nighterfighter
nighterfighter
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October 8th, 2019 at 8:22:43 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

That's all I'm asking them to do. At least consumers will know the real price of the room when shopping around.



I will voice a very unpopular opinion (or two) about this...

People that are travelling to Las Vegas for most federal government affiliated work (DoD employees, Contractors, Gov't employees, etc) must (normally) adhere to the GSA Per Diem Rates (I included a link, but as I do not have 20 posts I can not post it. Simply google for "GSA Per Diem Rates" to find the rates) . These rates govern what the maximum amount an employee is allowed to book per night. Exceptions exist, such as the "300% Rule", meaning on certain nights the base room rate can exceed the Per Diem rate by 300%, but must be able to show a documented reason why (Large conference, weather, sudden hotel closures, etc). Resort fees are not included in the Per Diem Rate, as these are a separate line item in expense reports, as are taxes and other fees. Only the room rate has to meet this criteria. If the hotels were to include the resort fee in their basic room rate, these employees would not be able to travel to Las Vegas and do their duties as required, until a law is changed that increases the Per Diem rates. (And yes, there are valid reasons to travel to the Las Vegas strip for these employees. I'd be happy to discuss over private messages about that.) You might counter that with "But there are government rates", which is true, however these government rates are often not able to meet the per diem during certain times of the year, or I have asked a hotel clerk in person (admittedly, not in Vegas), what their government/military ID rate was, and it ended up being more expensive than booking online.

Again, I know this will be a wildly unpopular opinion. That said, I personally hate the resort fees when travelling. I wish they were optional and could be declined/opt-in.
BTLWI
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nighterfighter
nighterfighter
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October 8th, 2019 at 9:01:51 PM permalink
Quote: BTLWI


Surprisingly low.



Thank you for posting the link for me. I would like to also point out that the rate applies to where you STAY, not where the work might be. (And technically you should search for "Paradise", not "Las Vegas".) Which really sucks if you're staying off-strip, but have to work on-strip.

Goodluck keeping your M&I under $61, especially because the 1st and last day of travel are only at 75%...and then the cheapest flight is booked which means you arrive at lunch time or dinner time, but must keep your total under $45 for the day. And you have to have lunch/dinner on strip for work reasons.

Of course you can stay off the strip, but then rental car fees/Uber fees/time spent travelling, can be more expensive than the hotel. (You are "on the clock" from the time you leave your hotel room to the time you get back, essentially.)

Edit: I would also like to point out that, although exceptions can be made, (Aka, 300%) it is extremely difficult to justify them. Don't think that government employees are off living it up at $300 a night rooms. Think more like, Excalibur, Circus Circus. The expectation is to always stay at or under the regular rate.
KevinAA
KevinAA
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October 9th, 2019 at 2:17:13 AM permalink
Quote: nighterfighter

I will voice a very unpopular opinion (or two) about this...

People that are travelling to Las Vegas for most federal government affiliated work (DoD employees, Contractors, Gov't employees, etc) must (normally) adhere to the GSA Per Diem Rates (I included a link, but as I do not have 20 posts I can not post it. Simply google for "GSA Per Diem Rates" to find the rates) . These rates govern what the maximum amount an employee is allowed to book per night. Exceptions exist, such as the "300% Rule", meaning on certain nights the base room rate can exceed the Per Diem rate by 300%, but must be able to show a documented reason why (Large conference, weather, sudden hotel closures, etc). Resort fees are not included in the Per Diem Rate, as these are a separate line item in expense reports, as are taxes and other fees. Only the room rate has to meet this criteria. If the hotels were to include the resort fee in their basic room rate, these employees would not be able to travel to Las Vegas and do their duties as required, until a law is changed that increases the Per Diem rates. (And yes, there are valid reasons to travel to the Las Vegas strip for these employees. I'd be happy to discuss over private messages about that.) You might counter that with "But there are government rates", which is true, however these government rates are often not able to meet the per diem during certain times of the year, or I have asked a hotel clerk in person (admittedly, not in Vegas), what their government/military ID rate was, and it ended up being more expensive than booking online.

Again, I know this will be a wildly unpopular opinion. That said, I personally hate the resort fees when travelling. I wish they were optional and could be declined/opt-in.



That's a terrible reason to have a resort fee. Besides, how many of the people visiting Las Vegas are there on government business? 1%, tops?
darkoz
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October 9th, 2019 at 8:07:15 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

When I was in NYC in February I stayed at the Belevedere. They hit me with a surprise resort fee, or whatever they called it. It was a decent hotel, but I can't think of anything that would qualify it as a resort. Other than a meager continental breakfast, I can't think of one benefit other than the room I received.



