President Joe Biden has constantly urged several agencies in the country including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop charging misleading and hidden "junk fees" on loans. He reiterated his stand in the State of the Union (SOTU) speech he made several days ago focusing on resort fees.
Yet, the American Gaming Association (AGA) didn't agree with the President. Bill Miller, the association's CEO, commented on President Biden's campaign to end the fees.
He stated that their member's properties' resort fees offer value to their clients as they provide exemplary services to improve their stay. Also, he said that resorts should be distinguished from standard lodges.
The Hospitality Industry Rakes in Billions from Resort Fees
President Biden's speech highlighted that resort fees inflate clients' bills. He added that the government will bar hotels from adding unprecedented resort fees as some hotels charge $90 per night yet their quality of services is below that of resorts.
The FTC said that the resort fees comprised 20 percent of the total revenue hotels generated in 2015. Consumer Report submitted a comment to the FTC indicating that the hospitality sector got $2.9 billion in 2018 from resort fees.
AGA Defends Resort Fees
Miller said that most junk fees are concealed and misleading. Yet, hotels openly disclose their resort fees to prospective clients. So, guests know how much a particular resort charges during the booking process.
He added that the resort fees haven't met the FTC's junk fees standard of a fee that offers a client zero or little added value. A casino resort can pay for certain amenities using resort fees such as in-room internet, parking, local phone calls, gymnasiums, resort-wide internet, hot tubs, and pools.
Miller reiterated that resort fees assure clients that they will benefit more besides getting an appointed room since additional services and amenities increase a resort's operational costs. Thus, they opt to charge visitors a valuable resort fee that is different from junk fees.
The official claimed that withdrawing the fees will destabilize the national gaming industry as properties with many amenities will choose to incorporate their resort fee into room rates. So, a regular traveler might not understand why a particular property is expensive and pick a resort with fewer amenities and lower room rates.
Some Consumer Groups Are Supporting President Biden's Stand
Consumer Reports is among the consumer advocates that support Biden's bill. It indicated that more properties have increased their resort fees of late. For instance, New York's hotels with resort fees increased from 15 to 85 between 2016 and 2018.
The company stated that Encore Hotel and Wynn Las Vegas are the only properties that displayed their resort fees on a final checkout page. It sent a letter to the FTC in 2019 about a study it conducted on 34 hotels with bait-and-switch strategies.
Some of them doubled their room rates after adding fees. Clients need to click several times to get to a resort's checkout page to review its total costs. Room rates for hotels with taxes, surcharges, resort fees, and add-on costs increased by 11 to 100 percent.