We always negotiate free wifi
When selecting a hotel for our state conference sites. Conference attendees expect it anymore, and we usually have good luck getting the fee removed. The joke a few years ago during conferences held at upscale properties was that you had to stay at the Red Roof Inn for free wifi. From Fortune.
It’s not as though the cost of providing Internet access is overwhelming. In-room Internet rates “haven’t changed that much in the last 10 or 15 years,” even as the cost to the hotel of providing service has dropped dramatically, said Marcio Avillez, a senior vice president at Wi-Fi network access company iPass.
“It’s the elephant in the room,” Malinowski said. “Why are chains charging for it? Because they can. It is a source of revenue. For many hotels, that’s something they’re not willing to give up.”
But hotels can get into trouble. Marriott got into hot water over charges that it jammed Wi-Fi hotspots in one of its event locations. Convention attendees had to pay from $250 to $1,000 per device to go online. The debacle eventually cost the chain $600,000 to settle an FCC complaint over the situation.
As for chains that differentiate between loyalty club members and other guests, Mandarin Oriental told Fortune the income “allows us to continue to invest in higher levels of bandwidth in our hotels,” which can make or break Wi-Fi experience and a customer’s satisfaction. Guests who create profiles get free access because “[e]stablishing a direct relationship is of tremendous value to us.” And according to a Marriott spokesperson, “Free Wi-Fi is a meaningful way to reward our most loyal customers and continue to attract next-gen travelers.”