The 2012 HotelChatter Hotel WiFi Report
A HotelChatter Exclusive
If you take the Way Back machine to view HotelChatter's first annual Hotel WiFi Report in 2004 you will quickly realize we were merely looking for hotels that offered WiFi in the guest rooms or lobbies, and of course, offered it for free. Back then, WiFi was in its infancy, only a handful of years removed from being invented by the Australians (um, sure) and providing it to hotel guests was cutting edge. Heck, some hotels were still making guests walk down to the basement business centers to get online.
Fast forward to 2012 and pretty much every hotel worldwide has WiFi from the communist confines of Beijing to the hemp hammocks in Costa Rica. Success!
Alas, the problems that we had eight years ago, remain today. It's not always free and it's not always reliable. New problems have popped up too. Guests are getting dinged with internet charges per device (cellphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) because hotel WiFi networks are too antiquated to handle multiple devices per room.
Hotels have also complained that streaming digital media services like Netflix are sucking up precious bandwidth forcing the hotels to invest more money into their networks and (so they claim) to keep on charging guests per day (and per device) for internet access.
But we've got the numbers on how much it costs a hotel to install and maintain a decent network and there's no reason why hotels should be charging us for this service, which is just as important as air conditioning and working toilets, other than it's an easy revenue source.
True, the hotel WiFi landscape is not all doom and gloom. In looking at our 2012 Hotel WiFi infographic, the good definitely outweighs the bad. And in our many conversations with hotel general managers, owners and brand executives, we are hearing that they are hearing us and our calls for free WiFi.
But hotels are still in the business of making money and so while they may cave in and offer "basic internet" options for free like email and surfing the web, they won't tolerate bandwidth hogs.
Thus, we expect more tiered payment plans to be introduced in the very near future and you know what? That's alright with us. But just promise us that those basic options will actually work. Oh yeah, the "working" part of free, working WiFi is still the dream.
Have you logged on in a hotel recently? Let us know your Best and Worst Hotel WiFi Experiences Here.
HotelChatter's WiFi Report 2012
Have you logged on recently? Let us know your Best and Worst Hotel WiFi experiences here!
This report was compiled by HotelChatter's staff of contributors and network of tipsters, far and wide.