The cost of hotel Wi-Fi rates is a topic I’ve written about before and something that remains one of the biggest mysteries in travel. Why is it that I can stay at a moderately priced hotel or motel and get free Wi-Fi, yet, the posh pads nickel and dime me for every minute of Wi-Fi use?
It is actually not that big of a mystery when you consider that U.S. businesses spent $7.3 billion (that’s with a B!) on Wi-Fi connections for business travelers in 2014, according to Amba Hotels based in London.
The hotel company studied the trends, and now offers “the fastest, free and unlimited Wi-Fi in the world” according to the website. Kudos to Amba Hotels. I will find you when I am in London! Virgin Hotels Chicago has also cut those ridiculous fees that can quickly add hundreds of dollars to a hotel stay.
Information just released by the Travel Market Report indicates that more hotels will soon follow suit by cutting out Wi-Fi surcharges. A lot more of these changes are coming in 2015.
Right now, hotel chains like Marriott, Starwood, Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group offer free Wi-Fi to Rewards and Loyalty members. Hyatt does offer free Wi-Fi to all guests, but Premium will cost you more. That’s right, FREE does not necessarily mean fast, which is why those who offer “free AND fast” advertise it that way.
Progress is slow, but many of the Four Star and Five Star hotels making the shift are doing so because they understand that free Wi-Fi is now a key factor for business travelers when it comes to selecting hotels.
Now that a few prominent hotel companies are leading the pack and absorbing the costs of those Wi-Fi fees, more and more hotels will be forced to jump on the bandwagon.
The bottom line for travelers is that the shift (which feels more like a melting glacier than a sudden change) gives us more options to bypass fees for a service that should already just be offered as good customer service.
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