Disney said to be testing "resort fees" in surveys

Posted Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:36 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney has sent out a survey to some visitors about potential $15-per-night fees that would cover Disney Magical Express, MagicBands, priority Fast Pass resort planning, Extra Magic Hours, parking and Wi-Fi.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:37 AM

Trying to split out some other "fee" like this just annoys the piss out of me. You know, just include it in the nightly price, and if I think your room is worth it, I'm going to stay there.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:52 AM

Raise the rate by $15 and tell me I'm getting Magical Express, MagicBands, parking, wi-fi etc for free, please and thank you. :-)

I can't blame Disney for exploring this: charging fees for things that used to be rolled into the room rate is SOP in the hotel and airline industries.

Note to self: send a note to Amy in Windermere who has a guest bedroom telling her how much I treasure her friendship. And free wi-fi.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:52 AM
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Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:53 AM

I think this may have more to do with web reservations .I book a hotel with a non Disney hotel that charges a resort fee.

When I check hotel search websites that charge is not included .I pay the resort fee on check in (7.00 a day)

So if I am surfing looking for lowest rate my room shows 7.00 cheaper (or more) on other sites

The resort fee is on hotels own website. It is stated on other sites (in small print) that the hotel charges this fee but not included when reserved thru them.

but if you are searching for cheapest rate this hotel is (7.00) higher per day than others who do not charge this.

and how many people miss that when booking ?

Last edited by kevin38, Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:57 AM
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Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:57 AM

The fees, Shorty, the FEES!

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 10:29 AM

I too can’t stand fee based additions to any purchase I make for that matter. Just give me the darn price up front.

I find this particular case intriguing because if you are a savvy off-season WDW traveler (like myself), you can almost always score a significant room only discount, sometimes in the 30%-40% discount range from “rack rates”. However, I am certain that if (when) this new resort fee is introduced, it will not be part of the discount. So in effect, WDW has again masked a price increase while shielding $15 per room, per night from any kind of discount.

In the end, most of the hospitality/travel industry has pretty much gone to fee based revenue models (resort fees in this case), so I think it is inevitable that WDW eventually follows along. At this point, it’s just money left on the table.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 12:25 PM

And I say "so what?" to everything you say. "Everyone else is doing it" is lame. It shows a lack of leadership and vision, and I would be disappointed if Disney did it. Just charge me what you want to charge me, and let me decide on the value proposition from there.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 12:55 PM

Jeff said:

You know, just include it in the nightly price, and if I think your room is worth it, I'm going to stay there.

Just charge me what you want to charge me, and let me decide on the value proposition from there.

And that's kind of exactly why it gets broken out like this.

What's a better value?

An $89 room with some fineprint fees or a room for $104 per night? Most people just see that $89 or $104. It's a sales approach designed to 'help' you see the value. I'm sure they'll sell more rooms at $89 with an asterisk than at $104 without.

With that said, most of WDW probably isn't so price sensitive. The only place this approach makes sense is the value resorts, but then again, that's not an insignificant amount of rooms.

It's a cheap way to hide a rate increase. But, to tie it to earlier barely related discussions, it's a definite move away from the "free" lie. I mean, your "free" breakfast and wi-fi and whatever at a hotel is as 'free' as the drinks and sunscreen at Holiday World...that is to say "included in the price" is a more honest term.

This is an interesting approach (and yes, many hotels are starting to do this) to presenting increased rates.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 1:11 PM

I can't stand fake "fees" that are actually just a way of hiding the cost of the room (or flight, or ball game for that matter.) Last I saw Disney was sitting at 92% occupancy, so clearly they don't need to do this to compete.

Frankly, I think it's a bad idea not only for the consumer but for the company as well. When these perks are "free" people think they're getting something for nothing, and it doesn't matter if they use it or not.

If you're charging a separate fee and saying what it's for, people will scrutinize what they're getting for that $15. Didn't attend EMH? I'm getting ripped off! If you use the buses you have no need for the parking perk. If you're driving, you have no need for the Magical Express perk. If you planned your fastpasses 6 months ahead of time (which is absolutely what you need to do to have a good time) then you have no need for that perk, and if you have good cell service you have no need for the hotel wifi.

If Holiday World charges everyone a mandatory $10 on top of their ticket price for Pepsi and sunscreen, all of a sudden people aren't going to be so hot on their free perks any more.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 1:54 PM

"Welcome to McDonald's, may I take your order? One Big Mac? Okay; Big Macs are 75 cents.

Would you like to add a top and a bottom bun to your Big Mac for just $1 more? Excellent. Would you like to add condiments to your burger, that's just 75 cents. Great. Did you want lettuce on your burger? It's only 50 cents more. Okay. The Big Macs in the rack were made on Tuesday; you can have a fresh made burger for only $2 extra."

I don't care for this business of breaking out normal operating costs, charging for them and dressing it all up as "offering customers a choice of services." When I fly, it's on Southwest.

