In yet another assault on the pocketbooks of visitors to Las Vegas, hotel resort fees continue to rise, with no end in sight.
Last month, MGM Resorts raised resort fees at five of its properties:
- Aria, from $32 to $35 per night
- Bellagio, from $32 to $35 per night
- Circus Circus, from $21 to $24 per night
- Luxor, from $26 to $29 per night
- Vdara, from $32 to $35 per night
Those increases, which average out at around 10 percent, follow similar hikes at five Caesars hotels earlier this year: Caesars Palace, Nobu, The Cromwell, Paris, and Planet Hollywood.
It’s worth mentioning that resort fees are subject to the same 12 percent tax as base room rates. And beginning in 2017, that tax rate will increase to 13.35 percent, so travelers will be paying as much as $39.67 extra, per night, for … what, exactly?
Resort Fees Are a Rip-off
Price increases are always a negative for consumers. Price increases for something which is arguably a rip-off to begin with are unconscionable at best.
As I’ve argued many times, mandatory resort fees are a gouge and a misrepresentation, a fundamentally dishonest way to keep published prices low while forcing consumers to pay higher rates. They should either be outlawed altogether, or, what amounts to the same thing, folded into the published room rate.
With a president-elect who is an avowed free marketer with an enormous financial stake in the hotel industry, there’s unlikely to be any government pressure to do away with resort fees for at least the next four years.
As an investor, I’m bullish on hotel stocks. As a traveler, though, I’m less inclined than ever to spend my money on stays at hotels, at least at those hotels that charge resort fees.
Reader Reality Check
How do you feel about paying as much as $40 extra a night for amenities you might never use, and which should be included in the base rate anyway?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.