The struggle is real for many businesses at the moment, and travel remains one of the hardest hit sectors. With conversations shifting to reboot, and some countries reopening to international visitors, hotels are looking at how they can cope with fewer people filling their bars, pools and hotel rooms, in favor of necessary social distancing and hygiene initiatives to rebuild confidence. Their best guess: new fees?

Apparently, one major hotel group has the brilliant idea to launch a new fee to help cover additional costs, in the form of a coronavirus surcharge, but before doing so the group polled frequent guests. After resort fees, it’s just the latest tone deaf move being pondered in the hotel industry…

One Mile At A Time reports one of the world’s largest hotel chains contacting private focus groups to understand how brand enthusiasts would feel about the addition of covid-19 related surcharges added to their hotel bill.

In recent years, hotels began adding deceptive “resort fees” to the final tally, which don’t typically show up up front during search, and can mean up to $50 a day payable at the hotel, in addition to room rate.

With the introduction of the fees across hotels in city centers, the point has been made that they have nothing to do with golf, watering grass or any other resort related activities, and everything to do with extracting extra cash. The fees are almost universally hated, and legislation has even been set in motion to ban the deceptive business practice.

Clearly, on the good vibes created from resort fees, hotels are now pondering the latest additional charge, which you won’t likely see up front while searching, with covid-19 fees to increase the cost of a stay.

There’s no doubt hotels will incur extra costs in the interim as cleaning practices ramp up, but many could argue hotels previously weren’t doing enough to maintain real health standards. Demands for them to do so now do not inherently mean we should pay more. If anything, you’d think lower rates and other friendly features would be the idea right now, in attempts to draw people back to travel – not hidden fees to make them begrudge a brand.

The good news, at least at this point, is that the notion is purely being market tested in focus groups. The bad news, is that if the latest marketing genius at a hotel chain decided that 99% disapproval is exactly what the brand needs right now, every other major chain will follow in short order.

Surely, raising the prices of drinks in hotel bars, or adding a small extra fee to discretionary services like room service, or spa treatments would be a better way to create reasonable new fee structures to help support covid-19 related losses or efforts, or better yet – just be grateful to guests rebuilding your business.

How much would covid-19 surcharges impact your hotel loyalty?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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9 Comments

  1. ALL of these hotels have been ripping off the consumers for years with rediculous fees less perks and ammenities, even the high end ones don’t perform well when it comes to cleanliness. ALL of them smell like cigarettes and marijuana, towels at the pool are iffy and the comps are gone! Who cares if they keep screwing the consumer, most people with money don’t mind! I DO,it’s time we put financial PAIN on them? Parking fees are another piece of this GREED and Stupidity. Vegas Laughlin,ALL of these GREEDY places SUCK.Go for the indian casinos, a very little better and they are much closer.

  2. I am not loyal to any hotel group … If I see anything like a surcharge for Covid-19 on my hotel bill, I would never book with that chain again and use a rival group, plain and simple. Hotel rooms are far too expensive for what they are to begin with anyway and don’t talk about mini bar and wi-fi prices. Enough said!!!

  3. if they want people to come back, no more resort fee, parking fees ,make Vegas like it years ago.

  4. The reason fees started and now exist is because consumers book their rooms on third party sites. The site takes up to 30% of the price you pay. Those sites get nothing off the hotel fees so hotels were forced to add fees onto what they were losing. The hotels themselves should offer a better rate if booked direct and I always do. By talking to an in person hotel member I have always gotten a better rate than offered even on their corporate site.

  5. Ridiculous. Trying to find anyway to scam customers. First resort fees now a covid tax for what? So the owners can have play money. Everyone is starting to wine I miss Vegas and over priced drinks and food. People are acting so stupid about Vegas. It’s not the greatest place

  6. I have not returned to Vegas once “resort fees”
    started. I am in the Phoenix area and now go
    to the many Indian casinos. People are foolish
    to give their hard earned money to obvious
    RIP-Offs. Vegas is not worth it anymore.

  7. Been going to Las Vegas for a long time, sometimes three times a year. But now, with all these totally unnecessary fees, I won’t be going back. Thanks a lot for ruining one of my life’s pleasures.

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