If someone said you had to pay “resort fees,” you might think about hot chicks serving you massive piña coladas and grapes, while simultaneously fanning you with a huge palm frond. And a lot of you would probably be happy to pay for those services, too. But what about being billed every time you use Wi-Fi, place a local call, or use a fitness center? True, many hotels around the world have been charging fairly outrageous fees for those things for years; particularly pricier big city hotels where they know guests can’t do without. But Vegas?
With a few exceptions, gambling has been the great equalizer that eliminated the need for crazy pricey hotel rooms or niggling over every service used. Well, not anymore. In fact, after launching a decisive “No Resort Fees” campaign back in 2010, (just as a few other Strip properties were tacking them on), Caesars is now not only stepping on the brakes for that campaign, but backing the heck up and completely changing their tune. Their new campaign might be something more like “Hell Ya, Resort Fees All Day Long!” Welcome to the wonderful world of corporate bottom lines.
Dollars Make Sense
While Gary Thompson, Caesars’ director of corporate communications, may parlay that it’s something guests asked for (really Gary? C’mon now), it’s more likely something that the marketing department asked for after looking at how much other corporate hotel chains make every time you hook into their Wi-Fi. Throughout the past decade, more and more hotels across the U.S. have been quietly tacking them on under their non-specific pseudonym, and apparently few guests bother to question what they are (perhaps afraid it refers to the porn flick they plugged in the night before.)
Originally introduced in 1997 as an “amenity tariff,” resort fees have gone up during 10 of the past 13 years, according to a report from New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, which tracks national trends (and hopefully doesn’t come up with names for anything else).
The hotel industry garnered some $1.85 billion in resort fees overall in 2011, and it’s predicted that 2012’s final tally will be in the $1.95 billion range.
“Based on the current industry standards in the market and evaluation of the services our guests choose and use, a comprehensive package of bundled services and amenities proves to be the best and most meaningful value to our guests,” Thompson said. Sounds so much better than, “We plan to upcharge you every time you sneeze, but we’ll do it in one huge lump sum.”