CITY BY THE BAY, CITY WITH NO MORE HOUSING, CITY WITH A RESORT FEE INCREASE OF 1,000+%
San Francisco has some unique issues related to hotel resort fees. First of all, their explosion of popularity. Second of all, taxes. Third, the hypocrisy.
How many more hotels charge resort fees in July 2017 than did in July 2016?
There has been a 1033% increase in hotels charging resort fees in San Francisco in one year. In July 2016, three hotels charged resort fees. In July 2017, 34 hotels charge resort fees.
Do San Francisco hotels call their mandatory resort fees / second room rates just that - resort fees?
No. They usually do not. They tend to call them "urban fees" "facility fees" or "amenity charge." These are all creative ways of saying a second hidden, non-advertised room rate will be forced upon the guest.
What unique tax issues are created when San Francisco hotels charge scam resort fees?
Hotel occupancy tax in San Francisco is calculated as a city hotel occupancy tax of 14% + tourism assessment of 1%-1.5% (varies) + 0.195% California tourism fee. Together this all combines to be 15.195 to 15.695% hotel occupancy tax. Sales tax in San Francisco is 8.5%. If a resort fee / urban fee / second room rate was actually a legitimate exchange of service as the hotels allege, then the service would be taxed at 8.5%. The hotels in San Francisco know they are lying however, and for tax purposes they are treating the resort fee / urban fee / amenity fee as a second hotel room rate and applying the hotel occupancy tax.
How does this relate to home sharing?
We've found time and again that hotel tricks turn people to home shares like Airbnb. Home sharing platforms like VRBO, Home Away and Airbnb make it impossible to split the price of a room into two parts per night. San Francisco is the birthplace of hotels saying that home shares were not playing fair. Now home shares are regulated, as they should be. Hotels in San Francisco however are not playing fair. With a 1033% increase in hotels charging two room rates for one night, hotels have made a stand in saying they have no interest in playing fair in San Francisco. If we want tourists to use hotels as a place to stay, we should make sure there are no scams stopping them from enjoying the many hotels San Francisco has to offer. A ban on hotel resort fees in San Francisco would be a true level playing field for all.
So what are the hotels in San Francisco that make it part of their business practice to lie about their advertise price, demand more from a customer when they check in at the front desk and whose scams encourage tourists to turn from hotels to home shares?
The Argonaut Hotel - A Noble House Hotel
The Carriage Inn
Executive Hotel Vintage Court
Handlery Union Square
Harbor Court Hotel
Hotel Abri - Union Square
Hotel Del Sol, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel
Hotel Union Square
Hotel Zelos San Francisco
Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco
Hotel Zetta San Francisco
Hotel Zoe San Francisco
Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Millwood Inn and Suites
Park Central Hotel San Francisco, Starwood
Pier 2620 Hotel Fisherman's Warf
San Carlos Inn
Stanford Court San Francisco
Staypineapple at The Alise San Francisco
The Maker San Francisco, a Joie de Vivre Hotel
The Pickwick Hotel
Villa Florence San Francisco on Union Square
What should be done to end scam hotel resort fees / second room rates in San Francisco?
The City of San Francisco should ban hotel resort fees. That would ensure that hotels can only advertise and tax one hotel room rate per night. It would also ensure that hotels are held to the same standard with advertising and taxing rates as home shares like Airbnb, Home Away and VRBO. Banning hotel resort fees would promote honesty in the San Francisco tourism industry and it would encourage tourists to actually stay in hotels where they can trust the advertised rate.