Hotels: Don’t Charge Us For Internet Use

I stayed at the Hilton hotel in San Diego this weekend, and overall a great experience. However there was a 10 dollar charge for internet for 24 hours usage at the property, and since I wasn’t on business, I wouldn’t be able to expense it.     

Charging guests for internet access is like charging for water or the lights, and hotels that charge are missing a few business opportunities.   Like what? Here’s a few suggestions, and then I’ll open it up to commenters to share their ideas:

  1. Providing free WiFi (like coffee shops have figured out) means I’m more likely to stay on property and spend more time and money on your hotel. It means I’m more likely to have business meetings in your restaurant or lounge and invite others to come and do business.  We have expense reports and are likely to buy food and drink.  We’ll access our web enabled devices at the pool, in the lounge, keeping our kids busy, and keeping us connected.
  2. Savvy hotels will create or foster location based social networks, that will encourage guests to rate and rank which restaurants, attractions, and self-support each other.  As we rate and rank nearby attractions in the context of being a guest at your hotel, that centralizes our experiences with your brand –we’ll tell our network about the great we had our experience in and around as guests at your property.
  3. Develop a virtual concierge that will be a helpful guide to your guests, consider using twitter like the four seasons does, they even do this for their Palo Alto hotel, near my house.  You can provide us a better experience if we’re connected to each other –and to you.
  4. Maybe we’ll spend more times learning from your leadership teams, like Bill Marriot’s blog.  Hotels put a lot of marketing and service products in our hotel rooms like menus, spa treatments and concierge treatments, allow us to see these things online, not just in paper, giving us more opportunity to buy more.  

I’m not picking on Hilton alone,  as I’m told it varies on property per property basis, and there are many other hotels that charge for internet, but as a general rule of thumb, provide a better experience to guests so you can connect with other –and you.   When I travel on personal trips, I’m going to consider free internet access as a major factor to my decision on where to stay.

Update: Here’s a handy guide of which hotels charge who have internet access and how much they charge.  About 22 of the 44 hotel chains charge for internet, and some don’t even offer it (motel 6).  Many of you expressed agreement with my post (and a ton more in Twitter) so I hope this helps in your decision making.

98 Replies to “Hotels: Don’t Charge Us For Internet Use”

  1. Well put Jeremiah, when I make travel decision, free internet is one of the main decision makers. During my last stay in Palo Alto I had room service while using the wifi at the hotel. The alternative would have been to find a place with free wifi, even whilst on business travel, since I will not pay for internet access at a hotel. Cheers, Marc

  2. I am not sure who the people in the travel industry are who think that it’s a great idea to nickel-and-dime travelers for cookies on airplanes, internet access in hotels, and so forth, but they cannot be very bright. It is so annoying. When I get a “discount ticket at the lowest price” and then have to pay $4 for cookies or $10 for internet, all that goodwill goes away. Your ideas about social networks within hotels are a little futuristic (but good), but I would just like to see more common sense in the industry! Raise the hotel room price from $135 to $145 – would I notice at the Hilton in San Diego where I go every two years?? Doubt it. But I WILL notice free internet – as a plus.

  3. In one of the great ironies of hotel living, the lower cost brands within the families, such as the Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn, don’t charge for internet, while the full service hotels do.

    (And the higher end hotels are charging $15/day.)

    I’ve pretty much decided to get EVDO so I can avoid all of the fees. Once I nuke my TMobile, Boingo, and the 5-10 nights per month I’m paying to hotels, EVDO looks very appealing.

  4. It’s really unfortunate that this post has a reason to exist but from Hilton’s to Hyatts and many of the other names in between I’ve seen this same issue again and again and it never makes sense.

    Your comments show many benefits to the bottom line for opening up Wifi access and I think we can all brainstorm many, many more. From a social media perspective I’ve always thought there is a big missing play in having you rate / comment on your hotel stay (in real time perhaps) when you login. Giving me free access when so many others do not is a great way to help get that positive rating.

    Some properties are learning but I get the feeling hotels are treating this much like parking. Easy revenue to make the average stay increase in value. But the long term customer experience impact is terrible and doesn’t build loyalty.

  5. I agree with you. It seems that it’s the big/nice hotels that seem to be the problem, even though you pay hundreds of dollars a night to stay, they want to nickle & dime you on every add-on service. Spend &40 at Comfort Inn, Super 8, most any “affordable” hotel and you get free wifi, breakfast, newspapers – and usually a more friendly staff.

