Travel Insider Readers Totally Contradict AHLA Claims

In our last newsletter, we asked you to share your thoughts and preferences about hotel resort fees.  The results were interesting, and in total conflict to the claims of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

The AHLA says they surveyed guests and discovered that more than half want a mandatory resort fee to be separated out from the basic room rate, rather than to be included in it.  That statement had the distinctly malodorous smell of bull excrement about it, so we asked you to give us your preferences, and offered three choices.  A mandatory resort fee, an all inclusive rate, or an ‘a la carte’ series of optional charges for the particular services you chose to avail yourself of.

We should introduce our results by saying that Travel Insider readers are not only well educated and mid/higher level income, and middle age or older, they’re also very frequent travelers.  Indeed, as reported by survey respondents, the median number of nights they stay in hotels each year is just over 16 nights, with 18% of people staying more than 36 nights.

These are the sorts of guests hotels are keen to secure.  Their opinions are important.

Travel Insiders stay many nights each year in hotels
Travel Insiders stay many nights each year in hotels.


Now for the results.  Only one single person – about 0.2% of all respondents – said they wanted a resort fee, and in our incredulous emailed discussion with this person to see if possibly he had misunderstand the options, our feeling is that his preference for ‘the convenience of everything included’ actually means that he should have chosen a preference for an all-inclusive rate rather than the mandatory resort fee on top of a base rate.

Almost no-one wants to pay a resort fee.
Almost no-one wants to pay a resort fee.


Where is any hint of the AHLA’s claim that more than half of all guests want to be stung by the petty pain of a mandatory resort fee?  Nowhere to be found.  The single respondent who (possibly mistakenly) prefers paying resort fees is such a small percentage of the total survey responses that he represents too thin a slice of the above pie to even appear.

It was interesting to see how people tended to increasingly prefer all-inclusive rates, based on how many nights a year they stay at hotels.


More frequent stayers prefer all inclusive rates.
More frequent stayers prefer all inclusive rates.

To summarise, the AHLA’s claim that its member properties offer mandatory resort fees because that is what their guests want seems to be completely unfounded in fact and totally contradicted by this survey.

2 thoughts on “Travel Insider Readers Totally Contradict AHLA Claims”

  1. Mary Ann Fogarty

    I have a spa membership at a property in Phoenix. This gives me permission to use the health club, pools, attend fitness classes, and to use the resort as a guest would. I also receive discounts for some products and meals. However, when an emergency arose at home and I needed a room for the night–I was advised that my room rate would have a resort fee attached. I explained that I had paid a hefty membership fee and paid dues monthly for just the services included in the resort fee. After a consultation with someone–I was advised that the resort fee would not be waived. I had stated that I would not book the room unless the resort fee was waived. And, I did not book the room.
    How brazen can they be? See above.
    Mary Ann Fogarty
    Phoenix Az

  2. An organization on whose board I serve is able to negotiate away the resort fee for our conventions. That’s the only benefit I can think of for having it be a separate charge. Bill McCloskey; Bethesda, Md.

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