The Resort Fee Scam in Washington, DC

Resort fees of course are not just for resorts - all hotels want in on the scam! That is why just under a year ago there were only two hotels in the Washington, DC area that charged scam resort fees - now there are eight!

It's true. In less than one year scam resort fees have increased at a rate of 300% in the District of Columbia. They of course do not call them resort fees in a city. When hotels use the separating pricing into two amounts scheme in a city, as we have seen in New York City, they often call it a facility fee. And that's exactly what hotels across DC are doing with their scam facility fees. They advertise and book one price, but when a guest gets to the hotel they are forced to pay an extra $22.90 per day that is separate for the room rate. Why not just include it in the room rate? Because making this amount separate from the advertised room rate allows the hotel to lie about the price of a room - it makes the room look much cheaper than it actually is and encourages the guest to book. Facility fees and resort fees are left out of comparison searches online so often the guest only finds out about the hidden fee when they get to the hotel. In Washington, DC some guests are now finding they owe a shocking $22.90 per day when they get to their hotel. 

Why is this allowed in Washington, DC? The Federal Government, notably the Federal Trade Commission, has said that resort fees harm consumers but they have failed to take any action. That does not stop local legislation from being drafted to protect visitors to the District of Columbia. We have met with many members of the DC City Council alerting them about the resort fee fraud that is going on in their city.

A great opportunity to do something about it would be to include it in the bill introduced by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie about overnight stays in the city regarding home sharing. The bill was promoted by the hotel lobby, aka the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The head of the DC Hotel Lobby even bragged to the Washington Times that they wrote the bill that Councilmember McDuffie introduced. The Hotel Lobby wants to eliminate their competition and they have been spending millions to try to do that. Councilmember McDuffie probably does not want to look like he is introducing legislation on behalf of a powerful special interest - which he is. We have a solution! 

There should be some standard rules set for home sharing and hotels. Everyone wants a nice, safe place to stay when they travel whether at a hotel or at someone's home. They also want to make sure that the price they see advertised online is THE FINAL PRICE. There should only be one price advertised for home shares and for hotels in the District (plus taxes).

The bill introduced by Councilmember McDuffie in its current state was created by the special interest fueled hotel lobby. Any DC City Council member that wants to show they actually support fair rules, and are not just introducing legislation on behalf of the hotel lobby, should make sure that a provision against facility fees and resort fees goes into any home sharing or overnight accommodation bill considered by the city. Any DC City Councilperson who takes on home sharing without addressing the scam double pricing going on in DC's hotels has sold their soul to the hotel lobby. We encourage the city to make sure that all stays in the District of Columbia are fair, safe and have only one advertised price! 
 

 THE TAX AND FACILITY FEE IS TAKEN OUT OF ANY COMPARISON SEARCH - EXPEDIA, HOTWIRE, HOTEL TONIGHT - BUT WE WERE ABLE TO FIND THE SNEAKY FACILITY FEE AFTER MULTIPLE PAGES IN THE BOOKING PROCESS DIRECT ON THE KIMPTON SITE

THE TAX AND FACILITY FEE IS TAKEN OUT OF ANY COMPARISON SEARCH - EXPEDIA, HOTWIRE, HOTEL TONIGHT - BUT WE WERE ABLE TO FIND THE SNEAKY FACILITY FEE AFTER MULTIPLE PAGES IN THE BOOKING PROCESS DIRECT ON THE KIMPTON SITE