How to avoid hidden hotel and resort fees

We are talking about fees that claim to be associated with a so-called resort, even if you are not staying at one.

Lauren Wolfe booked a hotel in Key West and was fine with the price but says she never noticed something.

"I was shocked that after paying $400 online, I needed to give them an extra $20 in the name of a resort fee," Wolfe said.

A resort fee, otherwise known as a destination or amenity fee, can add anywhere from a few dollars a day, to hundreds of dollars to your overall hotel bill.

But what exactly is a resort fee? A hotel industry expert explains.

Mark Van Stekelenburg from the CBRE Hotels' Americas Research said, "Resort fees are a tool that has been created within the hotel industry for hotels to bundle a series of services or amenities."

While you might expect to pay fees for access to things like day spas and fitness centers at upscale hotels, the website shows some average-priced hotels are charging resort fees for everything from newspapers to housekeeping.

Action News reached out to the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Travel experts told us "80 percent of consumers say they're willing to pay resort fees if the amenities are worth it." The association also says hotels comply with FTC guidelines "to clearly disclose all fees before a room is booked."

But Lauren says she didn't find it so easy. She was so frustrated by her own experience, she started a consumer website to share tips on how to fight resort fees.

Forty-seven state attorney generals served a subpoena to one major hotel group over perceived resort fee abuses.

To find out if a certain hotel charges a resort fee, check out our new ABC30 News App.
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