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From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Excessive Resort Fees can be Harmful to Orlando’s Economy

Image: Travelers United logo, www.travelersunited.org
Image: Travelers United logo, www.travelersunited.org

Anyone who has traveled in recent years knows how difficult it is to find the true cost of a hotel room when booking online, because “resort fees” are often revealed well into the booking process. These fees cover pool use, gym access, Wi-Fi, newspapers, and so on, whether the guest uses them or not.

Resort fees are illegal in many countries, and since 2016, 47 state attorneys general have sued various hotel chains, on the basis that they’re engaging in deceptive bait-and-switch tactics.

Lauren Wolfe of Travelers United, a consumer advocacy organization, says excessive resort fees can be especially harmful to an economy like Orlando’s, which is dependent on the hotel and lodging industry.

Wolfe warns against dismissing resort fees as an issue that only impacts tourists, pointing out that they could increase demand for Airbnb and other hotel alternatives.

While Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has yet to indicate whether her office will follow others in pursuing legal action against the fees, in a case she settled earlier this year regarding misleading fees by rental car companies, she said, “Companies owe it to their consumers to be upfront about all of their services and the prices and fees that accompany them.”

For now, that sentiment doesn’t seem to extend to Florida’s powerful lodging industry.