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What are Las Vegas resort fees?

One of travelers’ top complaints about Las Vegas comes down to a seemingly small fee: the resort fee.

Direct booking and travel service sites don’t include this additional fee – sometimes up to $50 – in the advertised room rate for resorts on the Strip and beyond. But nearly all major properties now have the additional charge.

But what do they actually cover, and how can someone get out of paying the fee?

Resort fees are a tacked-on rate during the booking process that covers additional amenities at a property, often including high speed wi-fi, fitness center access, news subscriptions and premium TV options.

Amanda Belarmino, a hospitality professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said resort fees used to service bigger amenities, such as pools and pickleball courts. Revenue managers can rely on the funds generated from the resort fee, usually a flat nightly rate, in a way that they can’t with ever-fluctuating room rates.

“The fees give them a consistent revenue stream to pay for those amenities which does not change across different distribution channels,” Belarmino said. “Even when the room is booked on a discounter like Hotwire, the hotel still gets the same resort fee.”

And, Belarmino said, hotels see additional benefits to the resort fee: there is no occupancy tax charged on the resort fee and customers with a lower willingness-to-pay can be enticed by the advertised rate.

Most customers will have trouble getting a resort fee waived. Some loyalty memberships waive the fee for customers of a certain tier level.

There could be relief in the future. In his 2023 State of the Union address, President Joe Biden said he wanted his administration to address so-called “junk fees” through Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Finance Protection Bureau newly proposed rules. Until then, Belarmino said guests can continue to speak out against them to management and through online reviews.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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