Wifi report could sway hotel bookings

May 1st, 2010 in Free wifi campaign by Sarah Lee 6
Are hotels navigating their way to free wifi?

I’ve written a few posts on this blog about wifi provision in hotels and in particular about why hotels should stop charging exorbitant rates. For me like many others, wifi and in particular the availability of free wifi, has become a decision-maker in choosing hotels.

This week HotelChatter published their annual Hotel Wifi Report for 2010. It makes for fascinating reading.

The good news is there’s a growing number of hotels that realise providing free wifi is a no-brainer in our technologically mobile world where netbooks, wifi-enabled phones, iPods and iPads are commonplace in our travel bags, and savvy travellers are often social media addicts.

The report highlights the best hotels for wifi:

  • Best Western are given a big thumbs up for providing free wifi in all their hotels.
  • Wifi at chic-boutique Aloft and Andaz hotels is free with the latter even offering up complimentary minibar snacks and drinks.
  • The Peninsula group proves that just because you’re paying for a luxury hotel it doesn’t have to come with a separate bill for ‘extras’.

The worst offenders for hotel wifi, highlighted by the report, include many of the quality/luxury brands who still believe wifi should come with a price tag (just to prove how expensively exclusive they are):

  • Four Seasons is highlighted for the sixth year running for charging $11 a day for wifi.
  • I’m clearly not the only one put-off by Marriott’s high charges.
  • Doubletree may hand out their luscious cookies but wouldn’t it be nice to tweet a photo of you eating one to make your friends jealous – not on their wifi charges!
  • Hilton, Starwood and Mandarin Oriental, which charges £15 a day, also come under scrutiny.

The report largely looks at US brands, but it does have a section with highs and lows from international hotels – some of which makes for shocking reading. The JW Marriott Grosvenor Square, London, charges $33 a day, the Alfonso XIII in Seville €30 a day and the Hotel Silken Puerta America in Madrid an outrageous €9.63 an HOUR! You’d figure they don’t want customers.

I’m glad I’ve found HotelChatter’s report and will be consulting it to see if hotels I’m considering value my custom by offering free wifi among their other basic services or are seeking to maximise profits on every provision.

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