Admittedly, the type of places I usually stay don't charge resort fees :-)

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 2:39 PM

I can kind of see why this approach would be beneficial (necessary?) in the hospitality industry. Additional amenities like gyms, pools, wi-fi, nightly turn down service, etc cost money to provide. And despite the existence of those amenities, I think many people take them for granted and when price shopping will narrow down the purchase to only the value of the room. "I'm not paying $150 for a bed and a shower; Are you kidding me!" The reality is that they weren't....they were paying X for the room and Y for the amenities. Now they are charging as such.

The good news is that Disney is asking its customers for their opinion and by the sounds of the article, they are offering it.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 3:42 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
It's a cheap way to hide a rate increase.

Which is why I think it's lame. I get all the reasons they might do it. I wasn't looking for an explanation. I just think it's lame. Look at the ire it has caused in the airline industry. I would be surprised if Disney followed through for exactly that reason. They most certainly can get away with it, but they're pretty sensitive about the ways in which they part people from their money. They rarely leave any reason to feel bad about it.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 4:05 PM

kpjb said:

Last I saw Disney was sitting at 92% occupancy, so clearly they don't need to do this to compete.

That's just it. The fact that they're considering this makes me think that they feel that number might be in jeopardy if they can't slap an $89 or $99 or whatever they do on their value rooms.

And I do think this is all about presentation on the low end. The Deluxe visitors aren't going to care either way about $15. Doesn't matter if it's presented as part of the room rate or an extra charge. The same is likely true for most of the Moderate tier too. It's that Value piece that this affects most. When the Hampton Inns and Fairfield Inns of the world hand out rooms for $79 or $99 (whatever number - the same price range as Disney's Value resorts) the ability to show a favorable comparison goes a long way.

I don't think it matter what the survey says in the long run. If listing a room higher than comparable non-Disney options causes occupany to drop, you can rest assured that some sort of "resort fee" comes into play and room rates drop back down to match the market.

Maybe the real question they should be asking is how much the "stay on Disney property" experience is worth to the Value resort crowd?

Or maybe they already have that number...and they're trying to figure out how to work around it,

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 4:59 PM

Several of you have made reference to the airline industry. In that industry, if I remember correctly, fares didn't drop with the inclusion of bags fees. Assuming that Disney, with it's 92% occupancy, is going to lower its rates and make the last $15 of what you were paying optional would actually be throwing away money that they are already making. I wouldn't expect rates to drop at all.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 5:16 PM

I agree with Jeff. And I agree with Lord Gonchar. Oh, and now that I've peeked at Sirloindude's reply that popped up while I typing that I agree with Jeff, I also agree with Sirloindude.

It is lame. It's cheesy. I fly Southwest because they don't play the fee game (and they promote that on their website).

But: it's what's going on, in several industries. And as LG says, they're likely exploring how the more price-sensitive segment of their market will react. Someone dropping $4,700 for a week at the Grand Floridian isn't going to overly concerned about $105 in resort fees. Someone spending $707 for a week at All-Star Movies, on the other hand, will.

And it does seem likely to me that hotels adding resort fees are basically continuing to charge the same rate that includes the costs associated with wifi and transportation and so on are just adding $X of pure profit on top of the rate. Call me suspicious.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Thursday, March 10, 2016 6:24 PM
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Thursday, March 10, 2016 6:27 PM

I don't get the comparison with airline fees. Baggage fees are always optional: you don't bring a bag, you don't pay. Resort fees are normally mandatory, whether you use the fitness center, wifi, etc. or not. Resort fees seem a lot cheesier to me for this reason.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 6:34 PM

I don't think you've flown a discount carrier then. Where they have the choose your seat fees, bring a carry-on fee, have a Coke fee, etc.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 6:50 PM

Even on American (which isn't a discount carrier), a sizeable number of their seats are an upcharge, and it isn't just the ones with extra legroom.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 6:53 PM

Mr. Six, it's sure easy enough to say don't check bags.

Trouble is, most of us like to take things with us on trips, like clothes, and toiletries.

Spirit charges $30 for a checked bag. Have a second bag to check? That's another $40. Traveling in the summer? Extra $2 per bag, thank you. Forgot to print out your boarding pass. Spirit will print it for you, for $10. Didn't weigh your carry-on bag? That's $25-100 at the gate if it's "overweight".

Airline fees and resort fees are equally cheesy to me. They're taking things that in the past were included in the cost of a seat or a room and without decreasing the cost of the seat or room, charge "fees" to cover the "cost" of providing those things ... making a pile of money.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 10:26 PM

Yes, but in all of those instances you're still in control. If I'm flying to Chicago for the weekend, I need two changes of clothes and some toiletries. That easily fits in a backpack. It's your call to take one or two bags. Yes, sometimes it's necessary, but still under your control.

The resort fees are like them charging $50 for bags when you don't have any.

I prefer Southwest. I'd probably fly them even if they cost more. There's something to be said for being around people with a sense of humor and who seem like they actually like their jobs.

...and I probably wouldn't fly Spirit if it was free.

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