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Booking a hotel stay can be deceiving – the advertised nightly rate often doesn’t reflect the full cost. Destination fees, sometimes called facility fees or resort fees, are a controversial surcharge many hotels now tack on top of room rates.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Destination fees are mandatory daily charges added by hotels supposedly to cover amenities like the gym, pool, and WiFi. They typically range from $10-$50 per day.

Definition of a Hotel Destination Fee

A hotel destination fee, also known as a resort fee or amenity fee, is a daily mandatory charge added to a hotel room rate. It is an additional fee that guests are required to pay on top of the advertised room rate.

This fee is becoming increasingly common in the hospitality industry, with many hotels implementing it as a way to cover the costs of providing certain amenities and services to their guests.

A daily mandatory charge added to room rate

The hotel destination fee is a fixed charge that guests must pay regardless of whether they use the amenities included in the fee.

It is important to note that this fee is not optional and is automatically added to the total cost of the stay. The fee can vary from hotel to hotel and is typically disclosed at the time of booking or during the check-in process.

Covers ‘amenities’ like WiFi, fitness center, etc.

The hotel destination fee is intended to cover the cost of amenities and services that the hotel provides to its guests. These amenities can include access to the hotel’s WiFi network, fitness center, pool, spa facilities, and other similar offerings.

By charging a destination fee, hotels can offset the expenses associated with maintaining and operating these amenities.

While the inclusion of these amenities is often touted as a benefit to guests, it is essential to consider whether the cost justifies the value received. Some travelers may find that they do not utilize all the amenities included in the fee, making it important to evaluate the cost-benefit ratio before booking a hotel that charges a destination fee.

cost of amenities

Fee amount does not vary based on actual usage

One important aspect of hotel destination fees is that the fee amount does not vary based on the guest’s actual usage of the included amenities.

Whether a guest uses the WiFi, visits the fitness center, or takes advantage of any other included services, the fee remains the same. This is worth considering for guests who may have specific needs or preferences when it comes to these amenities.

It is advisable for travelers to carefully review the details of any destination fee before making a reservation.

By understanding the fee and what it covers, guests can make informed decisions and ensure that they are getting the most value out of their hotel stay.

Typical Costs and What’s Included

When it comes to understanding what a destination fee at hotels entails, it’s important to consider the typical costs and what is included in these fees.

Destination fees generally range from $10 to $50 per day, depending on the hotel and location.

These fees are designed to cover various amenities and services offered by the hotel, enhancing the overall guest experience. However, it’s essential to note that not all hotels charge destination fees, so it’s always a good idea to check with the hotel beforehand.

Fees generally $10-$50 per day

The cost of a destination fee can vary significantly from one hotel to another. On average, these fees typically range from $10 to $50 per day.

This range depends on factors such as the hotel’s location, reputation, and the amenities and services included in the fee. Some luxury hotels in popular tourist destinations may charge higher fees, while budget-friendly hotels or those in less popular areas may have lower fees.

Amenities covered vary by hotel

What’s included in a destination fee can vary from one hotel to another. However, there are some common amenities and services that are often covered by these fees. These may include access to the hotel’s fitness center, pool, spa facilities, Wi-Fi, complimentary snacks or drinks, and even discounted or free tickets to local attractions.

It’s important to check with the hotel directly or review their website for a detailed breakdown of what is included in their destination fee.

snacks or drinks

Does NOT usually include parking or rollaway beds

While destination fees cover a wide range of amenities and services, it’s important to note that they typically do not include certain additional charges. Two common examples are parking fees and the use of rollaway beds.

Many hotels charge separate fees for parking, which may or may not be included in the destination fee. Similarly, if you require a rollaway bed in your room, there may be an additional charge for this service. It’s always a good idea to inquire about these specific charges when booking your hotel stay.

Guest Frustration and Pushback

One of the main reasons for guest frustration and pushback when it comes to destination fees at hotels is the lack of transparency with the true room cost.

Many guests are unaware of these fees until they check out, which can come as a surprise and lead to dissatisfaction. The lack of upfront disclosure about these fees can make guests feel deceived and result in negative reviews or complaints.

Lack of transparency with true room cost

Hotels often advertise attractive room rates, but fail to mention the additional destination fees that will be added to the final bill.

These fees can significantly increase the cost of the stay, making it difficult for guests to accurately budget for their trip. The lack of transparency in disclosing these fees upfront can leave guests feeling frustrated and misled.

Charging for previously free amenities

Another source of frustration for guests is when hotels charge for amenities that were previously included for free.

Destination fees often cover amenities such as Wi-Fi, gym access, and pool usage, which guests expect to be complimentary. When these amenities are suddenly subject to an additional fee, guests may feel like they are being nickel-and-dimed, causing further dissatisfaction.

