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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Harrah's rejects resort fees.

Circus Circus in Reno started advertising against these insidious fees.  Now Harrah's has taken a stand in Vegas:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/jan/05/harrahs-uses-resort-fees-take-swing-competitors/

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Here is a blogpost reaction:


http://lasvegasblog.harrahs.com/las-vegas-hotels/more-bang-for-your-bucks-no-resort-fees/ 

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Negative responses say, "They will just roll the fees into their rates"
Uh...........Yep, I guess they will........this is what we've all been asking that they do.
Here is my response:

No one is suggesting the casino hotels shouldn't charge for the rooms and amenities, only that the price is upfront and not in the fine print. Easy comparison, upfront pricing and no surprises.

Then if the LVA newsletter or other news agency reports how low Vegas hotel rates have dropped, their information will not be skewed by a failure to take in resort fees in the mathematics.

Then if there is a thread, say, the low rates at Hooters, folks won't be debating whether it is a good deal or not for a Dozen posts before it is clear to everyone that the cost of the room is 42% higher due to fine print resort fees and all the time spent discussing the value of the "Sale" was based on the wrong figure.

Then the folks who want to exercise or have internet can see that rolled into the price of some hotels, and decide on a hotel that offers it, or consider the optional charge for the service upfront at others and buy it or not.

Then when shopping for hotel rates on any number of discount broker sites, the advertised price will be, well, the real price, the low to high ranked price charts on these discount sites will offer some bit of credibility.
Also, the discounter won't have to have a long list of casinos with and without Resort Fees so the consumer can spend more time doing unnecessary mathematical adjustments, trying to determine which Resort Fee is taxed and which is not. Three discounters now report different resort fees for Circus Circus while their own desk clerks say there is none. Who knows what is true?

Then when newbies or the inexperienced or the uninformed book a hotel room, they won't get surprised on check in or check out by fine print trickery.

Then when a room is booked, it is booked; folks won't have to consider whether that casino "grandfather's" in the emergence of new Resort Fees or a raise in fees or whether they just automatically charge a resort fee when it emerges to everyone, regardless of when they booked.

Then a class action lawsuit will not be necessary to get back the Resort Fee that was undisclosed. If there is one price, then it will be the price. No confusion. No unnecessary litigation.

Then when a room is comped, it will be free. No one will have to have their play evaluated by a host to see if the remaining 40% of the room is also comped at that particular place for their particular play. Free post card offers will actually offer free rooms. Seems simple.

Then when it is time to check out, we can actually use the fast check out rather than take our preprinted agreement on charges to the counter and compare it to the actual charges and wait fifteen minutes for a "suit" to waive the resort fee.

So go ahead Vegas casinos. Roll them into the prices. They were a deceptive trick posted in the fine print to catch the unsuspecting. Put the charges for the hotel upfront. I don't see anything bad about about knowing upfront what we have agreed to pay and having that honored even if we are drunk, distracted, forgetful, or in a hurry at check out. Keep the poker playing strategies for the poker tables. We don't need them when booking.

It sure will save a great deal of booking time, comparison shopping, sharing of deals on forums, and checking in and out.

Responses to the news:

http://www.elliott.org/blog/no-resort-fee-its-big-news-in-las-vegas-baby/

1 comment:

Doug said...

Thanks for this interesting and useful blog. I first remember seeing these around 2001-2002 after the California energy crisis as an "energy surcharge" in Reno casino hotels. I am an analyst in the electric power industry and can tell you that this may or may not be legitimate; the hotels likely did have some exposure to rising power prices, but it does not change the fact that they should have just incorporated this cost into their base rates as they had previously done will all other fluctuating costs. This term continued long after the energy crisis ended and energy prices fell below what they were even before the crisis, which completely undermined any shred of legitimacy it may have had. At some point, maybe around 2007 or so, they finally dropped the "energy" term and called it the resort surcharge. In any case, your analysis is correct. When I buy a gallon of gas, they charge me what the cost of production is, not a deflated price plus an energy or facility surcharge.

My family stayed at Harrahs Reno over Christmas and I was genuinely surprised not to have paid an energy surcharge, as every other casino there charges one. I previously didn't care much for Harrahs and selected it based on price alone, but was pleasantly surprised by this, and the fact that they threw in a crib (common) and rollaway bed (uncommon) for my kids, free of charge. Their gambling is above my pay grade, but I went across the street to a divey casino where I felt very much at home, playing $3 21 where I could get 3:2 naturals and double down on anything.