Among the few in the industry who spoke up against resort fees was Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal.
He mentioned that “the company is committed to price transparency, and therefore opposes the practice of adding on resort fees to advertised rates at the end of the booking process.”
Most casino resorts in Las Vegas are charging a resort fee now a day. The resort fee covers amenities offered by the casino such as Wi-Fi, a fitness centre, access to printing, and the daily newspaper.
Virgin Hotel Las Vegas will become the first major casino that does not charge resort fees. A marketing weapon that Virgin will be able to use against its fellow Southern Nevada competitors.
It is worth noting that the increase in rates took effect a couple of months after the CEO of Caesars Entertainment told Wall Street analysts that “rising resort fees are something the chain needs to be a little bit cautious about. ’’
He also affirmed during the company’s quarterly earnings conference last Augusts that “resort fees are a revenue stream that’s hard to walk away from.’’
Resort Fee rises over the years
Over the years, there has been a noticeable increase in resort fees. Vdara, Bellagio, and Aria had their resorts fees increased to $39 by MGM in March 2018.
Other mid-tier properties like the MGM Grand, The Mirage, and Mandalay Bay raised their fees by $37. There was an increase of $5 seen at Luxor and Excalibur which shot from $30 – $35. That`s what makes Virgin Hotel’s strategy even more interesting and at the same time problematic for its competitors.
The increments were not received positively since they came a few months after the October 2017 mass shooting. A time were the Las Vegas community was pleading for support from tourists.
Frequent visitors to Las Vegas have also expressed their dissatisfaction. They called the fees deterring and in some cases exaggerated. For instance, a Southern Nevada regular visitor told Casino.org that due to the add-on fees, his golf group had opted to seek out Airbnb properties. This is because they could no longer stay in the casinos.
According to Casino.org, “Resort fees are littered up and down the Strip, now as high as $45 per day at luxury properties. This includes Wynn, Encore, Venetian, Palazzo, Aria, Caesars Palace, and Bellagio.”
On the other hand, there are about 15 hotels in Las Vegas that do not charge resort fees. These include the Mar-riot Las Vegas, Casino Royale Best Western, Lucky Club in North Las Vegas, and Four Queen downtown.
New Legislation demanding transparency
A Legislation is being pushed in Congress to federally require hoteliers to advertise the cost of a room inclusive of all fees at the first stage of the booking process.
“Consumers should be able to enjoy their vacation without being ripped off and financially burdened,” bill sponsor Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) said. “This bill would require that the prices advertised by hotels and online travel agencies must include all mandatory fees that will be charged to a consumer, excluding taxes.”