Tag: Hotel WiFiView All Tags
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Free inroom WiFi is, of course, essential (we think) for a hotel stay. But free mobile WiFi to take around town? Now there’s something exceptional. But then, we always did think Room Mate Hotels were exceptional.
Travel journo and HC Twitter chum David Whitley checked into Room Mate Oscar in Madrid this week and found that it gives guests a free mobile WiFi router to take around town with them. Turns out that’s not just an Oscar thing – Room Mate has offered this service in all its Spanish hotels since July.
HotelChatter 2014 Awards / Hotel WiFi / Free Hotel WiFi / Marriott Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Taj Hotels / Sandals Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Free WiFi / → All Tags
It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
It’s almost as if they knew. We (and you) have long been advocates of free WiFi being essential to hotel stays; but many of the big chains didn’t want to know.
But the tide is turning, and 2014 will go down as the year the WiFi revolution really came to pass. In the last two months alone we’ve seen Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, Sandals and Taj all announce they’re freeing the WiFi (with a couple of easily taken care of caveats from Marriott and Starwood). And free WiFi is the most important factor in choosing a hotel for British guests, according to a slightly-biased-but-we’ll-take-it-anyway survey for Amba Hotels, which is promising the fastest connection speed in the world.
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We've been cheering a lot here at HotelChatter HQ about the recent developments in the hotel WiFi world with Marriott, Starwood and Hyatt Hotels now offering free internet to their guests (Marriott and Starwood want you to be a member of their loyalty programs and book directly through them while Hyatt is just totally free.)
But there is a darker side to all these developments. Both Marriott International and the American Hotel & Lodging Association have petitioned the FCC to clarify a ruling they made back in October when they fined Marriott $600,000 for jamming personal hotspots, like the ones on your smartphone, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. Essentially, Marriott and AHLA are asking the FCC to allow hotspot blocking, whether through clarifying some existing FCC policies or by creating a new rule entirely that would address the situation.
Need some "light" Christmas morning reading? You can read the entire petition to the FCC right here. This was filed back in August, too.
This room at the Hyatt South Beach will have free WiFi for all guests when it opens this spring
The giant hotel company announced that starting on February 2015, the WiFi will be free at ALL HYATT HOTELS. Previously, it was free for elite members of Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program.
And unlike other hotels WiFi offerings, the WiFi will be free whether you are a Hyatt Gold Passport member or not, and whether you booked directly through Hyatt or not.
“Internet connectivity is no longer an amenity. It has become an integral part of travelers’ daily lives and a basic expectation,” said Kristine Rose, vice president of brands for Hyatt. “Travelers shouldn’t have to remember which brands or locations offer it for free or the strings attached to get it.”
We kinda can't believe this. Even though we've been saying WiFi is as important as air conditioning and a toilet that flushes, for several years now, it feels strange that major hotel brands are finally coming around to it. But it is good news.
Now, we'll be scrutinizing the speed and quality of this free WiFi. Oh and on that note, where Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond and Platinum tier members will receive a complimentary upgrade to a Hyatt Hotel's premium WiFi service.
So, what do you have to say, Hilton Hotels?
Go ahead. Update your TPS report from your guest room.
The time we champions of free hotel WiFi have longed for has finally, FINALLY!, come. No longer do you have to put down the Snickers bar, hurriedly throw on sweatpants and scurry down to the lobby to access the free WiFi to answer an important work email at Starwood Hotels.
The company just announced they will be offering property-wide complimentary WiFi to all SPG Members, of all levels, starting on February 2. Previously free WiFi was only given to Gold or Platinum members.
But there is a catch. You have to book your stay through Starwood, whether it be the website, the mobile site or the SPG app. Which really you should be doing anyways so you can earn points to your SPG account.
We've been waiting for this moment for a long time, or well, since rival chain Marriott announced they would be giving free WiFi to all their Marriott Rewards members at least.
Now travelers looking to stay at Starwood Hotels, which include W, Westin, St. Regis and Le Meridien, will have to decide what's a better deal--the discounted rate on a booking site or a last-minute booking app or paying the rack rate on Starwood and getting free WiFi. We say, the latter. Always. We just hope the WiFi is fast.
[Photo: Starwood Hotels]
There are WiFi charges, and then there are WiFi charges. And then, well beyond that, there are WiFi charges – utterly obscene, the like of which we’ve never heard of before. This comes under the latter.
