Free hotel Wi-Fi is a customer right

wifi sign

Wi-Fi is a utility, get over it!

It's 2016 and I am shocked that this is still an issue. Frankly, I do not understand from a guest’s point of view how the industry is still charging for this service.

Last week I was in a hotel that charged $17.95 per day for lackluster Internet service. That in itself is relatively offensive, but then to discover I was unable to stream video made it both infuriating and insulting. I couldn't binge on Dance Moms, which really hurt. Now I’ll never know which mom has the best dancing daughter. The horror.

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I Get It, But Still

On its face, I understand why hoteliers are still caught up with charging guests for this service: it costs a lot of money. Plus, guests are bringing an ever-increasing number of devices with them, and staying online for longer periods of time. It’s making a hotel’s bandwidth costs soar. Sadly, in the information age, this is the cost of doing business.

But like resort fees, which hopefully are on the way out, it’s something that shows a total lack of regard for how customers use a hotel. And your guests are beginning to dislike you for it.

Free high-speed Wi-Fi is as necessary as water, power and even the air we breathe; without it, people are unable to get their work done, or live their lives in the way they are accustomed to at home.

According to a 2015 Hotels.com survey, nearly 50 percent of business travelers said free Wi-Fi is their must-have when traveling for business.

Hotels.com amenities survey

Unlike obnoxiously priced roomservice, where a simple hamburger can wind up costing $30 or more at some hotels, we need Internet. Charge what you want for that burger, that’s my choice if I want to forego paying for my kids’ college education. Same goes with mini-bars. Put them in and I’ll make the choice to use them or not.

Wi-Fi, however, must be free and it must satisfy your hotel guests with adequate speed. Because as soon as the next downturn hits there is going to be a silent revolt. Those guests will just quietly move to hotels where they do not have to pay exorbitant fees for what know is a required part of their hotel stay. You wouldn’t charge extra for a guest to use the bathroom, so why would you charge them for something equally necessary?

Your Guests Loathe You For It

Don’t trust my opinion, I have sourced the opinions of road warriors who have a more eloquent way in describing how they feel ripped off. I am not using any names here to protect my commentators, but they are authentic and true.

“Wi-Fi fees—it's free and fast at McDonald's for goodness sake, get over it,” says one industry designer.

Here’s a hotel owner: “Having to pay for Wi-Fi at upscale hotels while getting it free from midscale hotels and below. Upscale hotels nickel and dime you more than midscale and below. They need to get with the program.”

“The cheaper the hotel, the freer the Wi-Fi. WTH?” says an industry supplier.

“Horrid Wi-Fi I have to pay for. There's nothing like trying to work on a work project and not being able to have a good Internet signal,” says a road warrior.

wi-fi

I could go on and on, but it would be redundant and boring. Of the many responses I received there was not one that supported this fee. This tells me the hotel industry is not listening to the needs of their customers.

I know you’re sad because people do not pay for overpriced movies or phone calls, and you want to make it up somehow. However, as an industry, we must stop foisting this ludicrous charge upon guests. They will only take so many fees. Think about the long-term business and make the change now or you’ll be paying the price in the future.  

Do you agree charging for this service is a farce? Or perhaps you think I need to get my head examined? Drop me a line here at [email protected] Or find me on Twitter @TravelingGlenn.

Glenn Haussman is editor-at-large for HOTEL MANAGEMENT. His views expressed are not necessarily those of HOTEL MANAGEMENT, its parent company Questex Media Group, and/or its subsidiaries.

 

 

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