by Shadia Cook
A: Most planners who have booked events at resorts are familiar with a little thing called the “resort fee,” which can range from $10 per day on up. Generally, resort fees are non-negotiable, unlike other expenses such as room rates, meeting room rental, and so forth. Those who are unfamiliar with these fees - or who simply don’t understand them - may find them to be unreasonable or consider them just another source of revenue for the resort.
In reality, resort fees are designed to cover the costs of many onsite services offered. Most resort fees include expenses such as internet access in guestrooms, daily newspapers, telephone calls, in-room coffee service, and use of pools, fitness centers, etc.
Why not just include resort fees in the room rates? Room rates are one of the most-negotiated pieces of the meetings puzzle. With the ability to negotiate room rates based on an overall group’s revenue, sales staff can better meet the needs of individual groups, while a set, non-negotiable resort fee is broken out internally to cover the various costs that provide the onsite services groups are using.
Ed Svitak, director of sales and marketing at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, WI, sees his property’s resort fee as an affordable option to experience the resort.
“Our $15 per day resort fee is added per room, per night, not per person,” Svitak explains. “These fees include a lot of added value. If you were to price the amenities a la carte, it could be $30 to 50 a day and be prohibitive for guests to stay with us. In addition to some of the basic amenities, such as internet, phone, and fitness center, we also include valet parking and trolley rides around the resort. Often, parking alone is $15 per day. There are two bottled waters per night in each room, [for which] other hotels might charge $4 to $6 per bottle. These fees are basically covering these expenses [and] the staff handling these areas.”
Bottom line: resort fees actually provide savings for most groups!
Shadia Cook is a contributing author for Midwest Meetings. Want to get in touch? Email Shadia!