If it is a "Place of Last Resort" then it technically qualifies as a resort
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beachbumbabs
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October 9th, 2019 at 9:33:39 AM permalink
Quote: KevinAA

That's a terrible reason to have a resort fee. Besides, how many of the people visiting Las Vegas are there on government business? 1%, tops?



More than you might think. I made at least a couple dozen trips to LAS for govt national conferences, or as the govt rep to industry conferences. Probably the most used gathering place other than DC for that purpose.

Scads of hotel rooms. Excellent connections on multiple airlines. Lots of conference facilities for all size groups. Lots of cheap eats. For a nationwide gathering, LV is probably the cheapest possible meeting place.

The last time I went on such a trip was Feb 2009, the week I retired, so things could have changed. But as someone who traveled probably 300 times on the govt rates over my career, I can tell you the travel regs are HARDCORE, and not to be manipulated. Every trip gets audited, and many people have been disciplined or fired over irregularities or cheating. (Not me, though I got spoken to harshly once, and an expense disallowed for a couple hundred dollars, by my Chief 30 years ago. That wised me up FAST.)

So resort fees are just as big a burden as he said above. They don't fall under lodging, and they wipe out MIE. The only way to not just eat them on expense reports that I found, was to have an essential reason to have Internet access for work purposes during your stay. Most resort fees claim to include that, so it could be shown as a necessary add-on in the report (IF you set up to need it).
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Wizard
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Wizard
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October 9th, 2019 at 1:38:42 PM permalink
Quote: KevinAA

That's a terrible reason to have a resort fee. Besides, how many of the people visiting Las Vegas are there on government business? 1%, tops?



I agree 100%.

Not that I respect the original point much, but I see the Vegas per-diem rate is $102 for Oct 2019.

Question 1: If someone exceeds that, do they pay the difference out of pocket, or is the whole expense denied?
Question 2: Let's say the room if $40 and the resort fee is $30. How much does the government pay?
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nighterfighter
nighterfighter
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October 9th, 2019 at 4:21:57 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I agree 100%.

Not that I respect the original point much, but I see the Vegas per-diem rate is $102 for Oct 2019.

Question 1: If someone exceeds that, do they pay the difference out of pocket, or is the whole expense denied?
Question 2: Let's say the room if $40 and the resort fee is $30. How much does the government pay?



Maybe I wasn't clear, I don't think it's a very good point either, but it is one most people don't know about.

To KevinAA, as beachbumbabs said, there are a lot, and more than for reasons they said.

To answer Question 1: In my experience, the difference is out of pocket, but you are also grilled as to WHY you spent so much. I have personally had to pay out of pocket for some things when in Las Vegas because they went over the rate. (Not for hotel, but for M&I)

Question 2: $70. In my experience though, the government is not paying this directly, as it comes out of a separate budget for a contract. Also, I *believe* that because they are filed as separate line items, at the end of the fiscal year, they are able to recoup some of that money from the individual hotels. Again, I am not sure.

My experience is different than beachbumbabs , because the resort fees for me do not come out of the M&I allocation.


Finally, to be clear, my stance is that resort fees are terrible and are pure profit for the hotel. There's no reason they should exist, nor should they be rolled into the room rate. Other hotels offer all the same things (and more) with no resort fees.


Edited to fix spelling.


Edit again: Upon further thinking, I realize I am wrong about recouping money from resort fees. I believe something with the taxes actually get recouped, as those are also required to be entered as a separate line item.
Last edited by: nighterfighter on Oct 9, 2019
SOOPOO
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October 9th, 2019 at 7:32:19 PM permalink
When governmentally employed, I could add the resort fee to the hotel room fee and just add the two as a daily rate. Not making this up, but was allowed $25 a day for meals! And had to be itemized as alcohol couldn't be reimbursed. I told employer it was embarrassing for us to get such a low food per diem. The next contract they bumped it to $50! We all just understood we were responsible for our own food and they were just subsidizing it a little. They were sticklers. If I rented a car, I could only charge them for a round trip cab to and from the airport. That seemed fair.

I will vote for anyone who proposes a law to eliminate resort fees.
FleaStiff
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October 9th, 2019 at 8:49:55 PM permalink
It can be dangerous to have a low per diem. One undercover federal agent blew his cover when, out of habit. he left way too small a tip for the character he was playing.

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