This past summer, I wrote about the Destination Marketing Fee (DMF) and referred to it as a cash grab. Personally, I do not like paying the fee due to lack of transparency on its use and application.
Destination Marketing Fee – Quick Primer
*Borrowing some text from my previous writeup on this subject *:
DMF is a fee levied by hotels in some cities, who contribute to a collective fund used for promotion, marketing and “other tourism development initiatives”. Hotels can charge you up to 3% on room rates, as DMF.
It comes in other forms as well, like DMP (Destination Marketing Program), DMDF (Destination Marketing and Development Fee), PF (Promotion Fee), TIFF (Tourism Infrastructure Funding Fee). They essentially all mean the same.
Getting it removed from your hotel bill
Most tourists and guests simply assume it to be a mandatory “tax” and don’t question it. However, that is far from the truth. Hotels add this as an item on the bill without asking the guests to volunteer and thats what makes this fee both pesky and dubious.
When asked to remove the fee, most hotels do it without hesitation while some will hum and haw their way until you ask for a manager that can authorize it to be removed.
During a recent check-out, after completing a stay at Andaz Ottawa (Presidential Suite review here), I was distracted with other details on the bill and completely forgot about the DMF charged.
I caught it the next day while reviewing the final bill. Called the hotel and requested for the fee to be removed, the staff was nonchalant about my request and happy to oblige. Five minutes later, I received an updated bill with the charged reversed and credited back to my card. Simple.
This fee is not monitored by the government, it is collected by the industry provincially. The Ontario ministry of tourism culture and sport has a handy explanation of consumer rights pertaining the fee, details here. The statement for consumers reads “Consumer protection is a priority for this government. Businesses collecting fees are responsible for ensuring that fees are not misrepresented as taxes. Businesses may include fees in the price or make the amount to be charged known in advance to the prospective visitor and accurately describe its purpose. …”
While this instance may have worked in my favour, I am cognizant that not all hotel properties would be as willing to remove the charge retroactively. Let alone the day after a completed stay. While the best practice is to ask for the charge to be removed before settling the final bill, it can also be done after. $7.89 may not seem like a lot but these charges can add up, especially when staying multiple nights at the property.
Have you come across DMF fee during you recent stays? What has been your experience? Please leave a comment below.