  6. Very well said . I agree with you. For reputed hotels like the one you are talking about the cost of providing free internet access is peanuts. While they charge you fortune. The hotels should ponder about this seriously.

  7. In Mexico, ALL hotels charge for internet access, even the ones from foreign hotel chains (American and European chains) that regularly don’t charge for the service in other countries. And in case you were wondering, they usually also charge higher fees for the service.

  8. $10 for 24 hrs? Here in the UK Virgin Trains have wi-fi on the trains. Try £5 per hour! Their most popular route, Birmingham – London is conveniently 1hr 24 though so many sign up for 24 hrs.

    They get away with it as, like in the hotel example, most users are on business so don’t quibble the price.

  9. I was going to write the same blog! We just came back from a trip to Seattle/San Francisco, and as a SaaS start-up needed internet in our hotels. We stayed in both the Grand Hyatt Bellevue where they wanted to charge all 3 of us to use the internet on each of our laptops!

    Fortunately, the staff there understood our frustration (they said they kept telling HQ but nothing ever came of it) and made a note to deduct the internet charges on our room on check-out, so we did manage to get free internet! It was exactly the same at Le Meridian downtown in San Francisco, who only gave us 2 VIP complimentary hours when we complained.

    Anyway, just goes to show if you complain, you can usually get some free time, but it is ridiculous that the large expensive chains are still charging for internet access when most of their customers are business users, all the low end hotels seem to provide it for free nowadays…

  10. The travel industry has long believed in a leisure vs business segmentation model in which business travelers are less price-sensitive and more willing to pay a la carte fees for extras.

    I agree with you – I look for hotels with free internet access when I travel – but I can’t help noticing that your second sentence supports the travel industry’s leisure/business segmentation. “Since I wasn’t on business, I wouldn’t be able to expense it.”

  11. $10? Phooey. The Maritim and the Bayerischer Hof in Munich want €27. A day. A T-Mobile 30-day pass without discount in Germany is about the same price.

  12. I have EVDO and skip the whole problem now. My desk is more or less where ever I sit down.

    It has saved me many times and actually saved me the month’s fee when I was in NY for four days.

  13. Good post, agree totally. It’s silly short-term thinking. (At the moment I’m staying at the Conde Luna hotel in León, Spain. But… I’m typing this in a nearby cafe with free Wifi, since the hotel charges € 10 a day and this for a very slow or often simply not functioning connection! I’ve heard that the manager wants to improve it, but the owner still lives in the middle ages and doesn’t think internet is too immportant…)

  14. There’s also good old fashioned goodwill they’re missing out on. Travel (even if on business) is an experience industry, which means purchase decisions are heavily influenced by branding and consumer bias. I stay in one of about 10 hotels in DC every week and those that charge for Web access sometimes overshadow an otherwise positive experience. And C2B grudges can last a long time. It’s like the guy who tried to talk me down from $.25 to $.10 on a toy at our yard sale on Saturday. I’m respectful and polite but doubt that I’d seek out a friendship with him.

  15. >We™ll access our web enabled devices at the pool, in the lounge, keeping our kids busy, and keeping us connected.

    I’ve noticed several hotels (inc. the Hilton) offer free wifi in public places, but charge for in-room use. Perhaps to encourage people to sit in the lobby so the place looks more popular?

    I love the idea of encouraging people to rank and review their stay: what if, when I log onto your wifi, rather than direct me to the property homepage, I get redirected to a rating site, to encourage people to leave feedback?

  16. Two things that are important in hotels 1) The size of the towels, 2) Decent (and free) internet. Based in the UK and while not travelling too much I always watch out or free internet yet regularly have £50-worth of wireless internet charges in my montly expense claims.
    Worse case was last week; £12 for an evening of internet at a speed that even at best took me back to the bad old days of dial-up. Budget hotels have to make money somehow; if you have to charge for internet then please make the service lightning fast :o)

  17. Unbelievable!!! Well, this is one of the many things that pops up in a downturn economy.

  18. Hear Hear!
    It just makes them look cheap so you start to question other services they provide. The days are past where WiFi was a fancy extra. Now the absence just subtracts from the experience.

