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Coronavirus: Las Vegas hotels raise resort fees to record levels as outbreak triggers fall in bookings

On some bookings, the extra charge is now more than the basic room rate

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 03 March 2020 11:23 GMT
Harrah's Las Vegas is one of the hotels raising its resort fee
Harrah's Las Vegas is one of the hotels raising its resort fee (Getty Images)

Guests checking into four Las Vegas hotels from today onwards will be asked to pay extra. The increase in resort fees is believed to be as a result of the coronavirus scare, which has led to a downturn in business.

Fees will increase at Bally's Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah's Las Vegas and The Linq. They are all part of the Caesars Group.

Hotels use resort fees, which typically add around £30 to the nightly room rate, to disguise the true cost of a stay.

By keeping the basic rate low, hotels look more appealing on price-comparison sites, and also reduce the amount of commission paid to intermediaries.

Resort fees are most widespread in Las Vegas and New York City, with many properties in California and Florida also adding charges.

At Bally’s Las Vegas, double rooms for the night of 3 March are on sale for just $35 (£27). Up until today, the resort fee was another $35. But that has now increased to $37, exceeding the basic rate.

Once tax is applied to both the room rate and the resort fee, the cost of a room more than doubles to $81.50 (£64).

The properties justify the fee by saying it covers “premium wifi”, access to the fitness centre and local telephone calls.

The US Federal Trade Commission estimates that one in 14 American hotels now imposes a resort fee, making about £2bn in a year.

Attorneys-general in many states, but not Nevada, say the practice is unlawful and that guests can reclaim resort fees.

A UK property that is part of Donald Trump’s portfolio, the Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire, briefly added a resort fee of £20 per night in March 2018, until The Independent pointed out that it broke UK pricing rules.

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