Hotel-free-wifiWe know that there are probably travelers out there who don’t prioritize the WiFi facilities of the hotel simply because they know they probably won’t be in the hotel long enough to really take advantage of it. However it seems that the more connected we get these days, the more important free hotel WiFi is becoming.

This is according a report from The New York Times who has found that a hotel offering up free WiFi is starting to become a necessity, rather than an added perk. According to Max Rayner, a partner at the travel consulting company Hudson Crossing, “The public’s expectation switched from ‘It’s nice when you have Wi-Fi’ to ‘You must have Wi-Fi,’. That evolution is a problem for hotels.”

The problem is because previously many hotels would charge exorbitant fees for WiFi which could potentially increase their profit margins, but now that free WiFi is expected by guests, there are some who might be unwilling to budge, but at the same time risk losing guests to rival hotels offering the service. Last year Marriott was hit with a $600,000 fine for trying to block personal WiFi hotspots of guests to encourage the use of their own.

In fact Loews Hotels & Reports found that charging for WiFi was one of the biggest complaints of their guests, and removing the fee led to an increase in customer satisfaction. However to try and maintain their profit margins, some hotels have instead created loyalty programs in which only members get access to free WiFi, which actually works out well since this encourages repeat visits in the future.

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