  19. While I agree I’m cynical it will change, we need to remember that Hotels have for years charged totally outrageous phone rates even for a local call.

    If after decades of cost reduction in telecoms this has had no effect on the charged rate (to the point most of us use our cell phones) why would they start listening now. It’s shortsighted but for a Hotel internet access is simply another infrastructure service they need to maintain. Hopefully Jeremiah some will read your post and change their approach.

    …and as many replies point out remember free internet is a distinctly American novelty in all my overseas ventures I have had to pay in one way or another.

  20. Russ Somers

    I get the business logic for hotels to charge for internet access and other services. The point I’m simply making is that customers connected to each other and to the hotel are likely to better customers and spend more money.

    I’m sure many hotels have done analysis on the pros and cons.

  21. I so agree with you. Wish I could send this to all hotel execs! I just booked rooms in Dallas for market and specifically selected based on – location, Internet, THEN price. Should tell them something. I don’t like those “hidden fees” of Internet, parking, charging for the paper outside my door (yes, have run across that too). I own my own retail store and if my objective is customer service to stay in business, why is it not their objective?

  22. Mark Drapeau hit the nail on the head:
    Nothing destroys good will faster than nickel-and-diming your customer.

    It’s the same old mistake of prioritizing a short-term gain, rather than looking at the lifetime value of the customer – not to mention the value of all that WOM publicity that most companies spend big bucks trying to get their online marketing department to conjure up by artificial means!

  23. This has been one of my pet peeves for a long time. Internet access is still seen by too many hotels as a optional extra. Internet, especially for business travelers, is as essential as towels in the bathroom. Still too many hotels make it unclear as to whether they charge for internet at booking time. I will never knowingly stay in a hotel that charges – it is clear I am not their target customer.

  24. Unfortunately, even if Hilton sees this post, they’ll know that they made the right decision. Why? For two reasons. First, you noted that you were there during the weekend. Second, because you noted that even though you didn’t like the Hilton’s policy, you stayed there anyway.

    While I agree that all of the nickel and diming is silly, the fact of the matter is that it works to reduce costs, and if companies are being measured on reducing costs, then it’s the superb strategy. Even if no one in the Hilton San Diego used Internet that weekend, the accountant can claim huge cost savings from not providing free Internet to people.

  25. Jeramiah,

    I hope this post and the ensuring comments act as a “wake up call” for the hospitality industry!!!

    A few months ago, I stayed at a Residence Inn – on the “lower end” of the Marriott chain – and was STUNNED at the amenities offered vs the “high end” Marriott hotels.

    The “flagship” Marriott may have had a sheets with a higher thread count – but the free internet, free complimentary breakfast and free newspaper at about half the per night rate means that the next time I travel, I’ll choose a Residence Inn over a Marriott. It’s a no brainer.

  26. Just having gotten back from The Roosevelt Hotel in NYC where I stayed on business and had to pay $10 a day for Internet, this issue has been on my mind. Great hotel overall and I got a great rate, but cmon, bake it into the room rate instead of sticking it to me extra. The bottom line, is they do it because they can. You don’t have a Marriott Courtyard or Residence Inn in Times Square. This is nothing more than an additional room tax. The only good news for me on this trip is that their connection went down for a day or so and they had to give me 24 hours for free!

  27. I agree that the hotels shouldn’t charge, but I have to say I don’t agree with most of your other reasoning. I’ve stayed in plenty of places with free wifi, and *never* order more food/drinks, and have never heard or seen a story to show the contrary. As a business traveler, if I need to pay, I pay, and that’s that. I don’t think the hotel really looks at the casual traveler anyway, since they aren’t the big ticket payers…

    To me, the single biggest reason not to charge is to not inconvenience a traveler so that they don’t consider going elsewhere on their next business trip. That’s it.

  28. Jeremiah,

    I could not agree more. In fact, I tweeted about this very thing this weekend, although I was on the receiving end of free wi-fi at Holiday Inn. I like your analogy: charging me for internet access is the same thing as asking me to pay for my room to be cleaned in between nights.

    Add to your points above: it’s just a hassle hotels should try to avoid for their guests. Logging into their systems can be enough of a hassle when it’s free…when you have to pay sometimes it can take 5-10 minutes to get your mail checked. It’s so lovely to be able to walk in, open the computer, get logged in, and let your mail and rss feeds sync up while you’re unpacking. All ready to go by the time you’re done…

    Thanks for the post.

