SOURCE: Travel Hawaii LLC

Travel Hawaii LLC

December 15, 2010 07:00 ET

Hawaii On-Track to Become the Resort Fee Capital of the World

Hawaii Hotels, Hit by Recession, Find Surreptitious Ways to Raise Nightly Rates

HONOLULU, HI--(Marketwire - December 15, 2010) - According to Travel Hawaii LLC, the number of Hawaii hotels charging dubious "resort fees" has increased from 16 to 28 over the past two years. Resort fees are mandatory daily charges of up to $26/night that are automatically added to guests' bills upon checkout, ostensibly to cover the costs of things that many other hotels include for free in their room rate, such as in-room coffee, local and 800 number phone calls, internet access, and fitness center access.

Travel Hawaii tracks all Hawaii hotels charging resort fees on their web site.

"At the very least such fees are anti-Aloha and disingenuous, and they leave a bad taste in many clients' mouths," said John Lindelow, owner of Travel Hawaii. "We and our clients greatly prefer hotel pricing that is transparent, without hidden or semi-hidden fees."

Only Las Vegas has more hotels with resort fees, and most of these came into being in the past 2-3 years in response to declining occupancies due to the U.S. recession. In Hawaii, the hotel room tax has increased by 2% over the past two years, providing even more impetus for hotels to "de-bundle" services to avoid paying taxes and travel agency commissions on that portion of guest charges. "We haven't done any computations as to how much the hotels are saving in taxes and commissions because of resort fees, but I'm sure it's many millions," said Lindelow.

"We had one client wryly suggest that hotels kick up their resort fee to $100/night and say that it paid for sheets, towels, toilet paper, and the locks on the doors," said Chris Freas, Travel Hawaii's Sales Manager.

The Starwood/Sheraton Hotels in Waikiki just started imposing resort fees this year. Formerly, these four hotels had separate charges for internet access and parking, and these are now included in the resort fee. "That makes at least some sense," said Freas, "since nearly everyone uses internet access, and many guests have their own rental cars."

Many top Hawaii resorts do not charge resort fees, and yet provide a host of free services that other hotels charge for in their resort fees. For example, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel provides the following free for all guests: Lei greeting and fresh tropical beverage on arrival, Internet and WiFi access, in-room coffee and bottled water, daily newspaper, in-room safe, valet and self-parking, and shuttle service.

Travel Hawaii makes sure that clients are fully informed about resort fees at the Hawaii hotels they book. Every web page for a hotel with a resort fee prominently displays the resort fee and what it provides. In addition, every client itinerary clearly lists the same information, so guests can be fully informed about the true cost of their stay.

About Travel Hawaii
Founded in 1997, Travel Hawaii has become a leading Internet booking service for consumers wishing to vacation in Hawaii. Travel Hawaii maintains sophisticated online booking systems and databases focused on Hawaii travel.

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