Savvy travelers often scour the web pages relentlessly to find the best deals for their vacation. Las Vegas, in particular, has probably one of the best selections of wonderful hotels for the Sin City visitor. Although popular travel sites like Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity and countless others seem to list every detail of the hotels on their site, one important item guests need to know is often intentionally left out. As a result, the traveler receives a sudden shock at the registration desk when they are forced to pay a “mandatory resort fee” of anywhere from $1.00 to $25.00 per night, sometimes per person per night. The “resort fee” allegedly is to give you access to the spa, fitness center, the in-room safe, even use of the pool regardless of whether you intend to use it or not or for an energy surcharge. The truth is the fee is another way the hotel makes up for falling revenue.
The use of resort fees is becoming the industry standard and a smart shopper needs to read those web pages very carefully. At times, the resort fee will be listed by via a hyperlink that a lot of people don’t look at. Travel web sites place the blame on the hotels and respond to the criticism by saying you should contact the hotels directly with any questions.
In Las Vegas, competition among hotels is keen. Many of the fanciest hotels have quietly started charging the fee while others have been doing it for years. The Bellagio, a luxury MGM Resorts hotel that has mid-week room rates beginning at $300 per night, is the latest to begin to charge the fee. Many well-known hotels however are holding out on resort fees for the benefit of their guests. Hotels like Caesar’s Palace, Bally’s, Harrah’s, Marriot, Paris, Planet Hollywood and the South Point among many others are the best deals because the do not charge mandatory resort fees.
The best way for travelers to avoid surprise fees is to do your homework. If you book a hotel by phone, ask them if they charge a resort fee. If you book it on a national web site, look carefully for links to “additional hotel information,” if you book with a local travel outlet, like www.vegas.com be aware they don’t set, charge or endorse the fees but will list resort fees if the hotel provides the information. Being aware of this fee will save you the discomfort of reviewing your credit card statement when your vacation is over and seeing expensive fees you didn’t count on. The smart traveler will vote with his wallet when choosing a destination hotel and pick one with no resort fee.