  29. Dear Jeremiah, I could not agree more with you.

    Last month, I wanted to spend a week end in The Trocadero renaissance Hotel in Paris. I had the intention of trying everything the hotel had to offer but when the receptionist explained that the welcome gift was a 50cl bottle of water and that the internet was charged 7 euros an hour in a 950 euros/night room, I got a clear idea that everything would be charged at the price of gold.
    Conclusion : I did not take any extra and I will NEVER return in that hotel. NEVER.

    PS: Hopefully, I was there on bonus points.

  30. I’m with you on this one Jeremiah. How can a $79/night Clarion give free Internet access and I go to a Wynn, Venetian, or a Hilton ($300-$600/night) and have to pay $10-$13/night for Internet? It has become my single greatest pet peeve! I avoid these pay for Internet hotels at all costs.

    Jim Adams – CEO
    New Homes

  31. Don’t they charge for internet precisely because people staying there are expensing it and don’t really care? I’m surprised they don’t charge more. And I bet they are not making any money from adult pay-per-views from biz travelers with laptops either, so they need to fill that revenue gap somehow.

  32. If all of us would simply go on-line to the major hotel chains (that add an internet charges to their rooms) customer service/contact pages and simply point out that we will stay elsewhere where internet/wireless service is a ‘value-added’ customer benefit we’d probably good results eventually. I vote with my pocketbook…but also squeak into their ear why I voted not to stay 🙂

  33. This has been a travel pet peeve of mine for so long!! If I can help it, I now never stay at a hotel that charges for internet service. I hate being nickled & dimed to death by hotels. I also dislike it when they charge you to use their gym, but that doesn’t irk me like charging for internet. I’m in real estate & need that connection every day when I travel, or I risk losing some income.

    Thank you, Jeremiah, for posting such an excellent article. I’m going to print it and take it to every hotel that charges me for an internet connection or WiFi.

  34. Free WiFi access isn’t really free, the cost is built-in to your room charge or covered by a “resort fee.” The available bandwidth, coverage, and support are usually minimal as well.

    To provide a decent level of service requires a bit of capital investment, call center and on site support; all of which cost money. It’s a different product (or it should be), so we all have a choice which level of service we want.

  35. Ever been to Europe, Russia or China? You pay an arm and a leg for internet connections…

    Being in the hospitality industry myself and a have user on internet in all of my companies we provide free internet acces as well as free lunches for Free Agents, working in & around our facilities.

    This creates a great buzz on twitter, people mentioning our name on a daily base, thus generating extra sales/turnover for our regular meetingsbusiness. Free internet acces for our clients is the best marketing tool there is in the hospitality industry!

  36. Hi, Jeremiah — in addition to the service charge, marquee hotels often have poor connectivity (bandwidth), in my experience. And yet the budget motels (think Super8) have free wifi and decent access speed.

    Your suggestion about guest-created recommendations is excellent!

  37. I agree with what Jared M. Spool, Jack LeBlond, David Gildeh, and others have observed. It’s an iron law of sorts, for American hotels, at least: the more expensive the hotel, the more likely it is to charge for internet, and/or the lower quality the connection has.

    Another reason I love my Sprint PCS card.

    Great suggestions, Jeremiah.

  38. You make an excellent point Jeremiah — and I hope the Travel industry in general listens to it. Personally speaking, I rate having a good wifi/internet connectivity higher than a lot of other ameneties they offer. Folks in the hotel industry and travel industry in general need to realize the changing demographics, social structure, mindset, and preferences of the current population if they want continued growth (many are still using the business model they used 15 or 20 years ago).

    Well put.

  39. I agree, but I have a hotel as a long time client,owner as a friend, and he tells me 1) free wifi attracts people to your lobby that you might not want other guests to see hanging out there 2)Most hotels are not owned by the operator, and the operator has a service that covers all the contracted hotels, 3)in many metro areas, getting a building served with wifi isn’t easy or inexpensive.4) Some meeting planners actually don’t want wi-fi in their meetings. 5)That doesn’t even take into account the cost of a wireless access point or other device in every room, replacing the ones that are stolen, bandwidth, etc.
    Even if there’s an urban network in your downtown, it’s not that easy for it to go through the walls of a hotel, which are often concrete.

