I spend a lot of time travelling for business and spending time in hotels. One of my pet peeves about staying in hotels – especially the more expensive, brand-name hotels – is that there is no free hotel WiFi provided. In fact, not only is the WiFi not free, but it’s insanely expensive – £6 for an hours access or a “deal” of £20 for 24 hours access is not unusual.
£20 for a days worth of Internet access. Are you kidding me? Most of us pay less than that for our unlimited Broadband Internet at home!
The frustration of expensive Hotel WiFi
UK hotels are the worst for this, although US and European hotels aren’t above charging for WiFi either. There is nothing more frustrating than checking into your hotel room after a long trip, ideas of work on your mind and then firing up your laptop to see that if you want to do any work – you need to pay for the privilege. Also, I’m sure I’m not alone in noticing expensive WiFi access seems to come hand-in-hand with a poor mobile ‘phone signal, meaning you can’t even tether your Smartphone to your laptop or tablet to avoid the charges.
Walk 5 minutes out of the hotel in any direction and you’ll find a Starbucks, McDonalds or a local Coffee Shop that’s offering WiFi for free with a cup of Latte costing next to nothing. Why though, should you be forced to leave your hotel room to get any work done?
WiFi has never been more crucial to hotel guests
Due to the rise in popularity of Smartphones and tablets, reliable, free WiFi has never been more crucial to hotel guests as they want to connect to the Internet from anywhere. The GB Hotel Guest Survey 2013 report by BDRC Continental has found that hotel guests believe a good WiFi service is just as important as a good night’s sleep.
I understand that hotels need to make money, but in this day and age, charging for WiFi feels akin to charging for the water used from your hotel bathroom taps, or paying extra for your room to be heated. And if budget hotels and B&B’s can offer free WiFi, why can’t more upmarket hotels offer the same?
BT WiFi now available for free at all Thistle Hotels in UK
Thistle Hotels recently announced they are one of the first to break with the pack and offer free BT WiFi in their hotels across the UK. BT was the first supplier of public WiFi over 10 years ago, and the Thistle Hotels service, in partnership with glh., is free, fast and unlimited to all Thistle Hotel guests across the country. What’s more, logging on is a “one-click” service – allowing guests to log on to the Internet instantly, without the hassle of signing up and giving their details.
For me, as a regular traveller, this news means I’m more likely to book into a Thistle Hotel knowing I can access free WiFi above using other hotel chains.
Free Wi-Fi in all UK hotels please!
I genuinely hope this news is a catalyst for a change in how upmarket UK hotels view WiFi. For the vast majority of travellers, free, reliable WiFi is no longer a “nice to have” when visiting a hotel, it’s an expectation.