Bipartisan Senate bill aims to enhance transparency in travel industry pricing.
A new bipartisan Senate bill, the "Hotel Fees Transparency Act," seeks to make hotel pricing more transparent by ensuring that consumers are better protected from hidden costs and made aware of the total cost of their stay, including any additional fees, at the time of booking.
This move is in response to the growing concern over hidden charges that often surprise guests upon checkout.
Hotel resort fees
Hotels began charging resort fees as early as 1997, covering amenities like pool towels and fitness centre access. While some transparency has been introduced since an FTC action in 2012, these fees remain a point of contention for many consumers.
Too often, Americans making reservations online are being met with hidden fees that make it difficult to compare prices and understand the true cost of an overnight stay.
The Council of Economic Advisers highlighted the prevalence of junk fees in various sectors, from concert tickets to hotel stays, illustrating the challenges they pose to consumers and competition.
Drip pricing in travel
Another significant concern is "drip pricing," where additional costs are added during the shopping process. This practice often leads to consumers paying more than the initially advertised price.
This is particularly common in the travel sector, where additional charges such as baggage and seat selection are standard practice. In fact, data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reveals that in 2021, US airlines amassed a staggering US$5.3 billion solely from baggage fees.