Hurrah for some hotels that don't charge for wi-fi

Fellow blogger Frank Camel tells me of a ridiculous recent wi-fi experience when staying at the Morgan Hotel in New York, sister to London’s  Sanderson and Miami’s Delano.

He paid $600 for accommodation a night and was then charges $10 per day per connection, so two lap tops cost $20 a day. (see his review here)

The good guys

Nonetheless, I have found some hotel groups that speak my language. Shangri-la has offered free wi-fi in its hotels around the world with their CEO Madhu Rao saying: ‘Getting connected while on the road is the number one priority of our business travellers and many of our valued customers view Internet access as absolutely crucial. Offering free Internet is further evidence of our commitment to Shangri-La’s service to our customers during these uncertain times. No longer considered a luxury, guests are demanding high-speed Internet access as an essential room requirement and as something that should be included as a standard service by an international hotel group.’

Another big bravo goes to Best Western. Their spokesperson says: ‘All Best Western hotels as part of their membership criteria, must offer free high speed internet access, whether it be wifi, or through a broadband connection in all guest rooms and public area. As part of our quality assessment of the hotels we also check the strength and speed of the connection to ensure it is reaching all rooms (which in an 18th Century castle with buttress walls is easier said than done). As all Best Western hotels are fully independent businesses, any hotel that does not offer free high speed internet access will risk being rejected from membership.’

It looks as though we could be getting somewhere on commitments from other companies too. TUI Travel UK have pledged to explore offering free wi-fi at all their exclusive hotels. Their spokesperson says:

Thomson and First Choice (part of TUI Travel UK) work with hoteliers in different ways; some properties, such as our Sensatori properties and Holiday Villages are exclusive to Thomson and First Choice respectively, while others we contract rooms alongside other operators. Your campaign is certainly of interest and we’re pleased to say that this is also something we’re keen to offer our customers in those properties that are exclusive to us. For example our Sensatori Crete and Holiday Village Turkey offer free wi-fi in the lobby areas, with discussions on-going as to how to roll this out wider.  Of course, an ideal solution would be to offer this in every room at every exclusive property and this is something our teams are exploring further. ‘

The not so good guys

I’m a bit disappointed though with both Premier Inn and Travelodge – both of which follow the nickel and dime model of charging.

Premier’s spokesperson says: ‘Premier Inn offers guests great quality, yet low cost accommodation where prices start from as little as £29 per night for a family room. It is our policy to keep prices as low as possible to improve value for the guest. Therefore, rather than increasing the overall room cost to cover WiFi for all; guests only pay for what they use. If a customer requires WIFi they may purchase vouchers from reception costing from £5 per hour.’

While Travelodge, currently offering £10 rooms until January 3 has an incremental charge of £5 for one hour, £10 for 24 hours, £20 for one week and £30 for one month.

I still don’t buy this idea of not offering it free as it increases the cost of the room. Even if wi-fi maintenance costs more than £100 a day – which it clearly doesn’t, in a 100 room hotel that was even half full that would be £2 extra a day.

If anyone knows details of how much setting up a wifi system in a hotel costs and wants to share them anonymously, then please get in touch…

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