    Smaller hotels and extended stay hotels with different models are more likely to have free wifi than Hyatts or Hiltons.

    I’m not the world’s leading hotel expert, but the downtown Phoenix Wyndham and I have had this conversation on a high enough level (the owner) for me to know some of the issues. Steve has put it in the lobby finally.

  40. Jeremiah,

    I definitely can understand why you would want something for free, and yes internet has become a loss leader for many hotel chains including the breakfast buffets.

    I have worked in hotels for the last 15 years and what I can tell you is although your home internet might cost $40 per month, which is subsidized by business customers. Hotels spends hundreds of thousands of dollars upgrading their systems to meet the ever demanding internet needs of its customers. Monthly Bandwidth and support service to serve hundreds of rooms is a considerable expense.

    The truth is nothing is free, it is just packaged or amortized into other costs.

    I would suspect your room charge would go up by $5-10 to provide internet for free. With pay as you go pricing you can decide to use the internet when you need it. It also saves other guests from subsidizing other guests internet usage.

    There is no right answer, it is just an example of a business deciding how it collects its revenues to cover its costs and turn a profit.

    The truth is you want to stay at profitable establishments because they will have better trained staff and better amenities.

    With that said, of course in and apples to apples scenario I am going to pick the hotel with the best room rate and free internet. However, I will not be staying at the roadside motel which has a free internet connection for the sake of free internet.

    Thanks for starting the discussion.


  41. Great post. When did luxury become synonymous with nickel and dime? Shouldn’t a luxury experience be one where the little details (like Internet, newspapers and bottled water) magically disappear? It’s interesting to read some of the posts from hospitality industry insiders because you can see the entrenched line of thinking, reinforced by excuses about access and cost.

    I would think that the Hampton Inn flag with it’s 2,800 properties has more rooms, requiring more infrastructure than the Hilton Flag. Yet Hampton has managed to outfit all (or at least most) of their properties with free wireless internet — all while providing a hot breakfast, free newspaper, free gym access, acceptably high thread count sheets, a good mattress, and a friendly staff — at a price around $120. And look! Their parking lots are packed!

  42. Agree. I find it amazing that hotels feel the need to charge for internet access. I agree with your points about how they can leverage the internet more, but most hotels are at step -1. And what really is ironic is that my non statistically significant survey tells me that the more expensive the hotel, the more likely is that they will charge their guests. The cheaper hotels don’t charge as much. When I go to a nice hotel and they charge me, I can’t even get upset. I just shake my head in disbelief about their nickling and diming….

  43. Francene, those are excellent points. Free wifi could be limited to hotel guests that provide room number/surname or code. Good point about Wifi being ubiquitous–and available to everyone and anyone, this is already the case in Mountain View, CA, which is provided in part by Google.

    Brian, I don’t want anything for free, I’m speaking as a paying hotel customer. However, I am suggesting the hotels can improve their customer experience, and find ways to make it profitable by allowing customers to be connected to each to each other, and even to the hotel staff or brand. There’s an opportunity here for whoever can figure it out.

    Profitable Opportunity: Provide guests with free internet wifi in exchange for them having a better customer experience –and to allow guests to support each other by sharing information, and providing new marketing opportunities for the hotel brand.

  44. absolutely! most places i go to i have had to pay extra for hotel charges, just like the esporta sports club here in the uk.

    FREE INTERNET ACCESS that’s we want!

  45. Amen! We just told the Le Meridien Hotel in San Francisco that we’d look to have our Committee (I’m a an appointee to a state commission) move us to another hotel in future if they didn’t start including free wifi with our room. (We alternate between a hotel that offers free wifi and one that doesn’t). We can’t expense wifi when attending these meetings but need it to stay in contact with our professional work. The sales manager said that they’d need to up the room rate to cover that. We told him they could bring that up with our travel coordinator, and we’d tell our staff that our preference would be to have wifi included. We told the sales manager to think about whether he really wanted to lose all our business for the sake of a $9.95 a day wifi charge. (As many as 20 of us at a time at these meetings) He said it was honestly helpful to get that feedback. I suggest you say something to the hotel manager when you leave. This kind of thing will only change — said our sales manager — if enough people speak up to let them realize they can lose business because of it.

