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HotelChatter's 2011 Hotel WiFi Report

April 26, 2011 at 10:45 AM | by | ()

**A HotelChatter Exclusive**

Chances are, you are probably reading our seventh annual WiFi Report right now on your iPad. Or your iPhone. Or your Blackberry, Droid, Kindle or Galaxy Tablet, if anyone actually uses those.

Much like cellphones have practically put land lines out of business, mobile devices are fast changing the way we sign onto the web when we’re on the go. And that includes when we're staying in hotels.

While the hardware we carry into hotel rooms is changing seemingly from one month to the next, our demands free and reliable WiFi have not wavered a bit. And as more and more of us start to travel with cellphones, laptops and tablets, the call for free WiFi is more urgent than ever.

Yet hotels around the world, especially those luxury ones, are still charging daily rates of $10 or more for WiFi. Worse, some are even double-dinging us for our mobile devices.

This leaves guests the choice of navigating the always, ever-changing WiFi fees at mid and high-end hotels, or spending the night at budget places just for the internet.

So you better know the lay of the free hotel WiFi land before you book your room. After all, the one thing we can do as loyal, frequent hotel guests is vote "free WiFi" with our credit cards.

Once again, we’ve broken down the Hotel WiFi landscape into Best Hotels, Worst Hotels and the best and worst from the International Hotel Scene. We’ve also added a couple of new sections; picking out the Best and Worst cities for free hotel WiFi, tips on getting secondary devices on for free when the hotel wants you to pay per device, and where to stay in stylin' and free WiFin', to name a few.

HotelChatter's WiFi Report 2011


Have you logged on in a hotel recently? Let us know your Best and Worst Hotel WiFi Experiences Here.

Archived Comments:

Better Stats

What I would like to see is an infographic of the "quality" of wifi also.  We stayed at one of the hotels above and while the wifi was "free" we could only get the "bar and 1/2" signal from one spot in the corner of the room.

Good point

What hotel was it?  Did you ask the front desk for help?  Some of the better wifi hotels will give you a WAP device to boost the signal, or even move your room to a room with a better signal.  

Then again, some hotels just plaster "free wifi" everywhere and provide low quality wifi, so it would be cool to get "signal strength" in our data by brand next year.

Asking for a room

I've begun to request a room with good/great WiFi signal strength before even arriving. I put it in my reservation comments or call directly. Sometimes it means lower floors, but these days I value strong & free WiFi over a view.

Las Vegas WiFi

Yes, Las Vegas can be very annoying for WiFi, both in terms of varying services and cost. But some hotels offer it completely open and free (Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas), others include it in very nominal resort fees (Coast properties) and some have certain free areas (coffee shops, lobby areas in Venetian/Palazzo, Crystals city center...) I could give you a detailed report, but then, maybe I should be posting that to my own blog ;)

Clarendon Hotel Phoenix has unthrottled wi-fi!!!

As the owner/GM of The Clarendon Hotel - Phoenix's Urban Retreat, I would love to say that we have AWESOME wi-fi.... 25MB/sec down, 5MB/sec up, unthrottled... most of the time you'll see speeds of 10-15MB/sec, which is insanely fast for most hotels.

We do see a trend, however, and even though we offer free wi-fi and free international calls on the in-room phones, 1) nobody is using the phones - they even call the desk from their mobiles... 2) fewer and fewer people are asking for wi-fi information, and are telling us they have mobile broadband cards, tether to their phones, or just use their phones and don't even carry a laptop anymore.  It's my guess that wi-fi will disappear around 2015 from most hotels and public areas, as more and more people will have 4G phones with speeds of over 80MB/sec by then - there will be no reason to offer wi-fi.

Hilton Grand Vacations

They offer it free too. Check 'em out here: www.hiltongrandvacations.hilton.com

Even more free brands under Wyndham

The economy brands under Wyndham all offer it for free. They are:

Days Inn


Baymont inn and suites

Super 8


Howard Johnson


Knights Inn (free at a majority of the properties.)

TRYP (free although some do charge)

Greystone Hotels too

The 9 Greystone Hotels on the West Coast (San Fran, Palo Alto, San Diego, LA, Oregon) offer free WiFi.

Ask for the GuestWiFi name when booking a hotel...

GuestWiFi offers the most advanced, high speed, carrier class WiFi to the hospitality industry.  Hotels chains like Holiday Inn, HIExpress, Ramada, Wyndham, Yotel and many more use our fully managed networks.  We monitor our hospitality networks 24x7 so if there is ever a signal/ speed issue - we know about it.  We also offer guests 24x7 direct customer service... no need to call the front desk for technical help.
For a complete list of all hotels with GuestWiFi:
<a href="http://www.guestwifi.com">http://www.guestwifi.com</a>

About Vegas WiFi

Yes, there are a few places that have it free in common spaces like Wynn's Pizza shop and Zooza crackers, The Crystals, etc. but in-room you're still pretty screwed--whether you have to pony up for it a la carte or whether it's rolled into a resort fee.

And the signal strength is never very good. Even worse, my mobile wireless stick always gets cockblocked in Vegas hotels. Much like cellphone reception. I've been traveling to Vegas and working in its hotel rooms for over three years now and the only really good experience I had was off the strip at Element Las Vegas. Totally free, totally fast, totally got my work done.

the unmeasured impact of charging wifi

As a former hotel GM I know how hard it is to kiss that wi-fi revenue away. But in the age of social media we need to consider what it's costing our reputation. A JD Power survey of 53,000 travelers last year found that the #1 must-have in hotels is free wi-fi. Having to pay (as I am at this hotel now) can cloud travelers' perception of an otherwise good stay and can lead to a bad online review - there are many examples of this. And there's a direct connection between reviews and revenue. It's time hotels started treating internet service like a utility and stopped nickeling and diming travelers. Just sayin'.  DC

Yup! La Concha Renaissance has free and fast WiFi!

In your "worst" list you mention that Renaissance hotels NEVER have free wifi. Well, in San Juan, Puerto Rico the coolest hotel ALWAYS has free and fast WiFi. Yup, I'm referring to La Concha Resort, A Renaissance Hotel. Not just in the lobby, pool, lounge, and beach (yes.. the beach) but in every room too. And the rooms have ethernet connections as well, in case your VPN requires it. Hooray for owners going beyond the brand!!

wifi rules!

It's nice to have wifi connectivity when i'm on a hotel. I need internet access 24h/24h 7 days a week.

shame on Hilton UK & Ireland

Hilton keeps on charging guests:

<a href="http://www.businesstraveller.com/news/hilton-expands-bt-openzone-offering">http://www.businesstraveller.com/news/hilton-expands-bt-openzone-offering</a>

What about the moderate chains?

I was amused to see the hotels listed on your "budget" list -- those are the hotels I consider moderate!  At least you added the Econolodge, which is the highest-end chain I usually stay in.  My usual go-to group are the Super 8s and the Motel 6s.  When I am travelling with my dog, these chains almost always allow dogs for little to no extra charge, and when I am not ... well, who needs more than a clean bed and a place to wash for an overnight stay?  Having free wifi, however, make life much easier -- I can catch up on mail, work, and even watch Netflix on my tablet.  So my suggestion would be to add more of the normally-priced hotels for those of us who prefer to spend our money on things OTHER than a spendy hotel room.  (I was at a conference at Disney once--Good God, who would willingly pay THAT much for a place to sleep??????  Good heavens.)


Years ago it was having a gym, the health club and Business Centre. Then it became the Fitness Centre, Spa and having a Virtual / IT Concierge and having Wi-fi....just some of the many changes hotels have undertaken to meet and exceed guests' expectations. Interesting where the next business landscape reality will take us.....

it is so surprise

it is so surprise that you can use WiFi here.

You forgot one BIG piece of information

The infographic failed to outline one of the biggest hotel brands in the world, SHERATON. Not only are they Starwoods leading/largest brand but they also out number most of the hotel chains listed in the graphic. As far as WiFi, it's offered complimentary at Link@Sheraton and can also be purchased by day in each of the guestrooms. Hope this helps and they make it to the 2012 report. (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/promotions/promo_landing.html?category=SI_PROMO1#/home)

Hotels used to charge astronomical

Hotels used to charge astronomical amounts of money for the land-line phones in the hotel rooms. Now that more and more people are relying on wifi, they have to substitute that charge with wifi charges. Sooner or later, these charges would also disappear as wifi becomes part of the hotel infrastructure, and payment for wifi would seem highly unacceptable.