HONOLULU(KHON2) — President Joe Biden and the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are planning to crack down on resort fees they claim are hidden from the public.
Those in Hawaii’s hotel industry said the fees are not hidden and eliminating them will likely drive up room costs.
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Coming to Hawaii for vacation can be expensive. Hotel accommodations cost anywhere from $90 to several thousands a night, not including a resort fee, which many hotels tack on for amenities.
Lynette Eastman, general manager at the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Waikiki said there is value to resort fees.
“It could be anything from parking to food and beverage, to bottle water,” said Eastman.
President Biden said he wants to get rid of what he calls “junk fees” like resort fees, that are hidden from the public.
There are about 100 hotels in Waikiki. According to Kekoa McClellan, spokesperson for the American Hotel and lodging association, most of them do charge a resort fee, but he said they’re upfront about it.
“When a resort fee is applied, they are clearly and prominently displayed at a hotel website prior to the end of the booking process,” said McClellan.
“Were you aware that you were going to be charged a fee coming here?” KHON2 asked Candace and Abe Esfahanian who were visiting from California.
“We were,” said the Esfahanians. “They told us when we went to our travel agent.”
Eastman said customers can choose to stay at a hotel that doesn’t charge a fee.
“You can choose which hotels have the resort fee and items that you may want,” Eastman explained. “I think it gives the consumer the opportunity to get educated and check the websites and know what’s in that fee. “
No one likes extra fees, but some visitors, like Jim Venable, don’t think eliminating resort fees will make a difference.
“If they get rid of them, then everybody has to raise their prices,” Venable explained. “So you got to pay it somewhere, eventually we pay, otherwise they go out of business.”
Eastman said it will drive up costs.
“I don’t think it’s a great idea at all (to eliminate resort fees). What will happen is that the room rates will be high,” Eastman explained.
Rep. Richard Onishi (D), the Chair of the Labor and Tourism Committee said the changes won’t happen overnight
“There’s still a way to go before rules and how it’s going to be managed and determined how to look at it,” said Onishi. “What actually constitutes these fees for all kinds of different entities will be administered.”
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Biden also wants to eliminate concert ticket fees and banking fees.