Marriott CEO concedes consumers don’t ‘love’ resort fees but they’re here to stay

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson.

Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson has held his ground over the practice of charging ‘resort fees’ despite being currently sued over alleged “price deception”.

A lawsuit was filed in Washington, D.C., with D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine alleging the hotel giant makes “hundreds of millions of dollars” using an unlawful practice called “drip pricing, against over alleged “price deception” regarding its practice of charging resort fees.

Speaking in an interview with LinkedIn Editor in Chief Dan Roth, Sorenson said he doesn’t think the practice is going away, saying they will “obviously fight” the lawsuit.

“We think it’s wrong,” he said. “It’s well disclosed, and we’ll go through it.”

“You’ve got resort fees in hotels, baggage fees in airlines. None of us as consumers necessarily love it. What we’ve tried to do is be very transparent with disclosure.

“Because from the first moment, when resort fees were first started a decade ago, they were a way of saying let’s fold in the waterfront, paddleboard rental, or the bike rental, or other things that are a part of the package.

“Our approach generally, for each hotel, is to have a package of things included at each hotel that is a multiple of the cost of the fee. At many hotels, that may include food and beverage credit, which is equal to or even more than the resort fee. I think a lot of folks look at that and say philosophically, ‘Yeah, I can understand it. I might not have asked Marriott to charge me that, but I can understand why it’s happening.’”

The practice of charging customers a resort fee which can include access to gyms, rooftop bars, swimming pools, casino credits, transportation, newspapers, and water bottles in rooms is here to stay, according to Sorenson.

“I don’t think the fees are going away,” he said. “We do want to make sure that we’re continuing to deliver value for them, and you can only do that in some markets, and in some hotels. So I don’t anticipate we will end up with these fees in every hotel, and in markets where there is no extra features for guests.”