During the summer of 2019, two different attorneys general—from Washington, D.C. and Nebraska—filed lawsuits against two large hotel chains, Hilton (Hilton Dopco Inc.) and Marriott International, Inc., accusing them of charging hidden hotel resort fees. Although the lawsuits are not identical, they’re similar in their language, with each calling these hotel fees “deceptive and misleading.”
These types of fees vary by location and by the amenities and services they cover. For example, some hotels charge guests for Wi-Fi access, gym access, newspapers, in-room safes, even bottled water—whether these amenities are used or not.
At the heart of the lawsuits against Hilton and Marriott is the allegation that these hotel resort fees are not included in room rates published online, which makes it challenging for people to compare rates.
Hotel guests typically aren’t aware of these fees until after they have started booking—a practice called drip pricing—and, according to the lawsuits, these practices violate laws put into place to protect consumers.
So, what fees should a hotel guest expect to see on their bill? What do they actually cover? Which of these hotel fees should be questioned?