Hawaii Hotels Will Collect $271M in “Resort Fees” This Year
New Study by Travel-Hawaii.com Reveals Rush of Hawaii Hotels to Implement the Fees
News Release from Travel-Hawaii.com
HONOLULU, HI -- Dec 2, 2015 - According to a new study conducted by Travel-Hawaii.com, the 102 Hawaii hotels currently charging so-called "Resort Fees" are expected to collect around $271 million dollars in such mandatory fees in 2015 from their guests. With more Hawaii hotels almost tripping over themselves to implement such fees, and hotels that already have resort fees gradually raising them, this annual number is expected to grow significantly larger every year.
The study calculated each hotel's annual take of resort fees by multiplying the hotel's resort fee by the number of rooms at the hotel, then by 365 (number of days in the year) and then by the average estimated occupancy for the hotel, based on percentages in the 2014 State of Hawaii Data Book. A full table of the 102 hotels and their resort fee data can be found on the study's web page here: http://Travel-Hawaii.com/hawaii-resort-fee-study.html
Travel-Hawaii.com has tracked the rise of Resort Fees since their inception around 2005. In 2007 just 12 Hawaii hotels had resort fees. Today there are 102. Travel-Hawaii.com maintains an extensive database of Hawaii hotel information, including a webpage dedicated to Hawaii hotel resort fees which can be found here: http://Travel-Hawaii.com/hawaiiresortfees.html.
"Resort Fees are intrinsically deceptive," said Travel-Hawaii.com's owner John Lindelow, "because the hotels don't include them upfront in their pricing and instead charge them when clients are checking out. That's why we think of them as Anti-Aloha Spirit." Travel-Hawaii.com makes sure that their clients know about each hotel's resort fees with prominent information on each hotel's web page, on guest itineraries, and in emails to clients. And they highlight hotels that don't charge resort fees by displaying "No Resort Fee" next to rates for these hotels.
So why do Hawaii hotels charge resort fees? "Probably," said Lindelow, "because they can get away with it. Hawaii tourism is currently strong so tourists are going to come anyway, even though they don't like such fees."
There's other financial reasons as well, on top of the $271 million in the fees themselves. First, the hotels can pretend to have a lower rate than they actually do, thus putting them at a competitive advantage to other hotels that don't have resort fees yet provide the same services for free. Second, by "unbundling" part of their guest charges, hotels can avoid paying the State of Hawaii's 9.25% "Transient Accommodation Tax" on what they collect in resort fees. Thus, based on the $271M that Hawaii hotels will charge in resort fees this year, the State of Hawaii is losing out on $25.1M in taxes. Third, they can avoid paying commission to travel agencies and online booking companies on amounts that would normally be part of their room rate, since they are charging the resort fee to the guest direct at the hotel (an additional savings of between $27M and $54M for the hotels).
Hawaii's hotels should take warning, however. A national movement against Resort Fees has begun in earnest as highlighted on this web site: http://hotelfees.travelersunited.org/. "This is great news," said Lindelow, "finally the FTC and State Attorney Generals and tax departments are starting to pay attention."
Founded in 1997, Travel-Hawaii.com is a leading Internet booking service for consumers wishing to vacation in Hawaii. Travel-Hawaii.com maintains sophisticated online booking systems and databases focused on Hawaii travel.