Proposed Federal Legislation H.R. 4489 Would Make Undisclosed Vegas Resort Fees Illegal

Everyone loves resort fees, right? Or is that just what the hotels tell us...For those that are new to resort fees, it works like this. You book a room for an awesome rate of $89! You show up, and upon check-in, you’re informed you have to pay an additional $29 in “resort fees.” As you start to boil over, you’re reminded that these fees help to pay for “additional services” like the gym, pool, and whatever else the hotel wants to wrap under that umbrella.

The problem with resort fees is they are not optional. You’re $89 room is effectively $118, over 30% higher in this example. The obvious question is why not just list the room for $118? This is what House of Representatives Bill 4489 is aiming to achieve.

Introduced on September 25, 2019, the bill is known as the Hotel Advertising Transparency Act of 2019.  The bill was introduced by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). With bipartisan support from the get-go, the bill shows a lot of promise of getting passed into law. If passed, the bill would force Vegas hotels (and all other hotels around the country) to disclose all fees at the time of booking. Basically, you wouldn’t see our example hotel room listed for $89, but you would see it listed for $118.

Is this going to save you money? Maybe. If the additional services really cost the hotel the extra $10-$50 then you’re going to see it tacked onto the price. But, if those numbers are inflated and guests are reluctant to pay them when they know about them upfront, you may see them drop. This will ultimately be up to the hotel properties. But, they wouldn’t be able to keep them obscured until you’re standing in the hotel lobby with all your bags and no choice but to pay.

Bill H.R. 4489 is not trying to scrooge over the hotels and force them to give guests services for free. All they are trying to do is make sure you know what your total bill is going to be when you book your room. Is that really too much to ask?

Current resort fees on the Vegas strip range from around $15 up to $45.

A full transcript of the new bill can be found here.