What Does Half Off a Resort Fee Get You? A Hotel Promotion to Avoid

May 28, 2019

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Over the past year, we have noticed that resort fees are getting out of control. Between “resort fees” at hotels that are decidedly not resorts (looking at you Best Western Disney Springs) and “destination fees” that add no added value (like close to 100 hotels in New York City), hotels are finding more and more creative ways to sneak in extra revenue. We’re even seeing resort fee charges levied per person instead of per room. 

Just when we think the race to bottom has been won, another hotel charges ahead with something that makes you turn your head. Today’s entrant into the hall of shame is the SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino (which used to be in the SPG family), who sent out this promotion over the weekend:

Perhaps a sale that includes no resort fees is one thing, but a “special rate” that takes just half off the fee, is almost amusing. Heck, the fact that a resort fee is so high that half off it is a measurable discount is laughable by itself. Making the discounted resort fee promotion unique to “insiders” just pours salt on the wound.

That got us here at TPG to thinking. Let’s take a look at what the SLS resort fee promises and ask the question:

Screen shot via SLS

What Does a Half-Off Resort Fee Get You?

  • The resort fee promises “in-room internet access.” Our guess is that a half-off fee gets you dial-up.
Image via Wikicommons
  • How exactly do you get half off local and toll-free phone calls? Maybe you only get one call, just as you do when you get arrested.
  • Pool and fitness center access. The fitness center is open 6am–7pm. Maybe you get to use it only from 6–9am (which really is great Vegas people-watching time). The SLS has three pools, so perhaps you’d get to use one and a half of them, or maybe the shallow-ends only.
Pool at the SLS Hotel (Photo courtesy of hotel)
  • Concierge services: A half-off concierge will book lunch reservations for you, but not dinner.
  • Valet and self-parking. Maybe the valet pulls the car half-way around for you?
  • Perhaps housekeeping will only make up one of the two (tiny) beds in the room?
SLS Las Vegas (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

We certainly hope other hotels don’t follow suit here with the bogus half-off fees promotions, but if they do, I see single bottles of water, kayak rentals with no paddles and hand towels instead of full-sized towels available by the pool.

How Does This End?

The only vote we have here is with our wallets. Hotels will only change their practices because consumers make them. Booking.com is at least making resort fees more transparent in response to customer complaints (and decreased commissions). Here at TPG, we will keep shining a light on the most egregious offenders in the hopes our hall of shame will affect some improvements to the resort fee abuse.

For more about resort fees:

Featured image by Rebecca Ang / Getty Images

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