Display Changes Will Not Apply to Group Rates
What you see on your Bonvoy app is what you will get—including resort, destination and other fees—at the registration desk after May 15 if a promised shift in how prices are displayed goes through as required in a November, 2021 settlement with the State of Pennsylvania. The full room price will be displayed on all the company’s U.S. channels, including Marriott.com, the mobile app and voice reservations.
“Marriott International is committed to providing customers with clear and transparent pricing,” said Sara Conneighton, vice president of communications and consumer public relations, in an emailed statement. “We have long been focused on ensuring that any resort/destination fees charged by hotels are separately and clearly stated. We have been working diligently over the last several months on the technology required to update our room rate display and further enhance the way these fees are disclosed, in accordance with our agreement with the State of Pennsylvania.”
The settlement did not require online travel portals such as Expedia to change the way it displays rates. Conneighton said the display change does not include group rates.
A Transparency Trend?
Conneighton continued, “In fact, when we deploy our changes by May 15, 2023, we expect to be the first hospitality company to change its display, leading the industry on this important issue.”
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Will other brands follow suit and display prices inclusive of all fees? A Hyatt spokesperson contacted for a reaction this week said, “We are aware of this topic and that other companies may have indicated they will change the way they display resort fees. We are watching the industry closely and are actively exploring ways to provide even more transparency for our guests on rates, fees and inclusions.”
Jan Freitag, national director for hospitality analytics for the CoStar Group, saw the move as a positive, even if it was “forced.”
“From a consumer perspective the more transparency, the better,” he said. “ I think as long as the full price is displayed, including fees and other add-on charges, consumers are OK with it, because then they enter a contract fully informed. I think the issue comes up when people feel they encountered a bait-and-switch deal that turns out much more expensive than they thought.”
Freitag predicted that competitors will adopt the new approach with time. “I would not be surprised if other suppliers and online travel agencies will follow suit, just to level the playing field,” he said.