How have scam resort fees been able to go on for so long? The hotel lobby has fat pockets and they are ready to use their money to make sure they get they get to keep charging high prices for hotel rooms.
What is the hotel lobby's agenda? Well they lay it out in their 2016 Policy Guide. The first objective is blaming online booking sites resort fees. The second is eliminating home sharing. Why are these their two main goals? Because they want to be sure to get as much money out of travelers as possible. The hotel lobby wants hotels to be able to trick consumers into charging two prices for one room for as long as they can. By blaming third party booking sites like Priceline or Hotel Tonight, they are attempting to deflect attention from the obvious blame of the hotel for the resort fee. The hotels themselves are the ones charging scam resort fees and the hotels collect 100% of the money from the resort fee. Resort fees are 100% related back to the hotel itself. Though reading the American Hotel & Lodging Association's policy goals for 2016, one would never know that.
Their other goal seems to be eliminating home sharing. If someone puts their apartment in New York City on Airbnb while they go away for the weekend and a traveler can rent it for $100 a night, that means fewer hotels in New York City can charge $700 a night. American Hotel & Lodging Association member Jon Bortz complained to the Wall Street Journal that Airbnb has reduced the ability for hotels to price gouge consumers. Hotels want to keep rates as high as possible and they want to make sure the $700 a night hotel room in New York City is always there.
Profit for the hotel above everything else is clearly the goal of the hotel lobby aka the American Hotel and Lodging Association. So where do they spend their money? Giving it directly to members of Congress.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association spent about one million dollars this cycle (2015-2016) on members of Congress. They've been busy. In terms of money spent, they are the 193rd highest spender out of 3,270 groups. That's pretty high up there in terms of money given to members of Congress.
Blaming third party operators like Expedia, Priceline and Hotel Tonight for resort fees truly makes no sense. Yet if the hotel lobby can spread their propaganda to enough of the members of Congress who received the million dollars they have to dole out, they just might be able to convince enough lawmakers not to act on resort fees. The American Hotel & Lodging Association exists to make sure hotels make as much money as possible. As long as lobbying and giving money directly to members of Congress keeps resulting in record profits, they will continue the practice. The resort fee scam will continue until members of Congress stand up for their constituents.