Marriott Lawsuit Reveals $220 Million Profit from Resort Fees Since 2012
Recently unsealed documents from a 2019 lawsuit against Marriott allege that the company makes millions from resort fees every year.
Marriott hotels collected more than $220 million in resort fees dating since 2012. Its self-managed resorts made $66 million in 2012, $82 million in 2013 and $58 million through half of 2014, just from resort fees. The lawsuit filings reveals how lucrative resort fees are. This information is rarely available, since these fees aren’t normally listed as a separate item in companies’ filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
These fees normally range from $9 to $95 and are not included in the advertised price of a room. Resort fees, or destination fees, originated in the 1990s at beachside properties and other resorts to cover costs such as free beach towels. But now they are widely used in many destinations. The additional costs are supposed to cover additional services such as Wi-Fi, parking, pool and gym access and more. These were services that were already included in the price of the room before the introduction of resort fees.
More than 180 Marriott properties charge resort fees, according to District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine’s office. Prosecutors in Washington, D.C., say Marriott violates consumer-protection laws by failing to disclose resort fees upfront, only revealing the added cost during the booking process.
The next hearing for the case is scheduled for March, WSJ reports. Then the court will decide whether to issue a summary judgment on the lawsuit or proceed to trial.