To be filed under “This does not surprise us at all” comes the news that approximately 75% of upscale and luxury hotels charge hotel guests for Internet and/or wifi access in their room.
According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association 2010 Lodging Survey, three-quarters of all hotels in the luxury hotel chain group, a category that includes brands such as the Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton, charged patrons a daily fee to access the Internet in their rooms. Compare that to only about two percent of hotel chains classified as “mid-range” that charge for wifi. A CNN article on the survey also noted that some hotel chains that offer both upscale and mid-range lodging brands will charge for Internet at the upscale facility but provide complimentary wifi access at its mid-range brand.We at Gadling have long been of the mind that free wifi is a hotel amenity that should be standard, like clean towels and indoor plumbing. Hell, “No Free Wifi” is the reigning champ of Gadling’s Hotel Madness Championship. So to learn that most luxury hotels are charging a fee for wifi when the overwhelming majority of mid-range hotels is not is enraging [emphasis very much my own].
Of course, the main reason luxury hotels charge a wifi fee is because they can. There is the assumption that anyone paying $500 or up per night for a hotel room can easily afford $10 to $20 per day for wifi. Additionally, many bookings at upscale hotels are paid for with business expense accounts, so who cares about extra internet fees? I care. And so should you.
So I say to you chain hotels, the time has come for you to drop the wifi fees at all of your properties. While you may not increase your customer base, you will win some serious PR karma and – who knows? – perhaps a nod in a future Gadling article.
Think about it, ok?
Photo courtesy Flickr user generated