or local phone?

Yes, work is paying for this but 1) it's the principle of the thing since this should be included in the nightly rate and 2) I'm a founder of my small company so it feels like my money even if the company pays it.
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Old Mar 22, 06, 7:33 am
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I sympathize with your situation and would try to do the same if I ever got stuck with one of those silly "resort fees," but as a practical matter most hotels above the low end charge more than $18/day for Internet access alone. You could find that they'll take the $18 off, then charge $20 or $25/day for the part you do want. It might make more sense to think of it as an "Internet access bundle" by a funny name that happens to include a few things you don't need.
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Old Mar 22, 06, 1:38 pm
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When I stayed in London last August, the internet fee was normally 12.95 a day -- about $20 all told. Luckily they had a special that month and it was free... but certainly that isn't an unusual charge for that service
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Old Mar 22, 06, 2:41 pm
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Thanks Efrem and Green Dragon. It had occurred to me that wanting the internet access does undermine my resistance to the charge. And you're probably right that asking them to break that one out alone could cost me more than the resort fee.

These sort of tack-ons burn me up. Ah well, I'm swimming against the tide since adding mandatory fees to published costs is the norm for travel these days.
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Old Mar 22, 06, 3:00 pm
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Simple. Don't stay there. With so many choices, why eat the resort fee?
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Old Mar 22, 06, 4:49 pm
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Marriott has just announced that they will be transparent with this type of hidden fees and surcharges. Hopefully, this will be a trend in the lodging industry.
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Old Mar 22, 06, 5:16 pm
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I do believe that resort fees have been illegal in the state of Florida since Jan 1, 2006.
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Old Mar 23, 06, 6:44 am
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Originally Posted by mkt
I do believe that resort fees have been illegal in the state of Florida since Jan 1, 2006.
Now this is interesting, mkt. The resort in question is in Florida. I'll do some searching, do you have any links to more info on this?

Originally Posted by bumpme
Simple. Don't stay there. With so many choices, why eat the resort fee?
Yes, of course this was my first thought and what I would do if this was a trip I controlled (though if I were controlling the trip, I wouldn't be anywhere within 1,000 miles of this place). Unfortunately the resort is somewhat isolated, the conference/show/events go from 7.30AM until at least 11PM and there's a mandatory valet parking fee if driving in from elsewhere. So staying elsewhere isn't an option in this case.
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Old Mar 24, 06, 12:48 am
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Originally Posted by CIMorse
Now this is interesting, mkt. The resort in question is in Florida. I'll do some searching, do you have any links to more info on this?
Sounds like the Boca Raton Resort and Club to me...

They charged me the $18/day Resort Fee last week.
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Old Mar 24, 06, 6:56 am
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Originally Posted by iluv2fly
Sounds like the Boca Raton Resort and Club to me...

They charged me the $18/day Resort Fee last week.
Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.
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Old Mar 24, 06, 8:36 am
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Are they clear up front about this fee?

If so, and you choose to stay there... then I would say you owe the fee...

Obviously your business/trade show organization took a decision to stay at that resort... and negotiated the rate.

Seems a bit late to be asking the resort to not get the agreed-upon-rate.

William
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Old Mar 24, 06, 10:00 am
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Thanks to all the posters for your advice. wharvey, your points are all good ones and, as I said at the beginning, I do recognize that I don't have much of an argument here, particularly since I want to use one of the items that the resort fee covers. I won't be throwing a tantrum at checkout or anything like that.

More on your points, the resort fee is not clear up-front. That is, the resort fee is disclosed only after booking and after taking my deposit. In my confirmation email there is a link to a page describing the fee but it is not on the main resort page. Certainly this is better than discovering it on the final bill but still deceptive in my book.

My reason for posting the question was as a follow-on to a recent thread to see if others had success in negotiating out of such a fee if the items it covered weren't desired. Also to blow off some steam with this annoying practice of add-ons to a quoted rate that is becoming more and more prevalent when traveling these days.
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Old Mar 24, 06, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by CIMorse
Here's the situation: I'm attending a trade show being held at an isolated resort. Staying somewhere else really isn't an option. The four days are extremely busy so I'll have no time for golf, swimming, fitness center, etc. On booking, I've been told of a resort fee that covers local calls, internet, newspapers, fitness center, bottled water and resort transportation. I need the internet access but won't use anything else. The resort fee is $18/night on a $250/night room (which, admittedly, is a highly discounted rate).

What are my chances of success in avoiding the fee by telling them I don't want the newspapers, bottled water and won't use the transportation or local phone?
I sympathise and agree with you. Mandatory resort fees are the hotel equivalent of fuel surcharges: It lets them advertise a lower rate, but collect a higher rate that they should be advertising in the first place.

Since you have no direct control over the hotel in this case, the only thing you can do is to make sure to write a comment on the conference evaluation to say how much you disapprove of the resort fees. If enough people do that, maybe the conference organizers will consider that next time. I know it's a long shot, but apart from laws that make this sort of thing illegal, I don't know what else to do....
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Old Mar 24, 06, 1:18 pm
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Originally Posted by CIMorse
Now this is interesting, mkt. The resort in question is in Florida. I'll do some searching, do you have any links to more info on this?
I'm searching through Florida lawbooks... I'm thinking Statute 509 is the pertinent law. I remember this only because back in Dec. of 05, I received an email from my controller stating that any of our properties that charged a resort fee had to remove them from the system, due to a change of law in 2006.
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Old Mar 24, 06, 1:26 pm
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found something close, but not exactly the same

http://www.tampabays10.com/printfull...?storyid=18622


and another case, not in Florida, but still good to read:

http://bankrupt.com/CAR_Public/040928.mbx it's about 1/3 of the way down

and since this one is gone, I'm using googles cache,

http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:...7&client=opera

it's almost to the bottom... best bet is do ctrl+f and search for resort fees
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