Search Rankings Lowered For Hotels Which Charge Resort Fees: Expedia Group

Hotel and resort properties which add mandatory resort fees per night to base room rates have been dealt another blow this week, as Expedia Group began to lower their listings down the sort order of search results at its official Expedia.com and Hotels.com Internet web sites.

Search Rankings Lowered For Hotels Which Charge Resort Fees: Expedia Group

Hilton La Romana

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

In addition to artificially lowering the room rate for comparison purposes with the competition by potential customers and therefore intentionally obfuscating the true total cost of a stay to them, mandatory resort fees have also been vehicles for hotel and resort properties to avoid paying commissions to travel agencies.

Initially attracted by a deceptively lower room rate which has been published and advertised, potential customers currently must start the reservation booking process with each hotel and resort property before they finally find out that a mandatory resort fee, facilities fee or destination fee is being added onto the cost of a stay. This consumes a significant amount of time for the customer who seeks lodging accommodations.

The aforementioned action by Expedia is designed to improve both its own financial bottom line and transparency to its customers pertaining to the total price they expect to pay for a stay — whether or not a hotel or resort property charges mandatory resort fees in addition to base room rates. Additionally, this new policy helps to better level the playing field for all of its accommodation partners.

“Whether or not other travel agencies will follow suit is unknown at this time — except for Expedia, which multiple sources have reported is considering following the lead of Booking.com — but if they do, will hotel and resort properties which impose resort fees as a mandatory addition to advertised room rates pass on the increased cost of commissions to their customers?” was the question asked in this article pertaining to four reasons why mandatory resort fees may finally be disappearing, which was posted here at The Gate on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

Since that article was written and posted, Booking.com started charging an additional commission to hotel and resort properties which impose a mandatory resort fee on their guests in select areas around the world — but implementation of this policy in the United States was reportedly delayed until Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

Unfortunately, the new policy implemented by Expedia is not exactly perfect. “Not everyone supports Expedia’s middle-of-the-road action on resort fees”, according to this article written by Dennis Schaal for Skift. “After all, Expedia isn’t forcefully calling on hotels to be more transparent, and isn’t including resort fees in the basic room rate that its customers see online, but Expedia is indeed forcing some hotel listings into the netherworld of pages two, three or four on its sites.”

Summary

Hilton La Romana

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Do not expect for that blow to be significant, as the adding of resort fees is only one of a set of many criteria which determines the algorithm of how high up the list of search results a hotel or resort property appears with Expedia. Other factors which determine the placement of a hotel or resort property on the list of search results include — but are not limited to — its quality, its popularity, the room rate, and the amount of compensation which Expedia receives from the hotel or resort property.

Even so, this is still another factor in which charging resort fees becomes less favorable to a hotel or resort property than before. Every little bit helps, in my opinion.

That I vehemently oppose the implementation of mandatory resort fees, facilities fees and now destination fees is no secret to you if you have been a reader of The Gate for years — they should either be optional or eliminated altogether — and I will just let this extensive body of work over the years pertaining to mandatory resort fees speak for me…

All photographs ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

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