Phil Anderson, general manager of the Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York, is swimming against the travel-industry current, but he thinks it's the right direction to go. While many airlines, hotels, and cruise lines are increasingly "unbundling" their prices by adding numerous surcharges and fees so they can advertise an artificially low base price, Anderson has recently implemented a new pricing policy that is nearly unheard-of: the price you're quoted is the price you pay.
"It's counter-intuitive compared to what everyone else seems to be doing," Anderson told me, "but if a guest thinks he's getting a rate of four hundred and fifty dollars, why should his total be five hundred and thirty-one? Why nickel-and-dime people?"
So in an experiment this past summer, Anderson began quoting all-in-one rates that include the room, the resort fee, state tax, and occupancy tax....
Not only that, but the price includes full breakfast, use of canoes and kayaks, daytime kids camp, bowling, movie theater, high-speed internet, valet parking, tennis and platform tennis, pools and hot tubs, saunas, fitness facilities, resort activities, and more. (Lunch, dinner, motor boats, and spa treatments are priced separately.) The Whiteface is a classic, all-suite, Adirondack-style lodge built with luxury in mind. It has won numerous accolades since its 2005 opening, including being ranked No. 14 in the U.S./Canada and top resort in the Northeast in 2010 by the readers of Travel + Leisure. Prices change according to the season, but through December 21 guests can book a suite starting at $587.87 and receive a $50 resort credit.
"Look, we have to be profitable," Anderson said. "If people don't want this, if it doesn't work out, we'll go back to the old structure. But I really think people are going to like it."
Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure.