Remember those energy surcharges that swept the hospitality community last summer? As promised, they quietly disappeared last fall as energy prices dropped back to more normal levels. Now that summer's coming around again, will the energy surcharges make a reappearance?
That's one item you can cross off your worry list, say some major hotel chains. “Hilton has no plans to reinstate energy surcharges at any of its hotels going forward,” says Kathy Shepard, vice president of corporate communications with Hilton Hotels Corp. As of late April, Wyndham International spokesperson Darcie Brossart says her chain also doesn't have any plans to bring back energy surcharges. And Marriott says it “does not plan to reinstate energy surcharges at this time,” according to spokesperson Dasha Ross.
Does the decision have anything to do with the rash of class-action lawsuits that were filed in several locations against Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood, and Wyndham last year? Company policy forbids any comment on pending litigation, say hotel representatives across the board. However, Wyndham's Brossart offers another explanation: “Energy prices remained low during the winter months, and energy prices for the summer have leveled out,” she says.
In related news, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide was slapped with a class-action lawsuit in February over allegedly misrepresenting a daily resort fee at several of its properties.
The plaintiff's law firm, New York City-based Bragar Wexer Eagel & Morgenstern, alleges that the chain doesn't tell customers upfront about the fee, and that it lists the resort fee under “taxes” on its Web site, implying that it's a mandatory tax rather than an additional fee. Again, Starwood declined to comment on this matter, which is pending litigation.