MGM Resorts International increased resort fees by $6 at three of its Las Vegas Strip properties, as of Aug 1.
According to a statement from MGM, Aria Resort & Casino, Bellagio Hotel and Casino, and Vdara Hotel and Spa adjusted their respective resort fees from $39 to $45.
The new policy matches resort fees already in place at sister properties Wynn-Encore, The Palazzo, and The Venetian, plus the Waldorf-Astoria.
With tax, the total resort fee for all three properties is now $51.02.
Decisions on pricing, the company said, are based on local and nationwide marketplace standards, including the bundled costs of amenities and services included with a stay.
“We are constantly evaluating prices to ensure they properly reflect the business landscape and the services and amenities they support,” Brian Ahern, director of corporate media relations at MGM Resorts, said in a statement to Travel Market Report.
MGM said these changed resort fees at its high-end properties “are comparable with other luxury resorts’ fees in Las Vegas.”
Resort fees bundle services and amenities, including access to gyms, rooftop bars, swimming pools, casino credits, transportation, newspapers, and water bottles in rooms.
Advisors tackle fee proliferation
Resort fees in the hotel industry can hurt a travel advisors’ business. For one, they are not commissionable, and do not count toward booking volume, despite adding up over time.
Another aspect, noted Stacey Ray, CEO of Groupit Travel, is that some hotels have specials for frequent travelers where, if they book direct, the fees are waived.
“That’s an immediate, ‘Why should I book through you, when I can save money booking for myself?’” Ray said. “It also can create a sense of distrust between the client and the travel advisor because they don’t understand why we cannot waive the fees.”
To quell any concerns, Ray and her team let clients know in advance, in writing, that the fees are additional and are paid at the hotel or resort. “We make sure the clients know that these fees are beyond our control and that it is simply an additional revenue source for the property, just as the add-ons are with the airlines.”
Attorneys general argue fees ‘mislead’ consumers
Nebraska and the District of Columbia attorneys general have recently filed lawsuits against resort fees, alleging two major hotel groups of hiding the “true price” of hotel rooms from consumers and charging hidden resort fees to increase profits – the unlawful practice of “drip pricing.”
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson filed a lawsuit against Hilton for its use of “deceptive” resort fees. Two weeks earlier, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine filed a similar lawsuit against Marriott International.
Peterson’s lawsuit specifically highlighted a Hilton hotel in Las Vegas, noting that a night at the Tropicana will appear to cost $95 a night. It alleges the price is “deceptively low” because the property charges an additional $37 per night resort fee that is added onto the room rate, which is not disclosed on the search results page.
In the lawsuit against Marriott, Racine said, “This is a straightforward price-deception case.” The lawsuit also alleges Marriott took part in drip pricing, “making hundreds of millions of dollars.”