This is a guest post from Andy Madison.
There are few topics that get as much attention as hotel Wi-Fi. One look at reviews on sites like Trip Advisor and Expedia, and it’s clear that Wi-Fi is a hot discussion. Whether people are complaining about the sluggish connection or the fact that they have to pay for it, it remains the top complaint for thousands upon thousands of travelers. Rightfully so, when you’ve shelled out upwards of $300 a night for a room, it can be frustrating to think that a hotel wants you to pay extra to access the internet. Even more so if you pay for Wi-Fi to find that you can’t stream Netflix or download email attachments.
The cost of designing, implementing, and maintaining connectivity is often what keeps a property from having the ability to offer free Wi-Fi that meets standards guests are accustomed. The expenses that go into building out new infrastructure or even maintaining an old one, can be exacerbated by the fact that they’re offering the solution for free. But there are secret work-arounds that travelers and hotel aficionados have discovered.
Check out the five Wi-Fi money savers only the savviest traveler’s use:
Pick Your Service
A number of hotels are tapping into the tiered service offerings for the guests. Often, there are two tiers. The first being a free limited Wi-Fi connection that provides guest with the opportunity to view web pages, send text messages, and do other simple tasks. When it comes down to them wanting more, like the ability to stream videos, download or upload, and other bandwidth hogging tasks, they’ll need to upgrade. Costs to upgrade can be anywhere from $15-$35 dollars, but that’s where the next few options come in handy.
Frequent traveler? Great. Make sure you sign up for those loyalty programs. Many chains offer their paid tier for free to members that reach a certain point level throughout the year. Obviously, each chain is different, but typically the number of stays or the amount of points you’ve racked up, matter most. Depending on how much the Wi-Fi costs, this can save a good deal of money for trips over a few days long. And saving money is a big deal when you’ve spent a chunk of change to get to your destination.
The popularity of sites like Booking.com, Expedia, and Trip Advisor have chains scrambling to put the booking power back in their hands. There are a number of chains that offer their paid tier for free to anyone that books directly through their website or via phone. Rather than having to pay a fee to an outside website, this allows the full cost of the room to go to the hotel, while also giving the guest access to Wi-Fi.
Many times properties will offer free (however, usually limited) Wi-Fi in their common spaces. Think about the lobby, a coffee shop, bar, or even restaurant, when you’re considering spaces to connect throughout your stay. Typically, these common spaces offer enough bandwidth to allow you to be on social media, check and send emails, and access web pages. It’s not a lot, but if you don’t feel like shelling out $20 a day to connect, it makes sense to head downstairs for a bit to get some work done.
Per Device Bandwidth Options
Only need to connect your phone and your laptop? Some hotels are offering free Wi-Fi based on the number of devices in the room. Anywhere from 2-4 devices are free, depending on the size of your room, allowing you to access the top tier for the first connected devices. If you need more than that, because you have more people in the room or just happen to be a tech junky, you pay for extra bandwidth to support those devices rather than general Wi-Fi for everything.
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that Wi-Fi should be free – it remains a constant debate between those in the hospitality industry and travelers that frequent hotels. But times are changing, chains are aware that they need to begin implementing better connectivity, and in order for that to happen, they’ll have to shell out money to alter the experience. If they expect their guests to pay for it, they need to make surer it’s worth the money.
Travelers have the opportunity at their fingertips to decide how they want utilize the Wi-Fi experience. Whether that’s doing research to find the best possible Rewards program that will allow them access to Wi-Fi for free, or simply spending the money for a better connection – there are plenty of ways for every traveler to access the connection they need.
Andy Madison is marketing specialist for Transbeam, a leading IT Solution provider to businesses within the hospitality industry. Transbeam is a national provider of managed Data, Voice, IT and event solutions to businesses. An award winning provider of Event Solutions, they offers event and venue connectivity solutions, including infrastructure and cabling design, maintenance, and much more.