Disney's Possible Resort Fees: Travel Agents Weigh In
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort
Consumers planning a trip to the Magic Kingdom might have to wish upon a star for a bigger budget, because according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, Disney has been asking vacationers their opinions about the possibility of adding resort fees. It’s probably not surprising that vacationers won’t be too thrilled with having to dish out more money for something they didn’t pay for before; travel agents aren’t too thrilled with the idea either.
“Disney should stick with the current business model — that has always been such a success — of these fees and services being all inclusive and leave the nickel and diming to competitors,” says Andrea Roberts of Arpin Travel in Bellingham, Massachusetts. “This has been a trend in the industry and travelers can expect to see this sort of fee in resort communities across the country.”
Some agents feel that Disney resort fees will mislead the client. Deanna Tracey, President of CDT Travel, Inc., in Newburgh, New York, thinks that the idea is absurd. “Disney keeps raising prices and now wants to charge the guests for what they are already getting for free, but because it is a resort fee, some clients won't realize the huge cost at check out,” says Tracey. “Most families save to do this and I think Disney is going to alienate guests who would normally stay on site.”
Brent Jenson, vice president of Morris Murdock Travel, a member of Signature Travel Network says that if Disney wants to raise the nightly rate to cover expenses, just go ahead and do that. “Don’t try to hide the cost by calling it a resort fee,” he says. “Resort fees are just another sneaky way to increase revenue without having to compensate travel agencies who support their product.”
Keep in mind that a survey, even one that is generating such a loud Internet buzz, doesn’t mean that Disney is going to say yes to this idea, yet. “Disney conducts surveys quite often to get the options of their resort and park guests,” said Steve Griswold of Pixie Vacations in Atlanta, Georgia. “Currently Disney World does not charge any resort fees, which is really a great selling point for staying on property at a Walt Disney World resort. But the hotel industry standard is to charge a resort fee for extras.”
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For example, Griswold explains that the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, charges a resort fee of $25.00 per room, per night that includes pool, health club, internet and fitness center access as well as in-room bottled water. “I can see why Disney is possibly looking into adding a resort fee to cover some of the cost of the special extras they offer,” he says. “If Disney does decide to charge for these extras, I would love to see this fee rolled into the standard room rate instead of a separate resort fee added to the guest’s folio at check out.”
Roberts agrees. “As a whole, we have always been curious why hotels and resorts don’t just incorporate the fee rather than add an additional fee for parking, Wi-Fi, etc.,” says Roberts.
A final decision hasn’t been made yet, but it will be interesting to see what Disney decides to do.
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