Hotel resort fees have drawn the ire of attorneys general as well as travel rights groups because they often aren’t disclosed upfront, making travelers think they’re getting a better deal than they really are.
Now, those fees that consumers love to hate are getting pushback from some travel websites that help book the hotels.
Booking.com, one of the world’s largest online travel agencies (OTAs), has begun charging a commission on resort fees collected by hotels in Europe and plans to make the change for U.S. hotels in January. The website previously collected a commission only on the nightly rate for every hotel room booked through the site.
The move comes only a month after attorneys general for D.C. and Nebraska filed lawsuits against Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide Holdings, respectively, calling the fees deceptive.
Although Booking.com concedes that the move will generate extra revenue for the company, the site contends that the change primarily is intended to push hotels and other lodging providers to be more transparent about the total cost they plan to charge potential customers.
“We believe in complete transparency and that the best customer experience is when people know the entire cost upfront,” spokeswoman Angela Cavis said. “Hopefully this will help continue to push the entire industry toward more transparency and fewer surprises for customers.”
Hotel industry leaders say only a small percentage of hotels charge mandatory resort fees and most of them clearly disclose the charges before rooms are booked.
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