WiFi at the hotel starts at €9 for “low speed”, rockets up to €200 for “medium speed” and then goes utterly insane at €300 for high speed. That’s almost twice the cost of their lowest rooms, which cost from €163.
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The main reason we go crazy for free WiFi in hotels? Checking social media, apparently. The second? Getting directions. How very dull.
The research has been done by Amba, the “contemporary” (ie millennial) arm of glh, formerly Guoman. Amba Charing Cross, which used to be a Guoman itself, opened this month with what it’s billing as “the world’s fastest, free unlimited WiFi” (how much would we love to test that out?). There will also be Smart TVs in every room, USB sockets by every bed, and iPads on every nightstand.
Handily for them (but also totally believably), Amba found that 67% of the 1000 UK travelers questioned said free WiFi would make them more likely to select a hotel – even higher than location,at 65%. Specifically fast WiFi with unlimited downloads came in at 34%.
WiFi also came out as the most important factor in rating a hotel post-stay, with 60% of those questioned saying that was the most crucial – even more than those who rated getting a good night’s sleep.
Free WiFi / Sandals Resorts / Beaches Resorts / All-Inclusive Resorts / Hotel News / Hotel WiFi / → All Tags
In early 2013, when Sandals Resorts upgraded their WiFi networks, we were thrilled to hear that you could feasibly check your email by the pool. Not that we would recommend doing that on your vacation but just knowing that you could is always a comfort for the extremely connected like ourselves.
However, we were less than thrilled that WiFi was still an additional fee, usually about $14 a day, or $43 for the week.
But now, both Sandals and Beaches resorts are offering free WiFi to guests during their stay. The WiFi will be available in all room categories in all public areas. (Previously, if you booked a Concierge or Butler level suites, you could get free WiFi.)
Even better, there doesn't appear to be a device restriction so you can connect your phone and your tablet and your laptop and your portable game control. But come on, if you're traveling with all that, and you don't have kids or several members in your party, then maybe you should seek out a digital detox program instead.
[Photo: Sandals Resorts/Facebook]
That’s an additional 125 hotels where you can get online without incurring an annoying daily fee, ranging from an historic palace in Jaipur (above Rambagh Palace) to the Pierre in New York. The change covers Taj Hotels, Vivanta by Taj, Gateway Hotels, and Ginger, for the duration of your stay on up to three devices.
The set up sounds very much like what we’ve seen at Four Seasons, with basic internet for emails, social media, and surfing the web included. If you need higher bandwidth, or want to connect further devices, you can upgrade to a “premium tier” for a fee.
Once again, Virgin Hotels is
harassing driving by other hotels in town, flaunting what they got. This time, it's free WiFi which will be available for every guest at the Virgin Hotel Chicago when it opens in January.
Virgin took the streets of Chicago in a branded van the other night and parked at the intersection of Wells and Adams St., which is conveniently near both the JW Marrioott and the W City Center hotels, two hotels that charge for WiFi in the guest rooms. (Although, internet access is available in the lobby for free.)
But not only did Virgin be like, "Look what we have that they don't have!", they also offered free high-speed WiFi from the van so passerbys could experience the Virgin WiFi network.
Virgin will also not charge for early departure fees, room service delivery fees, minibar stocking fees, and business center fees so expect this van to come back around. again.
[Photo: Virgin Hotels]
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The reason we were all "meh" about Marriott Hotels' wireless phone chargers a few weeks ago was simply because Marriott is still charging for WiFi up in the guest rooms. But it looks like they've had a change of heart because...
Marriott International will be giving all members of its Marriott Rewards program free WiF at all Marriott brands (about 3,800 hotels) starting on January 15, 2015. #stunned #flabbergasted #theendishere
Here's the official Marriott statement:
Hotel Basics / Front Desk Guy / Aditya Rajaram / Hotel WiFi / Hotel Bathrooms / Hotel Toiletries / → All Tags
Earlier, we gave you 10 Basic Things a Hotel Must Offer Guests, no matter what the service level, as these basics are the core of any hospitality offering.
Those requirements ranged from security to cleanliness to service responsiveness. However, as the industry has evolved, the needs of guests too, have evolved. The constant demands for technology and customization have elevated the need for hotels across all service levels to keep up with these demands and ensure that they offer them through accessible and affordable options. Here are some of those requirements that have become, The Basics 2.0.
We'll be continually posting new "basics" so if you've got an idea for one, let us know.