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The 2013 HotelChatter Hotel WiFi Report

April 30, 2013 at 11:07 AM | by | Comments (9)

Ever since HotelChatter's first annual Hotel WiFi Report in 2004, we've insisted that in-room WiFi was as essential as a working shower or air conditioning and that it needed to be offered free, fast, and reliably.

Hotels often gave us the run-around, blaming the costs of installing WiFi networks, the contracts they signed with the hotel owners or network security. But as more and more travelers book their hotel stays based on free WiFi, hotels have begun to drop their nickel and diming ways.

Today, at least two thirds of hotels have realized that offering free WiFi is in their best interests. Progress! Furthermore, many of these hotels have doubled down to put in reliable, fast WiFi networks for their older hotels, even if it means a big capital investment.

However, the battle cry for free WiFi should not die out just yet. One third of hotels out there are still charging for WiFi, including many luxury brands who charge premium internet fees on top of their pricey room rates. But if the nefarious one third don't start offering free WiFi at a basic level (checking email, surfing the web), potential guests will make a reservation elsewhere.

Even when the WiFi is free, there are still some caveats such as requiring guests to join the hotel's loyalty program, offering it free only in the lobby or having it free for just a limited time (anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours) before a charge is incurred. Furthermore, the WiFi fees can vary wildly from property to property within a hotel brand. These gimmicks are just another reason for guests to join together and demand better standardization for hotel WiFi.

Now, if you are a hotel currently offering excellent free WiFi, congratulations! You have made it to the next round of the games. In this round, which has already begun, guests will come to your hotel armed with multiple devices and expect to use those devices as remote controls for everything. Clearly, the end game in the battle for precious guest dollars is free, reliable and capable WiFi. So, let's see who the top contenders are in here in 2013. Shall we?

HotelChatter's WiFi Report 2013

WHERE IT'S FREE

Loyalty Rewards: Level up to get free WiFi
WHERE YOU PAY
INTERNATIONAL WIFI HEROES AND VILLAINS
AT A GLANCE: HOTEL WIFI IN THE U.S
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
2013 HOTEL WIFI INFOGRAPHIC

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.

Comments (9)

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Update: Radisson is mostly free

Radisson Hotels under the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group should have a It's Complicated icon next to their name. Most Radisson Hotels are free but there are a few that still charge. Since most of Carlson Rezidor Hotels are free, we bet it won't be long before these few remaining Radissons ditch their charges. But if you're in a Radisson that still charges you for WiFi, Let us know!

Four Seasons Sydney not free

I just called the fron desk of Four Seasons Sydney and asked if in-room internet was free... nope, it's $25 oz dollars a day = about $26 USD.

Not even basic internet?

I wonder if the FS Sydney will offer even a basic internet session (web browsing, etc) for free? But it doesn't surprise me. Australia is just awful in terms of WiFi charges. I can't understand why.

Extended Stay America

Add this brand to the FREE side...

Find Hotels with Fast WiFi

We will be launching our App SpeedSpot soon, that will help travelers test, share & find the hotels that offer the fastest WiFi. If that's something you are interested in, check it out speedspot.com.

Very cool!

I just signed up for the email. This should be interesting to try from hotels now!

Doubletree London Victoria

Like all Doubletree hotels they advertise high speed internet access as part of room amenities alongside the tv, toiletries, bedding etc but make no mention of the charge. £15 per 24 hours is the rate. In dispute with them, will keep you posted.

We are believers!

Wifiscoop.com is a new service where we will help consumers find the fastest wifi in hotels and other public places.  Please spread the word and help us collect speed tests!

Wifi

I think allowing wifi to be used for free within the hotel's premises could provide a positive user experience.

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