High speed internet access was a novelty when it was introduced in high end hotels a few years ago. But over the years it has grown to become a standard amenity that the hotels provide and has become a basic expectation from the guests. Today people would not like to stay in a hotel that does not provide internet access. But the interesting aspect of this amenity is that the relatively cheaper hotels generally offer guests free WiFi in their rooms while the ultra luxury hotels often charge for providing the access on a per day basis.
Lately this trend is undergoing a perceptible change at the luxury hotels. New York luxury hotels had taken the lead and now practically all the larger chains are tagging it to their loyalty program and making it complimentary for the premium members. Hilton Worldwide Inc. offers this service free to the diamond members of its HHonors program. Similarly Starwood Hotels & Resorts has been providing internet free, since March last year to platinum members of their Starwood Preferred Guest program. Marriott International Inc. has also followed the trend as well and allows free high speed access to the gold and platinum members of the new Ritz Carlton rewards program. Now Marriott has extended this perk to all members of the rewards program at the company’s hotel suites in Asia.
The credit cards have also incorporated it as a perk for their premium card holders. From the hotel’s perspective providing free WiFi is more manageable at smaller properties where the number of rooms are relatively less. But for the larger properties setting the infrastructure is tedious as the bandwidth requirements are very high. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group claims that their services are worth paying for as they have the best infrastructure and provide onsite technical support. With guests carrying multiple devices the bandwidth requirements have jumped drastically and hotels have started putting individual user caps in place.