Expedia commences search bias against hotels charging hidden fees

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LAS VEGAS -- Expedia Group said it has begun displaying hotels that charge resort fees less prominently.

The company made the change this week, said Expedia's Travel Partners Group president Cyril Ranque at the company's Explore 19 conference here.

"Everything else being equal, the properties that charge a resort fee on top of a base price will be [displayed] lower than those that don't charge a resort fee," Ranque said. 

This may be a distinction without a difference in Las Vegas, where most hotels on the Strip and downtown charge resort fees.

Expedia hasn't followed the lead of its chief rival, Booking.com, which said it will begin charging commissions for resort fees. But the company said in June that it wanted to ensure that properties that don't charge resort fees get higher visibility. 

Shoppers searching for hotels on Expedia-owned OTAs still don't see the all-in price in the search result. The resort fee isn't displayed until the payment page. 

The practice of charging hidden resort fees has spawned investigations by state attorneys general and a lawsuit against Marriott by Washington, D.C. attorney general Karl Racine. 

Expedia-owned OTAs include Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotwire and CheapTickets.

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