Marriott will allegedly stop resort fees deception starting May 15, 2023
The largest hotel chain in the world, Marriott International Inc., will start including resort fees in overnight room rates. Marriott, a leader in deceptive pricing at hotels across America, says they will begin to adhere to their 2021 settlement with the Pennsylvania Attorney General, which requires them to display all-in pricing.
After several extensions of the settlement, Marriott appears to finally be complying.
Marriott was initially supposed to comply with this settlement agreement on August 16, 2022. But as travel writer JT Genter pointed out, Marriott offered “the same lack of disclosure as before” this past summer.
He reported that Marriott had revised its agreement to extend implementation until January 16, 2023. Even being given an extension to start honest pricing seemed too difficult for the hotel chain. They were fined when Marriott International never even got it together by February.
Marriott should have begun to comply with this agreement to display all-in pricing in February, but as CBS News reported, Pennsylvania “Attorney General Michelle Henry said a court order requires Marriott to comply by May 15 with the settlement from 2021 after multiple extensions and the failure to meet a deadline in February.”
Since Marriott never got their act together by February, they were forced to pay a measly $225,000 assessed by the Pennsylvania AG for failing to bring disclosures in compliance.
Marriott is a leader in deceptive resort fees. Our organization fears they will find ways to continue their deception.
Travelers United is anticipating what will happen now since recent reporting claims the days of resort fees are numbered. As noted on FlyerTalk, right after the 2021 Pennsylvania Attorney General settlement with Marriott, numerous “sustainability fees” started popping up at Marriott properties. In other words, the hotels were trying to rework the resort fee by making it look like a fee to help the environment when it was not.
We at Travelers United are deeply concerned that Marriott will continue to add bogus fees with new names. They may start the introduction of service fees, charged as a percentage of the bill. These fees will be allegedly for service but are likely just another way to collect a resort fee equivalent amount of money while circumventing the Pennsylvania Attorney General settlement.
The lack of a massive fine for long-term fraud may have been the rationale for Marriott’s capitulation.
Part of the Pennsylvania AG settlement was the paltry penalty assessed against Marriot after decades of deception. Other cases brought against hotel chains had much more severe penalties assessed. Perhaps, this is why Marriott has accepted the Pennsylvania AG settlement.
Travelers United hopes that the Marriott settlement will hold. Our organization also urges that, eventually, all hotels eliminate this deceptive mandatory hotel fee. All such mandatory fees should be included in the overnight room rate. This should be the uniform nationwide system.
Hopefully, the Pennsylvania AG’s determination to rid the hotel world of hidden mandatory fees will persevere.
We are proud of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s resolve in taking Marriott on. Travelers United also congratulates the DC Attorney General’s office for their excellent work in another ongoing case against Marriott’s deceptive resort fees. Between excellent work from these Attorneys General, the FTC, the White House, and Congress, we may soon see an end to deceptive hotel pricing.
A statement provided by Marriott reads: “Marriott International is committed to providing customers with clear and transparent pricing. We have long been focused on ensuring that any resort/destination fees charged by hotels are separately and clearly stated. We have worked diligently over the last several months on the technology required to update our room rate display… When we deploy our changes by May 15, 2023, we expect to be the first hospitality company to change its display, leading the industry on this important issue.”
After more than a decade-long battle, we await May 15, 2023, for the end of the deception.
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Lauren joined Travelers United in 2015. Founded Kill Resort Fees, the only site devoted to ending hidden hotel resort fees. Armed with an arsenal of frequent flyer miles and some extreme budgeting skills, Lauren traveled around the world through 37 countries. Accomplishments include eating at the world’s largest restaurant in Syria, bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge on the Zambia/Zimbabwe border, running into Anthony Bourdain at a Mexican restaurant in Cambodia and cage diving with Great White Sharks in South Africa.