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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.
Hotel WiFi / Free WiFi / London Hotels / Amba Hotels / glh Hotels / Guoman Hotels / Hotel Technology / Millennial Hotels / → All Tags
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.
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After a Courtyard by Marriott in Manhattan was embarrassingly outed for "code injecting" a few years back, we kinda thought that Marriott International would learn from this lesson and drop all their WiFi shenanigans, especially after telling us how much of a priority free and working WiFi are for them. But no.
On Friday, news came out that the Federal Communications Commission fined Marriott Hotels $600,000 for blocking mobile WiFi hotspots at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville back in March of 2013. (Marriott took over the property in 2012.) In blocking these hotspots, Marriott then charged conference attendees, exhibitors and small businesses between $250 and $1,000 per device to connect to the hotel's own network. #heinous.
However, those shenanigans have caught up with them. Now, after forking over $600,000 in fines, Marriott will also have to send "compliance and usage reports to the FCC every three months for the next three years." So, you'd expect Marriott to finally learn their lesson after this ruling. Nope. Read this statement they released, which Loyalty Lobby posted up:
The business center at the Atlas. At least this internet is free
One of the most important questions to take into account when picking a hotel? Whether or not there is free WiFi. You know how we feel about this at HotelChatter. It is imperative to our stay. We would not stay in a hotel with paid for WiFi.
But what’s almost worse than charging for WiFi? Advertising it as free, but actually imposing limits. We already told you about one reader’s encounter with a Fairfield Inn that had a limit of one device per guest, but we can go one better with our stay at the Atlas Hotel in Brussels last week.
The Atlas is a really nice, fashion-themed three star hotel in a great area of the city. It has OCD-friendly disposable coffee cups. It’s lovely. And it trumpets its “FREE Wireless High Speed Internet Access in ALL ROOMS, the Lounge, the Breakfast room and the Conference room” (sic) on its homepage.
The Atlas doles out the WiFi via individual codes at the front desk. We were given one, which we immediately tapped into our phone. We asked for another for our computer. And were told that there was a one code per room policy.
One device per room in one of the business centers of Europe? One device per room when you’re selling doubles, twins and duplexes? One device per room in 2014? Non non non, c'est pas possible!
Hotels are feeling the need for speed--fast WiFi speed.
We've been focusing a lot on speed in our last few WiFi Reports and we've been making notes as we go along on some of the faster WiFi speeds that we encounter across the world.
The list, which includes airports and beaches, was created using WiFi speed data collected from 45 million hotspots from April 1 to June 15 of this year. And not so surprisingly, the majority of the brands in the list are budget brands who offer WiFi for free. Here's the wefi list below, including the average speeds of the hotel brand's WiFi signal and our own notes on whether the WeFi, er, WiFi is free or not:
In our Annual WiFi Report the other week we called out 10 hotel brands that still have the nerve to charge for WiFi in 2014. We also gave big-ups to the hotel brands and individual hotels who've made free and working WiFi a priority for their guests.
Yet what a hotel brand aims to give their guests doesn't always get executed in real life, especially amongst such a heavily franchised brand like Fairfield. About a week after we praised Marriott, we received an email from a guest while staying at a Fairfield Inn. According to her, the hotel had free WiFi but they also had a limit of one device per guest. To hook up an extra device to the WiFi would cost another $3.95 a day.
We've heard of device limits at hotels before, but usually for more than two. So you can usually hook up your laptop and your phone, but then your tablet would be an extra charge. However, this guest claims that all Fairfield Inns are going to start implementing the extra device charge after one device. She writes: