Booking.com's resort-fee policy rankles Caribbean hotels

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Photo Credit: Iceman Photos/Shutterstock

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) said it will "advise hotels to reassess their use" of Booking.com if the OTA follows through on plans to charge hotels a commission on mandatory resort fees.

In a letter sent to Booking.com earlier this week, CHTA CEO and director general Frank Comito said the trade group has received "strong negative backlash from our members about the overall policy, and in particular regarding assessing commission on employee tips and gratuities." 

Comito's letter cited a recent survey showing that 37% of the region's hotels assess resort fees. While those fees vary by destination and property, Comito said resort fees typically include gratuities and destination fees, with the latter often going toward initiatives such as beautification, environmental enhancement and marketing. 

He added that amenities like breakfast, complimentary beverages, pool and beach access, parking and WiFi can be covered by resort fees. 

Comito argued that by charging a commission on these fees, Booking.com negatively impacts employee gratuities and hotel profitability. In order to offset the commission charge on fees, he said that Caribbean hotels could be forced to assess a fee surcharge on Booking.com customers as well as switch to "more favorable booking platforms."

The CHTA counts roughly 1,000 hotel and allied members among its membership base.

In May, Booking.com said it opted to charge a commission on mandatory fees to pressure hotels into greater price transparency, as resort fees rarely are included in an advertised price.

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