  46. Jeremiah, you touched on the biggest issue; not just the necessity to drop this negative brand exprience but the missed opportunity to build a service level with your visitors using the internet as a competitive differentiator.

    “Sir, would you like a text message when we’ve finished making up your room?” “Sir, you can access our 24/7 concierge service from anywhere in the hotel from your computer or mobile device”. “Thanks for using our internet connection; here are the top 3 requests from other visitors, would you take a moment to vote on them or add your own requests to the list?” “Can we help you book your next room or travel request?”

    Nearly fifteen years after the www was rolled out, brands are still notoriously lousy about seeing the opportunities.

  47. One “trick” I use is to put a few dollars into a starbucks card so that I can always use the free WIFI in a nearby starbucks.

  48. Nothing new to add to this, as I agree with the posters who have said that it is ironic that the high end hotels charge for this while lower end hotels offer it for free. If I can walk into a coffee shop and get free wi-fi (to your first point), why shouldn’t I have free access somewhere I am already paying to stay at? Some hotels do get this though; I recently stayed at a Kimpton Hotel in Washington DC with free wi-fi for guests. They also seem to “get it” with tech in general though as they are leveraging Facebook, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 outlets.

  49. I remember that it was not so long ago that hotels used to make a lot of extra revenue from telephone call charges. So it’s no surprise that they want to generate extra profit from internet connections. As you correctly say hotels are missing a trick by charging; we always look for free internet as a beneficial feature when selecting hotels.

  50. Totally agree – especially when you take the actual cost for the hotel when the internet access is all ready there. On top of that the access you eventually get is oftentimes rather poor, unstable and slow. May be we all should join forces and create a facebook group “the international movement for free wifi in hotels”. 🙂

    Anyway – As you say Jeremiah it is kind of OK when you are on a business trip, but on the other hand not. I truly believe that it would be better for hotels to offer this for free. It’s convenient and practical because I can do my work but also keep in touch with family and friends. The hotel could as mentioned here already expand their service to me as a guest and make my stay even more valuable. Just imagine all the self-service offers they could make available through a “guest community”. Building a closer relationship with the guest more than possible. Let me make that profile and let me store it for my next stay. Let me access that profile even when I am not a guest but preparing for my next stay etc. etc. etc.

    Come on guys see the benefits and the bigger picture – not only the 10$ you can make out of me the next 24 h.

  51. I am not defending it, so much as explaining it from a hotel point of view.

    It’s still a revenue stream that hotels are trapped into, just like when we killed our revenue from the phone. It was a cash cow, and we shot ourselves in the foot. see here:

    Same with internet… but what happens is that the cost (due to infrastucture, capital costs, etc) has to be subsidized in some manner. I say “has to” because hotels are never at the front of the tech boom and hotel management companies are still incapable of looking at providing the internet as a cost of business. I understand why, as our profits in this economy have vanished, and we need to capitalize on any revenue stream that exists. I am not saying this proudly, of course.

    One of your commenters got it right: business travel is a write off, therefore internet at hotels is still a cost of doing business for the *consumer*, not the property itself (which is why internet can still be $450 for 10 hours at some places: No one bats an eye paying for internet, unless you are an independent consultant like me, or a web guy like you, etc. We think it should flow free from the sewers and gutters, while hotels are simply not technologically focused. They are guest service focused couple with staying in business. They are certainly not pioneers. See here: (see here:…

    In the end, what is happening is that *it seems* you aren’t paying for it anymore at most properties, but don’t be fooled. That cost is firmly embedded into the rate and subsidized, or added to the dreaded conundrum of “resort fees”.

    So… do you want to pay for internet that you actually use, or get charged a resort fee and pay for things that you may not use?

    Business and leisure travelers *hate* resort fees for precisely that reason, and always reconcile the fact of the matter… people rather pay for services rendered, than pay for ones you likely won’t use.

    That being said, it is changing, and hotels are getting hip. In fact where they used to be about a decade behind the times, some boutique segments are really being leaders in business commerce, from wifi enabled lobbies for the public, to green movements, and even social giving and charity campaigns.

    Hotels are an imperfect business, but they get it right after some time. It isn’t just guest service… it is also keeping the doors open.

    I am not justifying or defending it, just giving some background. Cheers, and GREAT POST. See you on the twitter thingy!

