Free Wi-Fi – The Time Has Come

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Posted in Business travel, Technology


Can you imagine checking into a hotel and being charged extra for a pillow, or some bedding?

For most business travellers, and a lot of leisure travellers, Wi-Fi is as essential to a successful stay as the bed and the bathroom; yet many hotels continue to charge handsomely to get connected, despite the negligible cost to themselves.The issue of ancillary fees has been hotly-debated in the world of business travel for some time but when it comes to Wi-Fi it’s time travellers really started to fight back.

On a recent trip to LA a smart hotel on the Sunset Strip was charging me per device, per day! Yet the day before, in a standard chain hotel in Orange County, Wi-Fi was free.

There seems to be no connection to how much you pay for the room; some 5* hotels offer free connection, others charge, and the same goes at the budget level. In short it’s a matter of choice on the part of the hotelier. On that basis it’s important that all of us customers help them make an informed choice.

So, fellow travellers, let’s get this sorted. The next time you make a reservation give the hotel a call and find out what the Wi-Fi policy is. If there’s a charge you can either inform them that you won’t be making a booking because of the policy, or that you will make the booking, provided they comp you free Wi-Fi. The more pressure they get, the quicker they will change. Being connected is a travel essential, not a luxury, and therefore needs to be included in room rates.

Of course some hotel groups have already got the message. Marlin Apartments has always offered free Wi-Fi, the Malmaison Group, Hotel du Vin, Accor and Radisson Blu Edwardian are also Internet heroes.

The time has come to end the Wi-Fi tax, but it needs all of us to make the point.

Dean Barrett is a disgruntled business traveller when he can’t get on his iPad. If you fancy debating ancillary fees follow him on Twitter @deanbarrett or why not (client plug warning!!) even register for next year’s Business Travel Show – www.businesstravelshow.com www.marlinapartments.com

One Response to Free Wi-Fi – The Time Has Come

  1. Chris Gee says:

    For me it’s more important that business travellers know what they’re getting. It’s great that some serviced apartments and hotels include free WiFi, but if the signal is poor, free or not, it’s pointless.
    I’d like to see a more sophisticated approach, whereby the strength of the WiFi is stated, for example:
    <=30MB free; <=60MB £2 per day; <=100MB £5 per day.
    What do you think?