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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Resort fees spread and rise

El Cortez has a new one.
Venetian and Palazzo moved from optional to mandatory
Tuscany, Circus Circus, and Hooters raised fees
Boyd places downtown have the words in fine print on booking sites.  No fees yet.
Plaza raised theirs.

There have been a few articles floating around speculating that hotels are considering dropping the idea of resort fees. Some speculate that the FTC may ban them So far they have only said that the fees "might" be deceptive.
Most of this seems to be focused on the "drip pricing" bait and switch techniques rather than on fully revealed resort fees.
However, I don't see any trend anywhere in Vegas away from fees.
It is just the opposite. The fees must work to the benefit of the casinos because they are a growing trend. Those places that did market away from mandatory fees, then seem to reverse themselves, like Venetian and Palazzo recently dropping optional fees for mandatory fees.
For coupon and frugal deal followers the fees tend to erode any benefit offered, watering down what become pretend discounts.

Resort fees by themselves are generally more than I have been paying for rooms. They add a huge percentage increase to frugal bookings.
And the entire process becomes a maze when booking because each casino does something slightly different. So each booking needs to be meticulously sorted out directly with a casino on the phone and names taken both at the time of booking and at the time of confirmations. I'd also suggest making at least two confirmation calls, one a week after booking and another a couple weeks before arriving.
Double booking isn't a bad idea. Then you can do a last minute cancel on any place that gives you different information than what you expected or changes the deal after you have booked.
In each confirmation, check the amount of the fee being charged and take names.
And book directly whenever possible rather than with a discounter. That has always been a good idea.
The biggest violation in all of this is that casinos are abandoning the old idea that we will be taken care of and substituting the idea that they are out to take advantage of us even in the room deal. This was always true in the gambling area where we knew the slots were out to bleed us, but we did not think we needed used car buying skills when booking a room until now.

For those wishing to avoid the entire confusion:
Super 8 there on Koval near the strip still offers all the amenities and no resort fees. Boyd shuttles leave from just across the street and a short distance away.
Eastside Cannery out Boulder has great rooms, no resort fees, most amenities including wifi and some of the best VP in Vegas. Seniors there can get $10 off rack rates, so many nights rooms can be had for $40 for seniors with just a phone call.
So far 4 Queens has not even rumored they will charge resort fees downtown.
And Laughlin is pretty much resort fee free and cheap.

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