The Bipolar World of Hotel Marketing
The Rip-off vs. a Ripping Good Time
March 16, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 21
IN THE NEWS
Resort Fees: Hotel Rate May Not Include All the Charges
Hotel resort fees are making a comeback. With the decline in the lodging industry after 9/11, the fees, which cover everything from the use of a pool to housekeeping tips, began to vanish—if not from hotels' policies, then from guests' bills. A polite complaint was usually all it took to have a fee waived. No longer.
—Christopher Elliott, The New York Times, March 12, 2006
When Don Jackson and I sat down at his kitchen table to create an outline for our book, "2,239 Tested Secrets for Direct Marketing Success," Jackson came up with his Immutable Second Commandment:
You are in the business of acquiring customers (or donors) and then continually delighting them.
The hotel chain, RockResorts, boldly advertises a room at its Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in Colorado for $452 per night and then tacks onto the final bill a taxable "6% Resort Fee." The additional $27.12 is for high-speed Internet service, maid service, hotel concierge, valet parking, use of the spa and shuttle ski service.
An additional 4.4 percent tax takes the nightly cost of the $452 room up to $500.20 per night.
Does the customer feel satisfied or delighted?
A better term might be ripped-off.
It's not a lot of fun to be lied to in an advertisement. The hotel that adds a $27 "resort fee" is playing "Gotcha!"
RockResorts isn't an isolated case.
Writing in The New York Times of Aug. 30, 2005, Melinda Ligos listed some outrageous fees that top-of-the-line hotels are tacking on to the final bill:
Restocking fees for the minibar of $2.50 to $5.00. Thus if you open a $3 can of Coke, the real cost can be $8.00.