Transparency be thy name

Unintended or not, consumers will not stand for being misled by hotels that hide resort or other fees until check-in, or even worse, check-out. And now the U.S. hotel industry is being called to the carpet by a government agency for “drip pricing.” While industry leaders are reacting with some initial surprise, you had to see this one coming.

Don’t blame third-party agents that do not list these fees upfront to compete as effectively as they can. Hotel companies need to shoulder all the blame here because at the end of the day they are responsible for any and all published rates.

A portion of the industry has finally been caught with its hand in the cookie jar, and now it has to react. It should either fold these fees into the rate, which I doubt it will do at a time when even luxury guests are price-sensitive, or become more transparent.

Be upfront, and at the very least offer options or tiers of resort services because often guests do not even use these services. The alternative is to tarnish your reputation, even if it does cost you some revenue. Which is worse?

The Federal Trade Commission will be watching and appears ready to react to those that do not do a better job of disclosing all fees. Failure on the industry’s part will lead to greater regulation, which no one wants to see.