Early in negotiations, planners should be sure they understand what the resort fee covers, says Mimi Almeida, an independent planner based in Walnut Creek, Calif. Some specific questions to ask:
• If Internet access is part of the fee, does it include guest rooms, public areas and/or meeting rooms?
• If the fee provides for daily newspapers, can guests select their paper of choice? Will the paper be delivered right to attendees' rooms or placed in the lobby or a common area?
• If porterage and luggage transfers are covered, are the charges good for the entire stay or only for arrival and departure needs? If attendees play golf, for instance, and need their bags delivered and picked up, is that complimentary? Are gratuities expected?
• Who gets the fee? "I always try to find out where the money for a specific charge goes -- for example, housekeeping, and whether or not it goes to that department's staff. It helps me decide if the cost is worthwhile," Almeida says.