Marriot says resort fees are here to stay

by | Aug 12, 2019 | Chains

Despite the chain being sued by the local government in Washington, D.C., the company’s CEO says its resort fees are not likely to go away.

The local government in Washington, D.C., recently sued Marriott International — the world’s largest hotel company — in connection with it charging resort fees, alledging that over the years the company has reaped large sums of money from “deceptive” practices.

Now, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson says the company is not likely to stop charging the fees in question. According to the lawsuit, the company has made hundreds of millions of dollars “by deceiving consumers about the true price of its hotel rooms,” according to Attorney General Karl Racine. The lawsuit also notes that Marriott properties globally charge between $9 and $95 in daily fees that typically only become clear toward the end of the booking process.

Sorenson discussed the matter — among other things — in a video interview recently with LinkedIn.

What Sorenson said

In a video interview with LinkedIn’s editor in chief Daniel Roth, Sorenson discussed Marriott’s recent acquisition of Starwood, his own health issues, and the resort fee lawsuit.

In a 12-minute conversation, Sorenson told Roth that they’ve tried to be clear about their disclosure, noting the first resort fees dated back a decade, and while they were financially-driven in some respects, “they were also a way of saying okay, well let’s fold in the waterfront paddleboard rental or the bike rental or other things that can be part of this package.”

Sorenson said the company has been fighting this matter in a number of state for years.

“We’ll obviously fight it,” he said. “We think it’s wrong. It’s well disclosed.”

He said the fees won’t be going away, but that there will likely not be fees in, for example, a suburban hotel where every feature might not apply.

More about the lawsuit

News about the lawsuit broke recently.

Basically, the complaint was filed last month in the U.S. court system, and the crux of it is that Marriott is engaging in “an unlawful trade practice,” one that violates the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by using what the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has labeled as “drip pricing.” What’s at issue here are resort fees — sometimes referred to as amenity or destination fees — and the suit says that Marriott owns, manages or franchises at least 189 properties in the world that charge these fees, ranging in price from $9 to $95 per day.

Let’s take a look at a few hotel projects by Marriott:

Renaissance Landmark Lagos Hotel 

Element Charleston Historic Downtown

AC by Marriott Kingston 

ABOUT THE CHAIN

Marriott International, Inc. is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,000 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 131 countries and territories.

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