  52. This is a real eye opener. I used to always feel like a miser when I was disappointed and cringed at the internet rates that hotels charge. I run my own business and even if it is charged to the company eventually I am paying for it… Catching up on work during trips can get really difficult. I sure hope more hotels take up the lead and are listening

  53. I agree. In this day & age, allowing me to connect to the internet in the convenience of my room is very important. When traveling for leisure, free internet access is often a deciding factor when selecting a hotel as my husband & I both carry laptops & iPhones. If your hotel is going to charge for internet, you won’t even be considered in my options.
    My biggest pet peeve, however, is when I travel for business and I’m staying at a 5-star hotel for a conference on an internet-based topic, and I’m still charged for daily internet use. I realize it’s a business expense, and doesn’t really come out of my pocket, but it seems tacky to me. I know part of this is to blame on the conference planner, but hotels make a good chunk of money hosting conferences. If the internet is why I’m attending, shouldn’t that be included in part of my hotel room package? Is that too much to ask?

  54. Wonderful thoughts, Jeremiah. I knew charging for internet was just stupid, at least by the big hotel chains… But I didn’t think of all these points… It seems clear that the benefits of providing the service for free makes more business sense for the the hotels as well. I’ll put these suggestions to every hotel I visit.


  55. It may still be reasonable to charge if internet connectivity costs in high, especially in some parts of Asia. In the case of a well developed country where bandwidth is relatively affordable, or I may even say, negligible compared to the hotel’s bottomline, it doesn’t make sense to make guest pay. I like the idea of “create or foster location based social networks”. Thanks Jeremiah.

  56. There is one interesting twist on WiFi access in Las Vegas. Some of the hotels have wired-only pay access or their WiFi rate is very high. Third-party WiFi providers provide access to rooms through by having base stations outside the properties. Their services undercut the hotel prices — free enterprise at its best!

  57. If we all detail what we want for free hotels would go bankrupt providing it. However, we don’t go to a hotel unless is advertises free Wifi

  58. Here, here. I agree entirely. I travel frequently on business, and usually stay at 3.5 and 4 star hotels that cater to business travellers. I am shocked when they: a) have Internet only at their business center, or b) charge $9.95 – $19.95 a day for WIFI.

    If I was at a cheap hotel or motor inn, then I could overlook the inconvenience. However, when staying at expensive 4 star business hotels, surely they can provide free WIFI.

    Like minibar service, sometimes the IT services for WIFI are outsourced, and the outsourcer manages the online payments rather than the hotel.

  59. Hey- I agree with the concepts and priciples of JO’s OP, but I would offer that many of the late adopters may be stuck in agreements they made with their WiFi Service providers.

    We did a fact finding call to on of the larger Franchise Coffee Chains in Canada asking why they chose to be the last ones to offer free Wi Fi (esp. after Starbux in Canada offered free WiFi to existing Bell customers yay!) and the VP Marketing said they had been in talks with Rogers Communications about getting out of the current 5 year contract that a previous Marketing Dept. Team had negotiated.

    So as far as I know, they still offer paid WiFi and you can guess where I go for meetings.

    The T’s & C’s can be debilitating to medium term flexibility and longer term market share / goodwill loss.

    Hotels are really out there if they still consider local calls and WiFi to be extraneous charges, esp. if you are in any sort of loyalty plan and pay more than 150$ per night!


  60. I totally agree with you.
    For some reason hotels are failing to see the business benefits in providing free wi-fi to guests, some of which you mentioned in your post. When-ever I had visitors from abroad my first advice my don’t pay for wi-fi access at the hotel – step outside, you’ll find a dozen places offering it for free. Tel Aviv (and Israel for that matter) is very connected, and you can get free wi-fi at any place – cafe, restaurants, shopping malls, etc.

    Do hope someone from Hilton (and other hotel chains) is reading your blog… 😉

  61. You’d think at this point it would be included.

    Fun Fact: Last year at Comic Con, Paris Hilton stayed at the Hard Rock, instead of her hotel that was like, right next door….

  62. I think your analogy is spot on. For me, connectivity is as vital as hot running water. It’s one of the first questions I ask and I choose my hotel on the basis of whether they are going to charge me or not for it.

  63. Copy this as my opinion I™m not picking on Hilton alone, as I™m told it varies on property per property basis, and there are many other hotels that charge for internet, but as a general rule of thumb, provide a better experience to guests so you can connect with other “and you.

