I opened the hotel room door to find a flyer labeled “Express Check Out” laying on the floor. Our vacation was over, and it was time to settle up with the hotel for our accommodations. I opened it up and sat down on the bed to examine it for accuracy. The daily room rates were as expected, but there were so many different taxes listed that I began to wonder exactly what those amounts were for. Normally I just assume the hotel is charging the government required taxes, but I was feeling especially frisky that morning and decided to verify each additional tax with the person working behind the front desk.
Who I’m sure was just thrilled with my questions.
Many states treat hotel room stays as a product and not a service, thus subjecting them to the state sales tax. Other states just impose an occupancy tax on hotel rooms. This is essentially the sales tax for the room.
This is a tax imposed by the city in which the hotel is located. The intent of this tax is to fund tourism marketing and promotions for the surrounding area including brochures and information services.
So far so good, chalk these fees up to normal life as a tax paying American. But then it got a little more interesting.
There was a $9.95 per day Resort Fee which covers things such shuttle service, wifi access, and the activities held in the hotel’s large atrium. These are all things that are listed as amenities that are included with your stay, but in reality each guest PAYS for them whether they use them or not!
We signed up for a Summer Splash Package. As listed, the package includes:
- Tickets to a ski show ($87 value for my family)
- Tickets to a wildlife park ($70 value for my family)
- Tickets to the resort’s Indoor Theme Park ($100 value for my family)
They said that we could get this Summer Splash Package for only $10. Sounds like a GREAT deal, right? After further investigation, we found that the ski show and wildlife park tickets are given to all guests this summer regardless of whether the Summer Splash Package is purchased. Plus, while the package only cost $10, there was a Package Tax of $45 on my bill as well. So in reality, what we really got was the Indoor Theme Park tickets regularly priced at $100 for $55. Still a savings of $45, but not nearly the awesome deal it was portrayed as.
Premier Resort Fee:
This fee is so mysterious that the desk clerk didn’t even know what it was. She referred me to the Past Guest Services department and gave me the number. I called it and left a message, but at the time of this post I had not yet received a response. Hopefully I can post the answer in the comments.
The next time I stay at a hotel I’m going to insist to have explained to me what fees will be added, and what they are for. I doubt that any of these fees are negotiable, but I definitely frown upon a fee being added for services that I may not use. I’m certainly not going to pay a fee if they cannot explain what it is.
I challenge each of you to do the same. You may be surprised by what you are being charged for.
Do you have any stories about being charged some crazy fees? Lemme have ‘em in the comments below!