In some cases, guests may not even use or require the amenities included in the destination fee, making it feel like an unnecessary and unfair charge.

This lack of choice in opting out of these amenities can result in pushback from guests who feel they are being forced to pay for services they don’t want or need.

Difficult to avoid as fees are mandatory

Unlike optional fees that guests can choose to add or remove, destination fees are often mandatory and non-negotiable.

This can be frustrating for guests who may not want or need the amenities covered by the fee. The lack of flexibility in avoiding these fees can lead to a sense of powerlessness and contribute to guest dissatisfaction.

Guests also feel like they have limited control over their stay when they are required to pay a destination fee. It takes away the ability to customize their experience based on their individual needs and preferences.

This lack of choice can leave guests feeling frustrated and diminish their overall satisfaction with the hotel.

feeling frustrated

Hotel Industry Perspective and Trends

Part of trend toward nickel and diming guests

Destination fees at hotels have become increasingly common in recent years and are part of a larger trend in the hotel industry toward nickel and diming guests. This trend involves hotels charging additional fees for services and amenities that were previously included in the room rate.

The rationale behind destination fees is that they allow hotels to charge guests for the use of amenities and services that they may or may not actually use during their stay. Examples of amenities that may be covered by destination fees include access to the hotel gym, pool, or spa, as well as complimentary breakfast or Wi-Fi.

Crucial revenue stream for hotels now

Destination fees have become a crucial revenue stream for hotels in recent years. With increasing competition and rising costs, hotels are constantly looking for new ways to generate revenue. Destination fees provide hotels with an opportunity to increase their bottom line by charging guests for additional services and amenities.

This additional revenue can help hotels offset the costs of providing these amenities and improve their overall profitability. In some cases, destination fees can even make up a significant portion of a hotel’s total revenue.

Here to stay as they have become normalized

Destination fees have become normalized in the hotel industry and are likely here to stay. In the past, guests may have been surprised or even outraged by the concept of paying extra fees on top of their room rate.

However, as more hotels have implemented destination fees, guests have come to expect and accept them as a standard part of the booking process.

This normalization of destination fees has been driven by a combination of factors, including the industry-wide trend toward nickel-and-diming guests and consumers’ willingness to pay for convenience and added amenities.

Tips for Avoiding Surprise Destination Fees

When booking a hotel stay, it’s essential to be aware of any potential additional charges that may be added to your bill. One such fee that has gained attention in recent years is the destination fee.

This fee, also known as a resort fee or amenity fee, is an additional charge that hotels may impose on top of the nightly room rate. To help you avoid any surprise destination fees, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Carefully examine hotel rates and descriptions

Before finalizing your hotel reservation, take the time to carefully examine the rates and descriptions provided. Some hotels may include the destination fee in the overall room rate, while others may list it separately.

By reading the fine print and asking questions if needed, you can ensure that you are aware of any potential additional charges before booking.

Additionally, look for hotels that have transparent pricing policies and clearly disclose all fees upfront. This can help you avoid any unpleasant surprises when you check out.

Consider vacation rental alternatives

If you want to avoid destination fees altogether, consider exploring vacation rental alternatives such as Airbnb or VRBO.

These platforms often provide a wide range of accommodations, including private homes, apartments, and condos, which may not come with additional fees like destination fees. Plus, vacation rentals can offer a more unique and personalized experience compared to traditional hotels.

When booking a vacation rental, be sure to read reviews and check the property details to ensure it meets your needs and preferences. Pay attention to any cleaning fees or security deposits that may apply, as these can vary from property to property.

private homes

Loyalty status may provide fee waivers

If you are a member of a hotel loyalty program, your loyalty status may come with perks such as fee waivers. Many hotels offer benefits to their loyal customers, including waiving destination fees for elite members.

By joining a loyalty program and reaching a certain status level, you may be able to enjoy a more cost-effective hotel stay.

Before booking, check the terms and conditions of the loyalty program to see if any fee waivers apply. Additionally, consider booking directly through the hotel’s website or app, as this can often provide access to exclusive deals and promotions for loyalty program members.

By following these tips, you can minimize the chances of encountering surprise destination fees during your hotel stay. Remember to do your research, explore alternative options, and leverage loyalty programs to make the most of your travel budget.


Destination fees allow hotels to advertise lower rates than guests actually pay. While frustration around these surcharges is understandable, they are becoming ubiquitous in the hotel industry.

The best way to avoid surprise fees is to scrutinize hotel rates closely and ask specifically what is included. Factoring fees into travel budgets can help minimize unpleasant surprises.

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