  64. i don’t understand why hotels don’t have free access. it makes the hotel more attractive to travellers, for convenience and keeping the guests on the hotel.

    when i was travelling for 6 months as a backpacker around the world, i always chose the hostels with free breakfasts and free internet / wifi. because these were costs that i was going to incur anyway. as you said, it keeps u on the premise so u can stay at the bar or cafe and u can consume more of their goods.

    it would be good to see more hotels and particularly hostels using a social networking function. there are more opps with hostels because its a younger and more techy demographic. people could leave tips on where to go, connect with staff and ask questions, and meet people online. when u go a hostel, most people want to socialise and meet other travelers, so having social networks would make sense.

  65. I’ve decided that there is a direct correlation: the more expensive the hotel, the more that it costs for internet access.
    My choice is Super 8 & Comfort Inn when we stay in MSP area. I love free internet & continental breakfast.

    On my last trip to SF we stayed at the Westin & internet access was $15/day. That was irritating in itself but what made it ridiculous was that the connection kept dropping during my meetings. I was trying to work! If hotels are going to charge, then they need to make sure they’re actually provide the service.

    I just chose the hotel for our home office visit (3 rooms for 4 nights). It was based on services: free internet, continental breakfast & shuttle service to airport. Hampton Inn may be getting a lot more of my business elsewhere too! 🙂

    Unfortunately I don’t think the industry will change though. Airports are similar… The Denver airport now has wonderfully FREE access – I love it! and I’ll keep flying United to hub there.

  66. OK, sorry I™m a bit late to this, but would like to offer another side to this debate. It should be remembered that not all WiFi is equal, and that there is much evidence to show that guests will and do pay for a service they value. It™s all very well being happy to have got something for free but not if it didn™t meet your needs and therefore left you feeling dissatisfied. Hotels, especially business hotels, focus on guest satisfaction, and many have recognised that the type of WiFi service they can offer free of charge will leave their guests disappointed and therefore choose to charge guests for a superior service.

    By superior service, I™m not implying that free WiFi is bad “ just that it might not have the features that many travellers expect. I™m talking about the sort of service that can handle bandwidth-hungry applications, provides enough IP addresses so that business people can connect to their corporate networks, protects the data on the laptop from theft or spam, and offers a free 24/7 multilingual helpline. Hoteliers are not experts in this field, therefore they rely on 3rd parties to provide the services their guests require now and are likely to require in the future.

    And all this costs. Hotels may be reluctant to meet these costs for a service from which they are getting no revenue, and therefore start cutting back. Limited or no support, less bandwidth, no VPN compatibility, no WPA… Soon they™ll have dissatisfied guests.

    Another way of handling this would be for hotels to offer both “ a free service up to a certain bandwidth and with limited features, then a paid-for service that has all the bells and whistles.

  67. See recent post on how hotels are using Twitter to respond to customer complaints and reach potential guests. This is only good news for consumers. [industry_bnet_com]

  68. A good hotel is that who provides complete satisfaction to its customers. A free WiFi and free internet adds extra value to the hotel. Customers wants satisfaction whether it is by free internet or any additional services . Internet is a necessary thing right now it should be free if some hotels are charging extra money for it this is not good.

  69. The messed up part about these highend hotels nickel and diming you is that places like the Baymont Inns and Days Inn supplies such services for free.

    It really makes these high end places that you pay A LOT of money for….look really really cheap.

    High End hotels are supposed to be about services. Yet The Days Inn and Baymont Suites supplies more services. I don’t get it.

  70. They can not be serious about charging the guests for internet. Let's be serious! Who gets into a hotel to heavily use the internet connection they have? What they can do, for security reasons, is to request a MAC address and assign an static IP address to your laptop. This is because they have to record the traffic you do in order not to get access to the network for spamming and other illegal activities. Most of the London hotels have already adopted this policy. The internet service is fast enough to watch online movies but for specific operation, as downloading using torrents and any other p2p networks, the ports are closed or the speed drops a lot until you can not use the connection any more.

  71. I was recently surprised to find that most Niagara Falls Hotels offer free Wi-Fi. And even better it was actually really fast, I hope in a few years every hotel will have realized the advantage of offering free internet access.

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